Hedgehogs are just little animals in a big world. There is a lot to be afraid of for these prey animals. Hedgehogs can be easily spooked by sounds, smells, and fast movements. During these times, you might feel powerless. Your little pet is stressed out and scared about something, but you don’t know how to help. When your pet Hedgehog gets scared, you can use these tips and learn how to calm them down.
If your Hedgehogs got spooked and are showing signs of fear, you can comfort your pet to help them calm down. By gently talking to your Hedgehog and petting them, you can let them know there is nothing to be afraid of. If that doesn’t work, you can also use treats and toys to distract your Hedgehog.
Even the most anxious Hedgehogs can be comforted when you give them time and patience.
Pay attention to your Hedgehog’s body language and use these steps to help them understand that they are safe and nothing will hurt them.
As your Hedgehog’s caretaker and protector, you can learn how to help your pet feel happy again, no matter how scared they’re feeling right now.
How To Know Your Hedgehog Is Stressed?
Being a Hedgehog owner, you need to learn to observe your little one.
Each Hedgehog has its unique personality, and observing them intently will help you learn about their behavior.
It is essential to read and observe your pet’s body language. Also, take note of how your pets react in front of you.
If you monitor your little one’s behavior closely, some of the common symptoms of stress to look out for are:
- Hiding All The Time: If your Hedgehog is stressed, it will likely spend most of the time hiding. If you notice that your pet has been hiding in a single place for a long time, it inevitably means they are stressed or frightened.
- Not Eating Or Drinking: If you notice an unusual change in the eating and drinking pattern of your Hedgehog, then it could mean that they are stressed out. There is a possibility that your Hedgehog is suffering from health complications.
- Fast-Paced Breathing: If you ever see your Hedgehog gasping for air, make sure you comfort them. Generally, Hedgehog does tend to breathe heavily when they are frightened or stressed out.
- Weird Noises Or Screaming: Fear can be one of the significant causes of stress in Hedgehogs. If your pet is stressed out, it will probably scream out loud.
- Health Complications: Stressed Hedgehogs are likely to suffer from health issues like diarrhea, constipation, etc. A higher anxiety level will make stool passing difficult and create a blockage in some instances.
- Other Signs: Other signs of anxiety and stress include irritation and more aggressive displays of behavior, such as chattering of teeth or running from one corner of the enclosure to another.
How To Calm Down A Hedgehog
We often see our Hedgehogs are easily frightened and will run away from any potential threat.
Hedgehogs can easily get stressed. We need to calm them down.
Your Hedgehog can start avoiding you, hide from you, and run away from you when they are stressed.
You must have a bond with your Hedgehog so that when they are stressed, they would prefer to stay close to you to eliminate their fear.
In such cases, allow your pet to come close to you. You should always remember that Hedgehog do not enjoy too much cuddling or handling.
Do not try to hold your Hedgehog forcefully. Instead of this, give them some time to make them figure out the things on their own.
Try to comfort them with common phrases like “It’s okay”, “I am here for you”, etc.
Over time, you will see your Hedgehog learn that these phrases are simple reassurance, and you are there for them.
Step 1: Bring Your Hedgehog To A Safe Environment
When your Hedgehog gets spooked by something, the very first thing you need to do is get them to a safe environment.
Many pets get spooked when they are exploring new places. They may be adventuring in a new room in the house or even spending some time outside in the garden. The best way to help your Hedgehog calm down is to bring them somewhere familiar and safe.
If your Hedgehog is already inside their familiar Hedgehog room or near their enclosure, you are already halfway there.
In their safe room, make sure to turn off any loud sounds and shut the door to keep any other pets away. Give your Hedgehog access to hiding houses so they can hide away if they want to.
During this time you will also want to stay with your Hedgehog. This is especially important if your pet has a close bond with you.
A Hedgehog that spends a lot of time with its caretakers also develops a deep sense of trust. By staying with them, you can be a calming presence that is reassuring to your pet. Even if your little one is very fidgety and won’t stay in one place, just sit near them so they can come up to you if they want to.
You also might want to have a blanket or towel with you if your pet does not calm down over time. If your Hedgehog is sitting still and continues to cower in place, you can wrap the towel around them to help keep them warm and give them a comforting nest.
Step 2: Get Down To The Ground Level
Hedgehogs are tiny creatures, and for them, we humans are just a pair of feet if we place them on the ground.
Therefore, it is best to get on the ground or crouch low on the ground whenever trying to comfort your Hedgehog.
This will help your Hedgehog feel at home. You will not be accepted as a tall and arrogant animal.
The goal is not to force your Hedgehog to come up to you and interact but to give them options.
By sitting quietly on the floor in a place your Hedgehog has access to, they will eventually get curious and come up to you all on their own.
Some Hedgehogs are very shy, they might not come up to you at all the first couple of times you hang out with them, and that’s okay. They’ll still be getting used to your presence little by little.
Step 3: Pet Your Hedgehog And Speak Gently
Petting a Hedgehog can often be the best way to comfort them and help them to calm down.
Watch your Hedgehog’s body language to see if they are still on the alert. If your pet likes it, you can also try giving them some strokes down their back to see if they calm down under your hand.
Sometimes Hedgehogs will be very fidgety to start, but they will begin to relax after a few strokes.
You can also try covering your pet’s eyes by cupping your hands over their face. This reduces the number of external stimuli your Hedgehog experiences and can help them to calm down more quickly.
Speaking gently can help your Hedgehog to understand that there is no danger and will help them to calm down.
You’ll also want to avoid any sudden movements and avoid picking your pet up since that can be scary for them.
If your Hedgehog appears frightened of you, leave them alone. You can still sit in the room and watch your pet, but try to turn your back to them and pretend to ignore them.
There may have been a sound you were making that scared your Hedgehog, and they need time to recover and remember that you are a friend.
Step 4: Distract Your Hedgehog
Sometimes your Hedgehog won’t calm down when you pet them.
In these cases, you’ll have to move on to the next step and try to distract your Hedgehog. The easiest way to do this is by enticing your pet with their favorite treats. This would not be the time to introduce new treats though, since Hedgehogs can sometimes be wary of a new type of food.
Instead, make sure you offer them something you know they’ll love. When a Hedgehog is fixated on getting the yummy piece of treat in your hand, they’ll often forget that they were afraid and alert just a few moments earlier.
In addition, giving your Hedgehog some of their favorite toys can also help to distract them.
Step 5: Figure What Is Scaring Your Hedgehog
Sometimes your Hedgehog is just too scared and will not calm down even after petting them and trying to distract them.
In these cases, the best plan of action is to try to figure out what it is that’s scaring your Hedgehog. Investigate the surroundings and try to look at the world from a Hedgehog’s perspective. Try to think about common things that could be very scary for a Hedgehog.
- Unfamiliar sounds: Even if it’s not loud, an unfamiliar sound can be scary for a Hedgehog. This can be anything from the sound of movement in the next room to a loud dog barking outside.
- New objects: If you just got a package in the mail and put the box on the floor, your Hedgehog might be scared of it. This is something new to your pet, and they’re not sure if it’s safe or not.
- Movement: Fast movements can also startle a Hedgehog. Something like a rotating space heater or a ceiling fan can spook a Hedgehog.
- Unfamiliar scents: While uncommon, some Hedgehogs can get scared of some cooking smells. They will also likely smell any new pet brought into the house, even if they are kept completely separate.
Once you’ve figured out what is scaring your little pet, you’ll be able to either get rid of whatever is causing the fear or get your Hedgehog away from the situation.
In some cases, you may not be able to do either, such as a dog barking outside, and you can only stay with your Hedgehog and comfort them until the scary moment passes.
Step 6: Keep An Eye On Your Hedgehog’s Behavior
Even after your Hedgehog has calmed down, you’ll want to watch your Hedgehog’s behavior to make sure they are okay.
For the next few hours, continue to check in on your Hedgehog and give them a few pets for comfort. You’ll want to check for signs that they are recovering and behaving normally and not getting scared again.
Some owners might have to face a hard time understanding their pet’s body language.
It will help if you start by spending some quality time with your Hedgehog. Then, observe your Hedgehog intently to understand their behavior.
Look how your Hedgehog reacts to new places and new objects.
Each Hedgehog has its unique personality, and observing them intently will help you learn about their behavior.
It would be best if you made sure that there are no other pets or people in the room so that you can easily enjoy some quality time with your Hedgehog.
Why Is It Important To Comfort Your Hedgehog?
To keep your Hedgehog healthy, it is essential to help your pet feel calm and safe.
Not only does this help to reduce stress and anxiety along with the related health concerns, but it also helps to keep a Hedgehog from going into shock.
Comforting your pet will also help them feel safe and happy at home, which we all want for our pets.
Long-term anxiety can potentially cause health problems in Hedgehogs. Stressed Hedgehogs are also more likely to get sick from the bacteria that cause snuffles, an upper-respiratory illness.
Shock is a severe condition in Hedgehogs that causes them to deteriorate rapidly. Comforting your Hedgehog whenever they show signs of extreme fear can help prevent them from going into shock.
When To Visit A Veterinarian?
As long your Hedgehog is eating and drinking, the situation is not very dangerous.
A scared Hedgehog will be able to recover with time and some comfort from you. However, if your pet stops eating or drinking, you will need emergency attention.
If your Hedgehog has not consumed any food for long, they need to be taken to your vet.
You can also entice your Hedgehog to eat by giving them their favorite treats. Sometimes, it might seem like a Hedgehog is not eating when you did not notice them munching.
However, if your pet does not eat their favorite treat, you can be sure something is wrong.
Furthermore, if your Hedgehog is unresponsive to your touch and does not react, it may be going into shock.
In such cases, wrap your Hedgehog in a towel to keep them warm, then call your vet.
You must call your vet before getting into the car to bring your Hedgehog. The stress of the car ride can cause your pet’s condition to worsen, so you’ll want advice from your vet before you go.