The body language of a Hedgehog conveys a lot about their mood and state of mind. However, sometimes it becomes difficult to understand your pet’s actions. The same thing happened to me when I found my Hedgehog running in circles for the first time. So, the question for the day is, why is my Hedgehog running in circles? I did some research and consulted a few veterinarians. Here is what I found about it.
In general, circling in Hedgehogs indicates the action of courtship and dominance. Some Hedgehogs even show such behavior when they are hungry, bored, stressed, or want to grab your attention. Certain health issues such as ear infections and brain disorders can even lead to your Hedgehog spinning in circles.
You must also know that running and spinning in circles are quite different in Hedgehogs. While running in circles indicates a social behavior or compulsive action, spinning in circles could be a sign of an underlying health problem.
If you are worried about your Hedgehogs’ circling behavior or you suspect that they have a health problem, then keep reading this article till the end, and I’ll make sure all your doubts are cleared by the end.
Are Hedgehogs Fast Runners?
Some Hedgehogs are fast runners, while others are pretty slow. The speed mostly depends on the individual size, weight, and genetics of the Hedgehog.
Hedgehogs are considered pretty slow runners when compared to other small pets. The average speed of most Hedgehogs is 4 mph, whereas other small pets such as chinchillas and mice can run with a speed of 15 mph and 8 mph, respectively.
In general, Hedgehogs don’t run this fast unless they really need to. They usually prefer to move slowly with a waddling posture as they love to forage and explore their environment.
Why Do Hedgehogs Go Round In Circles?
Running around like crazy is not always a bad sign in Hedgehogs. Most of the time, it either represents a social behavior or a compulsive action triggered by boredom.
On the other hand, if your Hedgehog keeps on spinning in one particular spot could be a sign of some medical condition.
Health problems such as ear infections, brain disorders, or heat strokes can lead to such conditions in Hedgehogs. Some research even says that Hedgehogs spinning in circles can even be a symptom of an imbalance of chemicals in their brain.
If you Hedgehog shows any of these symptoms or if you feel that your pet is sick, I advise you to take them to a vet. They will be able to provide your Hedgehog with the necessary treatment.
Hedgehogs run in a circle for several reasons. Asking for attention is one of them. If you are not capable of fulfilling your pet’s need, then they might circle to grab your attention.
If your Hedgehog is circling around, then they are chances that they want you to inquire. Hedgehogs do not run in circles without a reason.
Hedgehogs even make loud squeaky noises while running in circles when they see their owners around them. They might be trying to remind you that it is their playtime.
If you understand your pet’s behavior and give them what they are asking for, he will probably stop running around in circles.
Hedgehogs often run around in circle when they are out of food. Hedgehogs need adequate food to keep themselves healthy and happy.
Sometimes, Hedgehogs even like like crazy when they are thirsty. If your Hedgehog is dehydrated, he might try to grab your attention by doing some weird stuff.
It is important to monitor your pet’s water intake. This will help you analyze if your Hedgehog is consuming enough water.
Hedgehogs can get bored pretty easily. Therefore, we need to make sure that our pet is suitably stimulated. Lack of stimulation or a source of entertainment can easily bore your pet. If your pet is terribly bored, then he might end up running in circle.
There are two basic forms of stimulation, namely physical and mental stimulation. It is important for you to strike a balance between these activities.
You should try to provide your pet with toys that help them engage in their natural behavior. This will keep them happy and content.
Hedgehogs do not handle changes very well, due to which they get stressed pretty easily. If your hedgehog is stressed, then he might end up running like crazy.
Some of the common things that lead to stress in Hedgehogs are:
- Sudden loud noises
- Possible threat
- Inadequate space
- Frequent travelling
- Change in routine
- Unstable temperature
- Health complications
Stress could further lead to severe health conditions in our Hedgehogs. Therefore, you must try your best to provide your Hedgehog with the life they deserve.
Hedgehogs often run in circles as a show of dominance when they are around other Hedgehogs. This usually shows that Hedgehogs have not bonded well with each other.
Also, Hedgehogs are territorial. If they feel some possible threat nearby, they might start circling to mark their territory.
While some Hedgehogs are more dominant than others, we must understand that it is their natural process of bonding, and we must not intervene in the same.
However, if circling turns into fighting, I advise you to separate Hedgehogs as soon as possible.
Running around in circles can be a kind of mating dance in Hedgehogs. It is their way of asking their partners to mate. In such cases, the runs will be accompanied by soft squeaking noises.
In the courtship behavior, it is always the male Hedgehog circling the female ones. Usually, you will see your Hedgehogs circling each other after they establish a bond. It was quite surprising and startling for me when I notice it for the first time.
If your pets are turning aggressive, I would advise you to separate them. There are chances that they might engage in a fight and end up hurting themselves.
Certain neurological brain disorders can even lead to Hedgehogs spinning in circles. Most of these neurological issues are genetically passed to our Hedgehogs.
Besides genetically passed neurological disorders, if your Hedgehog has recently injured himself or had a fight with one of your other pets, they may display such behavior. Head traumas are another reason for the same.
If you have any suspicions about your pet’s health, it would be best to take your Hedgehog to a vet.
Certain ear infections can make your Hedgehog spin in a circle. Sometimes, Hedgehogs end up spinning throughout the day without even taking breaks for food and water.
The ear infection is mostly caused by the pressure that has been build up inside their ear canal. This might even result in extreme pain in Hedgehogs. Some even lose their balance and end up tripping or falling over.
If the case is the same with your pet, I advise you to take your Hedgehog to the vet as soon as possible. Sometimes, delays in treatment even turn serious and lead to permanent damage to our pet’s ear.
Should I Let My Hedgehog Run Around?
Hedgehogs should be left in an open space for at least one hour or two each day. Hedgehogs need plenty of exercises to keep themselves fit and stress-free.
It is totally ok to let your Hedgehog run around. However, you need to make sure that you ‘Hedgehog Proof’ your house before doing so. Hedgehog proofing your house will make sure that your pet is safe and secure while running free.
Hedgehogs are pretty good at escaping. They will not let go of any chance to run away. Besides this, what if your pet ends up chewing electric cables of your house, leading to fire break-out? Therefore, pet-proofing your house is of utmost importance.
Also, you need to make sure that you keep your other pets away when to leave your Hedgehog in the open to play. Larger pets such as cats or dogs can easily scare your Hedgehog.
How Can I Calm My Hedgehog Down?
If your Hedgehog is stressed or anxious, it is important to calm them down. Do not let your pet alone. You might end up facing negative effects in the long run.
There are chances that your pet might be suffering from some health conditions. Whenever you feel that your Hedgehog is under stress, you must reach out to them and sit beside their cage.
You can use common phrases such as ‘It’s okay;’ ‘You will be alright.’ You will see that your pet gets used to these phrases as simple reassurance. They will learn that you are there for them.
Once your pet is relaxed, they will move towards you. You can then pet them gently and keep giving them reassurance for some time.
You could even use some tricks such as singing a song, getting them a piece of treat, and more to entice your Hedgehog. This will help them calm down and get back to their comfort zone.
Also, toys play an important role in keeping our Hedgehogs stimulated, both mentally and physically. Therefore, it is important to provide them with plenty of play toys.