Hedgehogs are usually active pets. However, sometimes when we do not fulfill the needs of our Hedgehogs, they might fall into depression. Sometimes, your Hedgehog might be depressed without you even knowing it. By paying attention to your Hedgehog’s behavior, you’ll be able to learn if your little pet is sad.
Depression in Hedgehogs is an actual condition. The symptoms will vary depending on the individual Hedgehog and the severity of the problem. The main signs include sudden behavior changes, loss of appetite, unusual aggression, and lethargy. They may sleep more than usual or hide for hours on end.
Depression might even lead to illness in your Hedgehogs. In such cases, I would advise you to take your pet to the vet. Firstly, you must look for signs of physical problems, but if you can’t find anything and the symptoms continue, your Hedgehog may be depressed.
Sometimes, it becomes difficult to understand if your Hedgehog is depressed or not. In this article, we will discuss the signs of depression in your Hedgehogs, better understand what may be causing their depression, and offer suggestions on what you can do to help your little pets.
Can Hedgehogs Have Depression?
Hedgehogs do have emotions. They are known to experience both positive and negative emotions. Although it might sound weird to you, Hedgehogs do get depressed sometimes.
It is essential to fulfill the basic needs of our pet Hedgehog. When the basic needs such as food, water, and exercise are not appropriately covered, they are likely to get depressed.
You will notice that domesticated Hedgehogs live a longer life in comparison to wild Hedgehogs. Longer life span is because of the excellent living environment and the care given to the domesticated Hedgehogs.
Hedgehogs can even show sadness and depression if they experience trauma, stress, or something wrong in their living space. Like any other pet, Hedgehogs need more than a basic cage setup, food, and water.
Besides food and water, Hedgehogs even need regular mental and physical stimulation for their well-being. To remain happy, they need physical exercise, mental stimulation, as well as social interaction. Lack of exercise can prove to be terrible for them.
It is essential to make sure that our Hedgehogs live a happy and stress-free life. In addition, you must be aware that the vet won’t be able to help you much if your little pet is sad or depressed. There is no particular medicine to cure the same in Hedgehogs.
Therefore, owners must realize the symptoms and provide their Hedgehogs with all the necessary changes to live a happy and cheerful life.
How Do I Know If My Hedgehog Is Depressed?
Although Hedgehogs do not communicate with us vocally, they show specific signals and behavior to convey their message. Sometimes, these signs are pretty subtle and hard to detect.
However, with proper attention, you will start to understand them at an early stage. Listed below are some of the signs that will help you understand your Hedgehog might be depressed.
- Lethargy: Hedgehogs are generally active animals. If your Hedgehog is depressed, they will start to show signs of laziness. They will not play or exercise like they used to do before.
- They prefer to stay alone: If your Hedgehog is sad or depressed, they will prefer to stay alone. You will see them laying around a corner without showing interest in anything.
- Unwillingness To Eat: Hedgehogs will probably eat anything and everything you provide them. However, if your Hedgehog is sad or depressed, they will be relutant to eat. Sometimes, they will even ignore their favorite treats.
- Signs Of Aggression: A depressed Hedgehog will show you signs of extreme aggression. Sometimes, they will be seen biting the cage or even their owners if we try to reach out to them.
Why Is My Hedgehog Depressed?
Your Hedgehog will never be depressed without any reason. However, if your Hedgehog seems sad or depressed, there is undoubtedly something wrong with them. In such cases, the best option is to find out the cause and cure the same.
It is essential to find out the reason behind the depression of your Hedgehog. Only then will you be able to help your pet. In Hedgehogs, depression is usually due to one of the following reasons:
- If your Hedgehog has undergone surgery in recent times, then they are likely to get depressed. Any king of surgery or medical treatment is a hard phase for Hedgehogs.
- In some cases, stress can even depress your Hedgehog. Your Hedgehog might be stressed due to a number of reasons. Therefore, it is important to find out the reason behind the same.
- Lack or proper stimulation can make your Hedgehog sad and depressed. They are active animals and need regular stimulation. Most Hedgehog owners don’t even realize how much mental stimulation and care their need to live a happy life.
- Severe pain or injury can lead to depression in Hedgehogs. You will see your Hedgehog stops to eat or move if they are in pain.
- If your Hedgehog seems to be depressed without any reason, then the depression might be due to sudden change in the environment or diet. Therefore, if you have made some changes in your Hedgehog’s living environment or diet in recent times that have made them unhappy, then start with reverting those changes.
Further, if you have any suspicions about your Hedghog’s health, then the best option is to take them to a vet as soon as possible.
How Do You Cheer Up A Hedgehog?
Once you have figured out what is bothering your Hedgehog, you can easily make changes that can help improve their daily lifestyle and cheer your Hedgehog up.
Even if your Hedgehog is not showing any signs of depression, it is always advised to provide them with a healthy lifestyle and environment that will allow your Hedgehog to lead to a happy life. Listed below are some of the ways by which you can cheer up your depressed Hedgehog:
- Provide your Hedgehog with a larger enclosure. I would also encourage you to get a play pen for your Hedgehog’s enclosure.
- You must interact with your Hedgeogs regularly. There are a number of ways by which you can play and bond with your Hedgehogs. Such behavior will also improve your relationship with your Hedgehog.
- It is encouraged to provide your Hedgehog ways to use their natural behavior. Provide them with stimulation to mentally engage them in their surroundings. You must also be aware about what kinds of toys are safe to give your Hedgehog.
- Provide your Hedgehog with a nutritious diet. Some yummy treats are a must. A healthy diet is one of the most important parts of keeping your Hedgehog healthy and happy. Healthy diet can do wonders for improving their mood.
- Follow a proper schedule with your Hedgehog. By making your little one’s life predictable, you can help them feel safe in your home.
- Keep a check on your Hedgehog’s health. When in doubt, it’s always a good idea to bring your Hedgehog to the vet to make sure there are no underlying health conditions.
Do Hedgehogs Get Lonely?
Hedgehogs are solitary pets. They do not get lonely. Although they can live in a pair or small groups without choice, there will be fights now and then. Therefore, it is essential to keep the Hedgehogs into separate cages, especially male Hedgehogs.
Furthermore, if your Hedgehog’s cage mate dies one day, introducing a new Hedgehog is not a good idea. That always ends up with a fight, sometimes lethal. Hedgehogs are very territorial and have evolved to protect what is theirs from other Hedgehogs at any cost.
Can Hedgehogs Die From Depression?
Although a Hedgehog can pass away from depression, it is extremely rare. Hedgehogs cannot sit in one place for a long time. They are super active animals. However, sometimes, due to unacceptable living conditions and lack of stimulation, they get bored.
Depression even leads to losing appetite and other serious health complications that can take your Hedgehog’s’ life. Therefore, it is essential to provide your Hedgehog with a happy and active life by providing them with the enrichment and interaction they deserve.