Hedgehogs are adorable pets, but do they show affection like other animals? Dogs are known for being loveable and friendly pets. Even cats, despite their reputation on the internet, are often very cuddly and affectionate animals.
Since Hedgehogs are a less popular pet, most people don’t know what to expect when they bring their first hedgie home. Are Hedgehogs also the kind of animal that will be affectionate with their caretakers?
Hedgehogs can be very affectionate pets if they are given the chance. They are very social and enjoy spending time with their human companions. Once you’ve gained a Hedgehog’s trust, they’ll start to show you how much they love you in their own ways.
Hedgehogs are often very shy and can take a while to warm up to new people and trust them. It might seem like they are aloof or skittish animals by nature.
However, if you give them time and teach them to trust you, you’ll start to notice your Hedgehog choosing to stay with you and become more affectionate.
A Hedgehog’s body language can be difficult to understand at first, since it is so different from cat or dog body language. But they really do have ways of telling you that they love and trust you.
Are Hedgehogs Affectionate Animals?
Hedghogs can be very affectionate once they start to fee; safe around you.
In the wild, they are prime targets and so are naturally primed to be scared of everything. This survival trait has become ingrained in their DNA, and even captivity-bred Hedgehogs react in the same way.
Luckily it doesn’t take long for them to feel safe in their new home and start showing their affection.
Before Hedgehogs can feel completely at ease, they need to be shown affection and tenderness; that is why it might feel like a one-sided affair most of the time. If you own a Hedgehog, here are a few signs that your little pet loves you.
How Do Hedgehogs Show Affection?
Hedgehogs have several ways to show their love; granted, they are not as elaborate as how dogs or cats do it, but it’s easy to tell once you know the signs.
These little creatures exhibit a wide range of behaviors, and if you learn to properly interpret them, you can tell how your little Hedgehog feels. Here are a few examples.
1. Your Hedeghog Does Not Run Away From You
Hedgehogs are instinctively cautious and always on alert.
Before they get used to their current surroundings, they might run away from you and hide in their cages which might lead you to think they hate you.
However, this isn’t the case, it’s just their survival mechanism kicking in. Even though they don’t live in the wild, they still have those survival instincts ingrained in their DNA.
Therefore, don’t take offense if your little piggy scurries off to safety whenever they sense a possible threat (read you approaching them). Over time, however, this reaction might lessen, and you will notice they don’t run away as much, or they quickly come out of hiding once they realize it’s you.
2. Your Hedgehogs Let You Catch Them
Hedgehogs are timid animals; if they let you catch them, it’s because they trust you and consider you to be a safe, protective figure.
However, it’s crucial that you don’t try to pick them up if they haven’t shown any interest in you because they might feel threatened, try to run away, or even bite you.
3. Your Hedgehog Does Not Bite You
When your pet is comfortable around you, they aren’t nervous or fidgety, meaning they are less likely to bite you.
Normally Hedgehogs are docile creatures; however, your guinea pig might bite you if they feel they are in danger or nervous.
However, once your Hedgehog gets comfortable around you, this biting will turn into playful licking. For these little creatures, this is a sign of affection.
4. Your Hedgehog Likes Being Held
Once you build a bond with your Hedgehog, he will love a good cuddle.
After all, who doesn’t like a good cuddle? Similar to dogs or cats, they love having the freedom to run around and plop down on their owners and relax.
When your Hedgehog loves you, you become their favorite safe place, so don’t be surprised if they climb onto you when you sit, choosing to cuddle or explore.
5. Your Hedgehog Can Eat From Your Hand
Hedgehog are naturally jumpy creatures. Whenever they feel threatened by anything, such as sudden movement, they freeze.
This makes hand-feeding them quite a show of trust. While it might take time before you get them to eat from your hand, this simple action shows that your Hedgehog completely trusts you.
Start off leaving small treats for them to lure them in and get them used to eating near you, and eventually, they will make it to your hand.
6. Your Hedgehog Recognizes You
Another easy sign that your Hedgehogs love you is they get excited whenever you arrive. Hedgehogs are very intelligent creatures. This means they can learn who you are, especially if you are consistently good to them.
You might notice that every time you come home or walk into the room, grey runs towards you pretty much like dogs or cats do.
When There Is Too Much Affection
Although Hedgehogs are solitary creatures, they need a love and attention.
However, too much affection shown too fast can be stressful for them, especially if they don’t know you or they haven’t gotten used to you yet.
Think of it as a sensory overload. While they have nothing to fear, they are being bombarded by a lot of attention, and they are not used to it.
Not to worry, just as they have ways to show their affection, they have ways to show when they need a break from it all.
If your pet tries to run away from you whenever you try to hold them, it might be a sign of aggression, and it’s crucial that you give your little pet some space.
It doesn’t mean your pet will stop loving you, it’s just that they want some space to process everything.
How To Get Your Hedgehog To Love You?
Getting your Hedgehog to trust and love you takes some time and work. Here are a few things you can try to help foster trust and eventually love.
Talk To Your Pet
Sometimes your Hedgehog might not want to come near you, but the talking can help fill the gap between you and your Hedgehog.
Do you remember that Hedgehogs are susceptible to hearing, and loud sounds can easily frighten your little pets?
So, always make sure that you talk gently and softly with your Hedgehog.
Because Hedgehogs can also pick your tone and become emotional, so you need to be calm whenever you speak with your little pet.
Introduce Your Scent
If you want your Hedgehog to get used to you and your scent, so pick something you have been wearing all day but haven’t washed and hang it on their cage or near it.
This will allow the Hedgehog to learn your scent even when you are away. Be careful of the smells you introduce.
If you have other pets such as snakes, dogs, or cats, their scents can frighten your Hedgehog and remind them of their skittish instincts. To introduce something that is free from such scents.
Minimize Any Loud Noises
Hedgehogs are always on alert and scared easily, so make sure you keep their cages away from any devices that make loud noises such as TVs, fridges, street traffic, washing machines, etc.
These noises can make it harder for your Hedgehog to relax and start considering their new home as a safe place instead of a dangerous jungle where they need to be alert 24/7.
Minimizing the amount of loud, startling noises your Hedghog is exposed to regularly will help them relax and feel safe.
This is the first step to them associating you with safety. If you have kids, explain to them the need to stay calm and relaxed around Hedgehogs and gradually introduce more and more noises after they have gotten used to you.
Provide Them With Their Basic Needs
It is important to provide our little ones with all the basic needs. All Hedgehogs need adequate food, water, and attention to live a happy and a healthy life.
You need to make sure that they have sufficient water, a healthy diet, and a safe place where they can rest.
By making sure of all these, your Hedgehogs will feel more comfortable and fulfilled by their environment.
Also, they will give more attention and love to you.
Create A Routine To Reduce Surprises
Hedgehogs hate surprises. Therefore, establishing a routine can help to ease this anxiety and make them feel at home.
Whether you are introducing your scent, talking to them, or teaching them to eat from your hand, establish a routine.
You want to stay consistent as you do these thighs, so you don’t spook them and lose the progress you made. For instance, you can talk to them softly as you hold out your hand and feed them.
Sometimes, your Hedgehog can be reluctant to interact with you. In such cases, give them time to get used to you.
However, this does not mean that you will not show any affection towards them; on the contrary, you will have to keep meeting their needs until they warm up to you.
With time and patience, you will notice that your pet lets you interact with them.
It is quite normal for Hedgehogs to be scared in the beginning. However, over time, they will surely warm up to you and enjoy the play time with you.
In some cases, it might take a little bit longer for your pet to warm up to you and might require a bit more work to tame them.