It can be a matter of concern for several hedgehog owners when they find their little ones shaking. But what does shaking indicate? Are they ill? Are they scared? Is something bothering them? Like all of you, I was alarmed when my hedgehog did it for the first time. So, I decided to do some research on the same and consulted a few experts, and here is what I have learned.
The common causes of shaking are fear, stress, cold, or wobbly hedgehog syndrome. Heat is a less obvious cause of trembling, as hedgehogs do not tolerate high temperatures well. Annoyance and pain are a few other reasons. Some respiratory infections can also lead to shaking and shivering in hedgehogs.
Never take the shaking or shivering casually. It may be a sign of sickness. It may prove to be fatal in the future.
Try to calm your little one down by petting them, playing their favorite music, or offering them their favorite treat.
If you are concerned, you could talk to a vet or local pet shop. If you think your hedgehog is sick, it would be best to take it to a vet.
Listed below are the few primary reasons why your hedgehog might be shaking. By the end of the article, you will be able to find a genuine solution to this problem.
Why Is My Hedgehog Shaking?
There can be several reasons why your hedgehog might be shaking/shivering.
Hedgehogs usually shiver when something is wrong. Make sure to check them out if you find them shaking or shivering.
Hedgehogs often shiver/shake when annoyed, irritated, in pain, or stressed.
Now, let us discuss each of these points in detail.
Stress, Anxiety, Fear
Besides joy or excitement, other intense emotions that can cause shivers are fear and anxiety.
While shivering, in this case, isn’t harmful in and of itself, stress isn’t any better for your hedgehog than it is for you.
In such cases, you must do your best to reassure your pet and, if possible, remove the source of the stress.
If you notice something consistently turning your hedgehog into a shaking state, try redirecting its attention.
Sometimes hedgehogs tend to shiver when they are happy or excited.
No one is sure of the reason behind the excitement, but one theory is that it’s an outward manifestation of intense emotion.
In such types of shivers or shakes, there is no danger. It will most likely stop once your hedgehog calms down.
If you rush to comfort your hedgehog every time they’re shaking, you may learn that shivering is an excellent way to get your attention.
Some hedgehogs even turn on the shakes while begging for food to earn sympathy.
While this behavior isn’t exactly harmful, reinforcing it isn’t a good idea. If there’s no other reason your hedgehog might be shivering, it’s generally best to ignore it.
Pain Or Illness
Shivering could signify that your hedgehog is in pain or suffering from an illness.
It can be due to some abnormalities in the nervous system. To avoid this problem, make sure you are touching your little one in the most gentle manner possible.
Hedgehogs also shake their body if they have a heat stroke or heart failure. Many Hedgehogs also shiver if they have diabetes.
Look for other signs of sickness or injury. Contact your veterinarian immediately if the shivering is accompanied by abnormal behavior or seems out of character for your hedgehog.
It’s not uncommon for weakening leg muscles to develop tremors as your hedgehog age, but shivering could also be a sign of arthritis or joint pain.
If you notice your aging hedgehog starting to shake, it’s best to get them checked out by the vet.
If the temperature around your Hedgehog falls below 60°F (15°C), your pet can enter into a state of hibernation.
If your hedgehog begins to go into a state of hibernation, you might notice shakes and trembles.
If your Hedgehog hibernates, there is always a life threat. Hibernation can also make your pet dehydrated.
If you suspect your Hedgehog is hibernating or is on the verge of hibernation, then you should check for some of the signs listed below:
- Your pet has not moved for the past 14 hours or more.
- Shallow breaths with a fall in heart rate
- Ignorance of food and water
- They start burrowing deeper for extra warmth
If you are not an experienced pet owner, it is advised not to try to rouse them by yourself. Take them to a vet for proper care and guidance. While traveling, try to keep your Hedgehogs warm.
Wobbly Hedgehog Syndrome
Wobbly Hedgehog Syndrome (WHS) is a progressive, degenerative, neurological disease among hedgehogs.
If your hedgehog suffers from WHS, you will often see them shivering or shaking.
The main areas that wobbly hedgehog syndrome affects are the brain and the neurological functions, hence the shaking.
The sad part is that WHS is terminal, and there is nothing that you can do to prevent or stop this condition once it starts.
Instead, you and your veterinarian will focus on palliative care for the hedgehog, using a variety of methods to try and make your hedgehog as comfortable as possible until its quality of life has decreased enough for euthanasia to be an option.
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How To Prevent Shaking In Hedgehogs?
There are several reasons why your Hedgehog might be shaking. Therefore, you need to maintain your pet’s health.
Listed below are the following tips that may help you prevent some of the common causes of shaking in hedgehogs:
- Diet: It is crucial to provide your hedgehog with a proper diet. The staple portion of the hedgehog’s diet consists of kibble and insects. Never overfeed your pet with fruits or veggies.
- Hygiene: Not keeping your hedgehog’s cage clean can lead to severe diseases and stress in hedgehogs.
- Temperature: You must keep your Hedgehog’s cage away from direct sunlight. Hedgehogs cannot tolerate extremely high temperatures.
- Avoid stress-causing elements: Stressors, such as changes in temperature or your family cat, can bother your Hedgehog. Removing such stressors, or reducing your hedgehog’s exposure to them, can help.
- Proper handling: Hedgehogs do not enjoy over-handling and can quickly get stressed when handled inappropriately. Allow your hedgehog to come to you, and don’t pick it up if it doesn’t like it.
Your Hedgehog can shake for many reasons. While some causes of trembling in hedgehogs are severe and require immediate medical attention, others do not.
Shaking vs. Seizures
You must understand that normal shivering and shaking are much different from seizures.
During a seizure, the muscles seize up, and your hedgehog will lose mobility and awareness of its surroundings.
If you suspect your hedgehog is having a seizure and they’re not already being treated for a seizure disorder, get them to the emergency vet ASAP.
Why Is My Baby Hedgehog Shaking?
Young and baby hedgehogs often tremble or shake soon after their birth.
We do not suggest holding a newborn baby hedgehog for at least one week as they are very delicate and have weak bones.
Holding a newborn baby is much more likely to risk its life as a tiny mistake in holding can even take away the life of your hedgehog.
They do not have strong bones compared to their mother; they can also take you as a predator and become stressed, leading to cardiac arrest.
It will be much better if you hold them for one week. Till then, you can try to become familiar with the newborn hedgehogs.
Why Is My Hedgehog Shaking And Hissing?
Shaking and hissing is typical behavior in Hedgehogs. Hedgehogs often do shake when they are happy or excited about something.
You should not be bothered if your hedgehogs are shaking out of joy.
All hedgehogs can hiss. However, only some of them choose to display their behavior.
The hissing behavior of a hedgehog largely depends on how stressed they are or how threatened they feel.
It is essential to provide your hedgehog with an environment that always makes them comfortable. If you do so, there is a good chance that you will never see or hear them hiss.
Why Is My Hedgehog Shaking While Walking?
Hedgehog’s leg shaking can be a reaction to overheating, or it can also be a sign of impending paralysis.
A pale body, out of breath, lethargy, drooling, and confusion in the movement are signs of overheating.
If your hedgehog is not overheated, then the reason for a shaky leg could be a warning sign of impending paralysis. The weakening of the hedgehog’s back leg could be a gradual process.
Do Hedgehogs Shiver During Hibernation?
Hedgehogs often tend to go into a state of hibernation at a temperature below 5°C/ 41°F.
Hibernating Hedgehogs generally look still and lifeless and do not show any movements, but their body is warm.
When you try to bring your Hedgehog out of hibernation by warming them up, you will often notice they shake its body.
After a couple of hours, they would stop shaking as soon as they were out of hibernation. This is entirely normal.
Taking your Hedgehog to the vet would be the best option if you are not confident.
Do Hedgehogs Shake When Cold?
The ideal temperature for Hedgehogs ranges from 75°F-85°F (24°C- 30°C).
If you live in a place with extreme winters, you might need to look into some heat source or another method to keep them warm in their enclosure.
Extreme cold temperatures might lead to shakes and shivers in your Hedgehogs.
If the temperature drops below 60°F(15°F), your Hedgehog might suffer from various health complications and even freeze to death in extreme cases.
So, maintaining an ideal temperature range in their enclosure is a must.
Do Hedgehogs Shake When Scared?
Hedgehogs often shake when you pet them if they are new to your household.
Avoid introducing your new pet to your friends until he is comfortable with you. This leads to stress in hedgehogs, and they shake their body.
Keep your Hedgehogs in a peaceful place. Loud noises like that of speakers or car honks often scare and frighten them.
Make sure to comfort your little ones when you find them frightened, annoyed, or stressed. This might help to stop the shaking.