There are many reasons your Hedgehog may be itchy. Many veterinarians believe it’s best to find the cause of the itch sooner rather than later.
While it’s normal for hedgehogs to scratch a certain amount, excessive scratching can signify that something’s not right. Fleas, allergies, dry skin, insect stings, boredom, and anxiety can all cause your hedgehogs to scratch. Contact your vet if you’re concerned.
Medications will be prescribed to kill off the intruders if the itching is due to a parasite. Other medications such as antibiotics, steroids, and anti-inflammatories may also be needed to help soothe a hedgehog’s symptoms or treat an infection.
There are a few key signs to look out for to tell if your Hedgehog has irritated skin. The odd scratch is standard, but excessive scratching (every few minutes) is a sign something’s not quite right.
Reasons Why Your Hedgehog Might Be Scratching Itself
There are several reasons why your hedgehog might be scratching itself. Let us discuss these reasons in detail:
If your Hedgehog is scratching itself, then there is a high chance that mites are the likely culprit.
Mites are tiny pests that are hardly visible to the naked eye. These mites are dark-colored (red or black) and oval-shaped, with suckers that latch onto the Hedgehog’s skin to feed and cause irritation.
You will not see them often because they have a knack for hiding in the quills. However, the damage these mites cause will be visible.
How Do I Know If My Hedgehog Has Mites?
Some common symptoms of mites in Hedgehogs include:
- Super dry and flaky skin: Mites often cause skin irritation, due to which your pet’s skin might get dry and brittle. This is from the biting, scratching, and dryness mites are causing.
- Unusual Loss Of Quills: If your Hedgehog is losing a usually large number of quills, then there is a high chance that mites are the likely culprit.
- Cranky Hedgehog: Mites can cause significant discomfort to your Hedgehog. Due to this, you might find that they’re in a grumpier mood than usual. They might try to nip or bite you if you touch a tender spot or seem a little less energetic and ready to play.
- Reduced Appetite: You will notice a sudden fall in the weight of your Hedgehog if he is infected with mites. They will have a loss of appetite and will barely eat.
How To Prevent Mites In Hedgehogs?
Mites in Hedgehogs are easily treatable, especially if you get to know about them in the early stages.
You can use the medications to kill all the live mites, with subsequent doses to kill new mites as they hatch from the eggs. You should eliminate the mites in less than a month and have a healthy hedgehog.
The first thing I would advise you to do is take your Hedgehog to a vet.
If your Hedgehog has mites, your veterinarian will probably prescribe an anti-parasite treatment.
Be sure to follow your veterinarian’s instructions based on their prescribed medication.
Mites can fall off your Hedgehog’s skin and live in the surrounding environment for up to 21 days.
For this reason, you will also need to thoroughly clean your pet’s enclosure and any exercise areas they have access to prevent reinfection from the environment.
Your Hedgehog may be suffering from a bout of itchy and dry skin which can make it feel very uncomfortable. Check out the below to rule out scratching due to dry skin.
If your hedgehog has scratch marks and red marks, which continuously appear after the itching, there is likely a problem.
You may see indicators of dry skin, mainly when your pet develops bald spots. These bald patches are present as a result of the hedgehog scratching itself and then losing its quills.
Every Hedgehog has to go through the normal process of quilling. However, your Hedgehog will start to lose its quill in this process.
There might be times when your Hedgehog will begin to lose many quills in a short period.
During the quilling period, all hedgehogs tend to scratch themselves a lot.
Quilling is a painful process, and your Hedgehog might turn grumpy. However, it would be best if you did not stop handling your Hedgehog entirely during this time.
A lack of touch often leads to losing the bond between you and your Hedgehog.
Hedgehogs have a specific nutritional requirement, and it is essential to stick to it.
Providing our Hedgehog with gut-loaded insects, fresh fruits, and vegetables is crucial.
If you cannot fulfill the dietary requirement of your Hedgehog, then there is a high chance that it will become malnourished. They will also have deficiencies in specific vitamins and minerals.
If your Hedgehog is malnourished, you will see the effect on its skin. Flaky skin often causes excessive itching or scratching.
You must provide your Hedgehog with a diet between 30% and 50% protein and approximately 10% fat.
Your Hedgehog’s excessive could appear as a symptom of stress or anxiety.
If you do not provide your hedgehog with an enriched environment that helps in their physical and mental stimulation, they will likely become bored or permanently.
If this is the case, you will need to look for ventilation for this pent-up anxiety. As a result, you should see changes in this scratching behavior and incorporate better habits into their routine.
Parasites And Diseases
If your Hedgehog is scratching insanely, then you need to be careful.
Excessive scratching is an unusual behavior in hedgehogs. Over-scratching indicates that your hedgehog feels an intense itch and is trying to alleviate it through scratching.
This behavior in hedgehogs is likely the symptom of disease or allergies, often caused by fungi or mites.
In addition, if your hedgehog shares their home with other domestic animals, such as dogs, cats or birds may come into contact more easily with parasites. These include fleas, ticks, and mites.
To prevent this, we must perform periodic deworming in our pets and adopt sustainable hygiene habits within the home.
Your best bet is to take them to a vet, preferably one specializing in hedgehogs, and let them carry out the appropriate diagnostic tests.
The vet will be able to provide the best course of treatment then. Avoiding using home remedies as these have the potential to make the problem worse.
How To Prevent My Hedgehogs From Scratching So Much?
If your Hedgehog is scratching himself as a part of its daily hygiene routine, then I would advise you not to interfere in your pet’s behavior.
However, it would be best if you made sure that the scratching behavior of your Hedgehog does not become excessive.
If you do not keep an eye on your Hedgehog, they might end up hurting themselves and seriously compromising their health and well-being.
Besides this, offering your hedgehog complete and balanced nutrition is crucial.
A balanced diet will help your hedgehog have the best chance of maintaining a healthy metabolism and strengthening its immune system. A nutritious diet will also prevent many diseases in your Hedgehog.
Furthermore, it is crucial to keep your hedgehog stress free. Provide your hedgehog with proper stimulation that will awaken your Hedgehog’s curiosity and stimulates its cognitive ability.
Also, reserve enough time in your day to play with your hedgehog and show some affection.
Hygiene is yet another essential consideration with pet Hedgehogs. This doesn’t mean just their cage, but anywhere in the home.
Also, if you have other animals in the home, you must follow their vaccination schedules, deworm them periodically and take them to the vet once or twice a year for a check-up. In this way, you can prevent your Hedgehogs from contracting infestations, and your vet will be able to check for signs of disease.
If you feel your Hedgehog is not in its best health, I would advise you to consult a vet as soon as possible.