To hold your Hedgehog and play with them can be tempting for new owners, but you might need to wait for some time so that your little one can settle in.
The next question that comes to mind is, what can we do to let our Hedgehog settle in? As a new Hedgehog owner, even I had the same excitement. I did some research on it, and here is what I learned.
Hedgehogs will typically take 6 days to 6 weeks to adjust to a new living environment. During this time, help your Hedgehog feel safe by keeping them in a quiet location and sticking to a consistent daily routine. You can also encourage confidence by rewarding your Hedgehog for being brave and exploring new areas.
The tips here will be useful for helping your Hedgehog adjust to their new home after move-in day. They are also made for new Hedgehog caretakers who want to make sure their little one will be happy in their new home.
1. Set Up A Home Base
Before you even bring a Hedgehog into their new home, you want to make sure you have a home base enclosure set up for them.
Whether your Hedgehog is free-roaming or living in its enclosure, this is a vital step to ensuring your pet feels safe and comfortable.
The home base should have everything your little one needs. Make sure to include the litter box, a hiding house, food, water bowls, and some toys to play with.
A home base should be a place where your Hedgehog feels safe. They’ll be able to learn to relax in their environment, and they’ll have a place to retreat to when they’re ready to start exploring the rest of the room and home.
If you are moving to a new home with a Hedgehog you’ve already been living with, try to set up their space the same way it was in your old home.
Place the litter box, food bowls, hiding house, and so on in the same place relative to each other that they were in before the move. This will make the transition easier for your Hedgehog because their home base is already familiar to them.
2. Give Your Hedgehog Familiar Objects
If possible, you want to move your Hedgehog into its new home and some familiar toys, bedding, or habitat furniture.
This is so impactful because Hedgehogs are very sensitive to how everything smells. They spread their scent on objects to familiarize themselves and claim their territory. It helps them feel safer and more in control when surrounded by their scent.
It’s easy to make sure a Hedgehog you’ve lived with has objects they’ll feel connected to. All you have to do is give your Hedgehog all their familiar toys and home base furniture when you move them to their new home.
When bringing a new Hedgehog home, this is a little more difficult. You will usually have to purchase your own Hedgehog supplies and can’t bring home the litter box or food bow with which the Hedgehog is familiar.
However, depending on where you are adopting your Hedgehog, you may be able to bring some familiar toys home with your Hedgehog.
If that’s not possible, bring a towel to place in the carrier with your Hedgehog. By the time you get the Hedgehog home, the towel should have some scent from the Hedgehog, so placing it with them in their home base can help them feel a little more comfortable.
3. Provide Your Hedgehog With A Healthy Diet
The first few days in a new place can be very stressful for a new Hedgehog. Unfortunately, stress can very easily lead to health problems, especially issues related to a Hedgehog’s digestive system.
Domestic Hedgehogs get habituated to their regular diet, and if you deprive your pet of food for a long time, then it may lead to several health complications in them.
Being deprived of food may also lead to intestinal blockages in our little ones. Therefore, the staple portion of your Hedgehog’s diet should be kibble, followed by insects/worms.
Although insects and worms are crucial for our Hedgehog’s health, kibble (protein-based) will keep them full for a more extended time.
4. Keep Your Hedgehog In A Quiet Room
Hedgehogs have a sensitive hearing capacity, so a loud noise can be stressful.
Hedgehogs being prey animals, are very cautious about their surroundings. They get alarmed even by the slightest noise. Therefore, make sure you walk slowly around their enclosure.
Usually, conversing with them for a few days makes them comfortable and solves the problem.
A quiet living space will allow your Hedgehog to get used to their new home more quickly. They’ll feel safe and instead of being on constant alert become of the strange or loud noises in the area.
5. Be A Calming Presence
Once your Hedgehog becomes familiar with their surroundings, you may start the bonding process with them.
It is best to get on the ground or crouch low whenever you play with your Hedgehog. Sing them a song, tell a story, or speak about your day.
You might think this advice is crazy, but trust me, it doesn’t matter whether they understand you or not.
Conversing with them will get them used to you and your voice, and thus, they will consider you as a part of the environment and not a threat to them.
Provide your Hedgehog with a lot of toys and floortime, this will help your pet to trust you even more.
6. Stick To A Daily Routine
To make your Hedgehog feel safe around you, I advise you to adopt a daily routine or a schedule.
If your Hedgehog starts to feel safe around their surroundings, they will be braver and more likely to spend time with you and other household members.
You must set a proper feeding routine, exercise routine, and daily interaction routine with your Hedgehog.
Keeping a consistent daily routine is the easiest way to help your Hedgehog settle into a routine.
Also, instead of randomly choosing times to interact with your Hedgehog, they will usually be happier with the interaction if they expect it.
Choose a few times a day to sit with your Hedgehog consistently, so they’ll learn to be ready for you. This way, you can bond with your Hedgehog much more easily.
7. Hedgehog-Proof Your Home
When you move your Hedgehog into a new home, you need to take the time to do some thorough Hedgehog proofing.
Hedgehogs always find new ways to make trouble in new places, so don’t assume they’ll be well behaved in your new home just because they were in your old home.
Ensure to find and cover any wires your Hedgehog might chew on and cover up the carpet, especially in the corners of rooms.
Keep any dangerous objects, such as poisonous houseplants or space heaters, out of reach or in a completely different room.
8. Slowly Give Your Hedgehog Freedom
During the first few days, start by housing your Hedgehog in a relatively small space.
Too much space right away can often cause Hedgehogs to become overwhelmed and anxious. Even though they have more space, they’ll be less likely to go out and explore.
If they are introduced to a little bit of space at a time, they’ll be more confident and explore the place little by little.
For the first day keep them in their enclosure. On the second give them access to half the room. And increase the space little by little until your Hedgehog has access to their whole exercise or roaming space.
I recommend this approach even if you intend to allow your Hedgehog free roam of the whole home.
Give your Hedgehog some small pieces of treats to encourage them to be brave and come out of hiding.
9. Give Your Hedgehog A Chance To Explore
It is extremely important to encourage exploration, curiosity, and confidence in your Hedgehog. To do so, give them an incentive to be brave.
You can start by hiding treats around the room for your Hedgehog to find.
Place them near your Hedgehog’s home base to encourage your little pet to explore their safe space.
As your Hedgehog gains confidence, try hiding treats in different places for your pet to find. This will help your pet gain confidence faster as they are more comfortable in their new space.
10. Consult A Vet In Case Of Any Problems
If you have understood your Hedgehog well and followed our guide till now, then everything should have gone well for your Hedgehogs.
However, if you feel something is wrong with your Hedgehog or are not eating or drinking even after a few days of being in the enclosure, or show any signs of sickness, you might need to take them to a vet.
How Long Should I Wait To Hold My New Hedgehog?
It’s also important to pay attention to your Hedgehog’s behavior when you first bring them home. It can be stressful for a Hedgehog since they are suddenly in a completely new place.
Generally, you should leave your Hedgehog alone during the first 24 hours after bringing them home.
Signs Your Hedgehog Has Settled In!
Once you have followed all the steps sincerely and waited for a few days, you might be wondering, are my Hedgehogs settled in? How will I know when they have?
So, here are a few signs that you can look out for to make sure your Hedgehog has settled in:
- Your Hedgehog has started to hide less often now. You regularly see them exploring the cage and roaming freely.
- Your Hedgehog has started to come out to eat and drink, even when you are around.
- Your Hedgehog has started using his wheel, toys, etc.
- Your Hedgehog has started to take food from your hand.
How Long Will It Take To Adjust To A New Home?
It may take anywhere between six days to six weeks for your Hedgehog to settle in new surroundings.
Don’t feel discouraged if your little one takes a little longer to settle in. Some Hedgehogs are well-socialized and get settled within a day or two, others may need a few weeks to settle in.
Hedgehogs brought from breeders or shelters take less time to settle in than those brought from local pet stores.
You can easily make settling in less stressful for your Hedgehogs by getting their enclosure setup beforehand and preparing it for your little ones.