Ever since I got my little hedgehog, I’ve been pretty curious about its red eyes and where they come from. It was a red-eyed white hedgehog.
Normally her eyes are almost pink in color, but then the light hits her eyes just right, they almost seem to glow red, but why do hedgehogs have red eyes?
Red-eyed hedgehogs occur as a result of albinism. With a couple of rare exceptions, the hedgehog’s bodies are entirely devoid of color. The appearance of the red-eye comes from a reflection of the inside of the hedgehog’s eye, not the color of their iris.
But don’t worry, red-eyed hedgehogs (or any animal, for that matter) do not have any increased tendency to be aggressive.
In fact, many have been specifically bred to be gentle and easy to handle hedgehogs. So let’s look a little deeper into albinism in hedgehogs.
In general, hedgehogs get their eye color from the iris.
The genes of the hedgehog produce a pigment that reflects a certain wavelength of light, which makes a visible eye color.
However, albinism overrides any other genes that would act as a signal for the hedgehog’s eyes and coat to produce a color.
Albino hedgehogs do not have any melanin particles to reflect. This means that the iris reflects light straight from the blood vessels. This is what gives a hedgehog its red-eyed appearance.
Also, the red-eyed and white hedgehogs have had surges of popularity over the years.
The albinism gene in hedgehogs can occur in the wild, though rare, it has been specifically bred into pet hedgehogs.
Does Albinism Place A Hedgehog’s Health In Danger?
An albino hedgehog is a healthy hedgehog. If your white pet has any health concerns, they are unlikely to be connected to albinism. Its immune system and internal organs will remain robust.
There is only one consideration to make around albino hedgehogs. Be wary of prolonged exposure to sunlight. It can be tough for an albino hedgehog to look at the sun. Its skin will also burn slightly faster than that of other hedgehogs.
The red eyes of these animals are particularly sensitive to bright light. No hedgehog enjoys bright light.
If you have an albino hedgehog, keep this in mind. Keep lights in your home dim wherever possible. While your pet is exercising and playing outside, ensure it can regularly seek shade. If you have no trees in your yard, strategically place a cardboard box to one side.
As long as your pet can seek refuge from the sun, it will be perfectly happy. It will just need the occasional break. If in doubt, bring her inside for a few minutes. It will soon be raring to go again.
Do Red-Eyed Hedgehogs Need Special Care?
For the most part, albino hedgehogs are the same as any other hedgehogs.
The basic care (diet, size of the cage, exercise time, and more) for any albino hedgehog should be exactly the same as other hedgehogs.
We might also notice that the bottom portion of their feet might be just slightly yellow from sitting in their litter box.
If you have placed newspaper at the bottom of their cage, you might find some grey stains on their feet from the ink of the newspaper. However, it is completely normal, and you should not be worried.
Studies suggest that albino hedgehogs do not have as good eyesight as their non-albino counterparts. However, it is not ‘horrible’ eyesight.
When I got my first albino hedgehog, I was concerned that there was something wrong with its eyesight, but after some research found that this is normal in albino hedgehogs.
Sensitive To Light
An albino hedgehog is more sensitive to light when compared to other hedgehogs.
This means that red-eyed hedgehogs are more likely to squint and find direct sunlight painful or difficult to deal with.
As a caretaker, you should take extra precautions to make sure your hedgehog always has a shelter that they can move to, so if they find the direct light uncomfortable, they’ll have somewhere else to move.
Are Albino Hedgehogs Blind?
The fact that albinism will lead to blindness in hedgehogs is completely untrue.
However, the fact is they have a slightly different vision than other breeds. We have discussed this earlier in the article as well.
Sometimes even when you place a bowl of food in front of your hedgehogs, they might take a while before going for it.
In this case, what they are doing is examining the object to understand what it is. This definitely doesn’t indicate that they are blind.
They have a slightly different vision. That’s all!
How Long Do Albino Hedgehogs Live?
The albinism in your hedgehogs will not impact their health or life expectancy.
On average, they will live around 2-5 years as any other hedgehog would live.
Do All White Hedgehogs Have Red Eyes?
All white hedgehogs do not necessarily have red eyes.
In general, red-eye in hedgehogs usually happens due to albinism. i.e., due to a lack of pigment called melanin in their eyes.
However, if you have pure albino hedgehog, then they will definitely have red eyes accompanied by snow-white spikes.
Are Red-Eyed Hedgehogs Aggressive?
You must have heard that a red-eyed hedgehog is often aggressive. However, this is totally untrue.
The temperament of an albino hedgehog is just as same as any other hedgehog.
In albino hedgehogs, the red eyes are due to the lack of pigment. It has nothing to do with your hedgehog’s aggressive behavior.
Whenever a new hedgehog owner gets a pet with red eyes and notices that their pets are fighting, they often believe it is something with the color of the eyes that makes them evil or aggressive.
However, the reality is hedgehogs have a stage of proving dominance when they are first introduced to a new environment.
It is completely normal for your hedgehogs to fight with each other to determine who is the leader and who is the subordinate. That has nothing to do with eye color.
Other Common Hedgehog Eye Colors
Hedgehogs do not have a large variety of eye colors.
In most cases, your hedgehog’s eyes may appear black and the iris will be barely perceptible. Standard hedgehog eye colors include:
- Black: the most common eye color that you will see.
- Pink: this is an incredibly rare occurrence where a brown-eyed hedgehog has a specific set of genes that cause the iris to appear a pale pink. It is different from the red eyes of an albino hedgehog.
- Red: this is when a hedgehog’s iris has no pigment at all, and it is caused by albinism in the hedgehogs.
Red Eye Infection In Hedgehogs
Red-eye infection in hedgehogs is entirely different from that of albino hedgehogs. Therefore, do not confuse red-eye conditions in hedgehogs and albinism in hedgehogs.
Red-eye infection can occur in hedgehogs of any eye color.
Just like humans sometimes have pink eyes, red eyes it the same for hedgehogs. In this condition, the blood vessels in your pet’s eye will swell to give the eye a red tinge.
Red-eye infection in hedgehogs usually accompanies swelling, weepy eyes, or bumps around your hedgehog’s eyes.
The red eyes in hedgehogs are due to several reasons. It can include:
- Bacterial infections
- Fungal infections
If you are suspicious of your hedgehog’s eye infection or its health, then the best idea would be to take it to a vet. The vet will help you find the cause and help your pet get better.