How-To-Pick-Up-and-Hold-a-Hedgehog-Properly

How To Pick Up and Hold a Hedgehog Properly?

Being a creature with unique personalities, hedgehogs need special kind of care and handling. Hedgehogs are nocturnal animals, and they are very vulnerable to touch. If you own one, you need to acknowledge their subtle way of responding to your affection and learn to adapt to their protective behavior.

Their attitude towards you will largely depend on the way you handle them and take care of their needs. We, naturally, are very affectionate to our pets and we try to touch or cuddle them as much as possible.

However, in the case of hedgehogs, you first need to earn their trust and wait patiently to have them get their guard down. It is essential to learn how to handle a hedgehog if you want to own them. There are certain ways to pick and hold your pet hedgehogs.

Prerequisites Of Handling A Hedgehog

To handle a hedgehog, you need to take some steps beforehand:

Hygiene

Washing your hand before and after handling it is good practice. While this practice protects it from bacteria, it will protect you from the hedgehog biting you as it will if it gets to smell any food in your hand. Using antibacterial soap instead of ones with flavor is best for you.

Timing

Experts recommend handling your pet thirty minutes a day. As hedgehog is a nocturnal animal, their night time is equivalent to our day time.

Hedgehogs are differently receptive at different times of a day. However, most hedgehogs start to wake up at evening, so that time of the day is usually the best time to caress or cuddle with them. With the regular approach, you can make it habituated to your touch.

All you have to do is to give them time and keep your patience to make them more receptive towards your routine.

The Mood Of The Hedgehog

It is essential to take the mood of a hedgehog into account. You need to look for the signs of stress in them before starting to familiarize with them. There are some common signs of stress.

First two signs are that they usually try to get away frantically if they are stressed or they may twitch their heads. If these are overlooked, they might give you a warning bite. The most obvious sign of it being in stress is green poop.

Gloves Or Not

Using gloves is not the best idea even though many experts suggest this. The hedgehog won't get used to your smell because of gloves. You can use a towel if you are afraid to hold it for the first time. 

Picking Up Your Hedgehog

You will have to keep note that these are very fragile animal and picking them up improperly will cause more harm than good. Let’s hear about some of the things that you will have to keep in mind before to pick them.

Basic Techniques

There are a few techniques which can make it easier to pick up your hedgehog:

  • You need to use both of your hands to scoop up the hedgehog. You have to do it from underneath them. If it gets impossible, you can roll it on to your hands by lifting one side of the cage.
  • The sides of your hands or fingers can be used to pick them from underneath.
  • Cushion bedding can also be used to scoop up the hedgie. The bedding should be soft and fluffy.
  • Let its weight be distributed over your whole hand.
  • Don't surprise it or try to poke it if it balls up as soon as you hold it. This is natural. Even when it is totally comfortable with you, it might ball up a little immediately after being picked up.

Ways Of Picking Up

You can pick up your hedgehog in different ways in case it is your first time:

  • You can use a towel if the hedgehog has just awakened from sleep. Gently scoop him from both sides.
  • Alternatively, you can just lift it from the side very quickly and immediately flip him over so that it faces you. Be cautious with not letting them fall.
  • There is another way of picking it up, but this is not very comfortable for beginners. In this way, you can’t use a towel rather let the hedgehog smells your bare hands for a while. You can pick it up by cupping your palms on either side of the hedgehogs.

Tips

There are some tips which have been proved helpful to handle hedgehogs better:

  • It will be easier for you to handle your hedgehog if you can bond with it faster.
  • To bond, it is important that the hedgehog knows your smell. So you can leave one of your old pieces of clothes inside its cage overnight. It will know you instantly next time you try to pick it up.
  • It is important to keep them in a quiet place as they are sensitive to noise.
  • When you pick it up, try to be steady and confident, but not too fast. If you are too fast and jerky with picking it up, it might feel attacked.
  • If you are too slow and hesitant, it will sense your movement and will flinch.
  • Do not grab it from above.
  • Don't be worried about the pain if you get stung by its spine. It does not hurt much.
  • Be sure if your hedgehog is female and pregnant. Pregnant hedgehogs are very difficult and unresponsive to human touch.

Holding A Hedgehog

Immediately after picking a hedgehog up, you should let it do what it wants for a while. If it balls up, let it be. You need to be patient for it to calm down.

After a while, they will uncurl and try to sniff you and even might start to explore you. You will notice its quill being down once it gets comfortable. It is necessary to keep your hands flat for it to get comfortable quickly.

When it gets comfortable, you need to move around with it while keeping both of your palms under it. Some hedgehogs are jumpy; you might need to be alert about that. In such a case, you can hold it with one hand and keep another behind its head.

If you find your hedgehog getting a bit comfortable, you can start to cuddle a bit slowly. You can hold the animal keeping its back to your belly and can also press it against your chest with some protective gear.

After your hedgehog gets to know you, you can scratch it between its quills too. Be careful not to hold its quills though.

Final Word

Having a hedgehog as a pet requires a lot of patience. The first step of raising them is picking up and holding them. This is why you need the maximum amount of preparation and patience before doing this.

Once you earn the trust of your hedgehog, things get easier. Allowing your new hedgehog one week to adapt to the new surroundings and talking to them in a soft voice before you pick them up are two useful tips you can follow.

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