10 Signs That Show Your Hedgehog Is Dying

Dealing with the loss of your pet Hedgehog is one of the toughest experiences. Unfortunately, it is not often a quick process; sometimes, Hedgehogs are sick before going on to the other side, but how do you prepare for the worst? What are the signs that your Hedgehog is dying? Let’s find out!

Hedgehogs exhibit several common signs that signify the end is near, including respiratory disorders, frequent changes in body temperature, visible skin conditions, mobility issues, weird screams, and sleeping more than usual. If your Hedgehog is showing any of these signs, take them to the vet immediately.

Our pets become beloved members of our family. While it is never pleasant to think about their passing, the time will inevitably come that you must say goodbye.

Whether your Hedgehog has struggled with a terminal illness or is merely reaching old age, they may begin showing signs that their life is coming to an end.

Recognizing the signs that your Hedgehog is dying will allow you and your family to prepare. You will be able to make arrangements for their final days, whether you let your pet pass away naturally or choose humane euthanasia. Continue to read the article to understand more about these points in detail.

How Do I Know If My Hedgehog Is Dying?

A domesticated Hedgehog has an average life span of 3-5 if kept with proper care and attention. On the other hand, wild Hedgehogs mostly survive for 2 years.

If your Hedgehog is approaching in his last days, you will start noticing some signs beforehand. There are certain changes in your Hedgehog’s body that will tell you about their death is near.

The sooner you detect your Hedgehog’s health issues and illness signs, the better you will be able to manage the last few days of your pet’s life. So, without any further delay, let’s get right into what these signs are:

  • Loss Of Appetite
  • Extreme Fatigue/ Loss Of Energy
  • Change In Body Vitals
  • Difficulty In Breathing
  • Discharge From Eye, Mouth & Nose
  • Tumors And Cancer
  • Inability To Curl Up
  • Weird Noises
  • Loss Of Bladder And Bowel Control
  • Shivering/Shaking

Now, let us discuss these points in details.

Loss Of Appetite

If your Hedgehog is suffering from some serious health condition or is in his last stage of life, the first thing he would do is stop eating or drinking.

Hedgehogs must have an adequate amount of food and water to say fit and healthy. When a Hedgehog denies eating or drinking, there are high chances that something is wrong.

Studies even show that older Hedgehogs tend to show less interest in eating in comparison to younger Hedgehogs. Hedgehogs in their developing and growing stage can eat two times the food that older Hedgehogs intake.

Also, you must not worry if your older Hedgehogs do not eat as they used to when they were young. On the other hand, if your Hedgehog has suddenly stopped, this might be the hint of experiencing illness or facing death.

Sometimes mental and physical factors can be the cause of loss of appetite in Hedgehogs. If you have any suspicions about our Hedgehogs’ health, I advise you to take them to a vet.

Extreme Fatigue/ Loss Of Energy

Hedgehogs are usually pretty energetic. Although the energy level of each Hedgehog differs, you will always see them playing around. If you spend adequate time with your pet, you will realize how much they make you run and jump around them.

If you feel that your Hedgehog is not as active as before and shows no interest in playing, it may indicate that they are sick and dying.

Unusual lethargy is often a sign of stress or sickness in Hedgehogs. You can find out if the laziness is considerable or not by one trick. Take your pet to a noise-free, pleasing environment, and if they seem more lively there, then all this laziness occurred due to stress in them.

If you notice no such thing in your Hedgehog and if they are still inactive, then there are high chances that he is sick.

Change In Body Vitals

During the last few days, if your Hedgehog experiences certain unusual changes in their body vitals, then it might not be a good sign. Some usual signals of Hedgehog’s body vitals are:

  • The temperature of the body: Should be between 95.7-98.6°F (35.4°C-37.0°C)
  • Heart rate: Should be between 200-280 beats per minute.
  • Respiratory rate: Should be between 25-50 breaths per minute.
  • Capillary refill time: Somewhere around 20 seconds.

If you notice any of these body vitals changing regularly, it’s time to visit the vet.

Difficulty In Breathing

If you Hedgehog is sick or in his last days, then you will see that they try hard to gasp air. They even make noises while breathing.

If your Hedgehog is suffering from a cold, it might show hints of sickness, which can cause death. Some of the basic clues to recognizing breathing issue are:

  • Coughing
  • Sneezing
  • Wheezing
  • Discharge from eyes, nose, and mouth
  • Breathing shortness

Sometimes, Hedgehogs even breathe heavily due to cold or stress. Hedgehogs who appear to be dying soon will be upset and breathe noisily; even the breathing will be in short gaps.

Discharge From Eye, Mouth & Nose

Any weird or unusual discharge from the eye, mouth, and nose can be a matter of concern for Hedgehog owners. Abnormal breathing is sometimes even accompanied by nasal discharge.

Also, certain dental issues and complications can lead to eye or nasal discharge in Hedgehogs. If this discharge is whitish and thick, it may indicate a bacterial infection in Hedgehogs.

Lethargic Hedgehogs also display wet, discharging lesions or scabs around their eyes, ears, mouth, feet, and genitalia. Nonetheless, you should visit the vet no matter if the discharge comes from the nose or eyes.

Tumors And Cancer

Hedgehogs can be affected by cancer, just like any other animal. Cancerous cells can develop in any part of the body. However, female Hedgehogs are more prone to cancer than male ones.

Also, tumors in Hedgehogs are pretty common. Especially, in older Hedgehogs. The sooner the disease is detected, the more the chances of recovery.

Sometimes, the tumors are visible; other times, they are internal. Therefore, you need to keep a check on your pet’s health to make sure they are perfectly fine.

Also, if you notice any such thing, take your Hedgehog to a vet. He will be able to provide you with the necessary medication.

Inability To Curl Up

It is important to understand when your Hedgehog cannot curl up and when your Hedgehog is unwilling to curl up. These are two different things.

Healthy Hedgehogs can easily curl up. If your Hedgehog cannot curl up, then it means that he is either too weak or it just hurts.

You must understand and catch these symbols. While the first reason is likely a symptom of a soon-to-come death, the latter can indicate injuries or hurting tumors. If you notice any such thing, take him to a vet as soon as possible.

Weird Noises

Hedgehogs often make odd noises when something is wrong with them. For example, a sick Hedgehog often makes abnormal sounds.

If your Hedgehog is in trouble or pain, he will probably make loud squeaky noises or scream. However, when Hedgehogs die, mainly due to sickness, they might whimper or make a high-pitched sound unwillingly.

Other sounds to hear actively are breathing sound, which includes sneezing, puffing, snorting, and wheezing.

Loss Of Bladder And Bowel Control

It is important to keep observing how often do your Hedgehogs pee and poop. It would help if you also kept an eye on the texture of waste your pet is eliminating.

Sometimes, abnormal changes in the waste of Hedgehogs also become the reason for their death. Any weird changes in the texture, color, size, and smell of the waste discharge can be a matter of concern. Blood traces in urine are also a deadly sign.

When Hedgehogs start avoiding their regular food and water, their digestion process will slow down. It might even lead to gastrointestinal stasis, which, in turn, can be a sign of adverse health conditions and sickness.

Sometimes Hedgehogs even refuse to eat their meal because of the lack of nutrition in them. Hedgehogs require healthy functioning digestion for living.

If you find anything unusual in your Hedgehog’s bowel moments or discharged waste, I advise you to take them to the veterinarian for treatment.


Hedgehogs generally do not shake or shiver. However, if your pet appears to shake or shiver even in a warm and cozy environment, then it may indicate that they are in a state of shock.

Sometimes, Hedgehogs even shake from the fear of death. Stress leads to such terror in them. Although these dying signs can be unacceptable to you, you need to prepare yourself for the same.

You can try to comfort your Hedgehog in a few ways. For example, cover them in a blanket to make them feel comfortable. However, do not just fix the towel. Instead, give them enough room to roam in it if they wish.

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Do Hedgehogs Die Easily?

Although Hedgehogs don’t diet that easily, lack of nutritional diet and illness sometimes affects the lifespan of Hedgehogs. Also, you must know that Hedgehogs can hide their pain until it gets severe. Therefore, sometimes you will not even realize that your pet is suffering from a health condition. Therefore, it is important to keep a regular check on your pets.

Can Hedgehogs Die From Stress?

In certain situations, Hedgehogs do pass away due to stress. Hedgehogs usually stay active throughout the day. However, sometimes due to a poor living environment and mental stimulation, they get bored and depressed.

Stress can often lead to loss of appetite and other health complications in our Hedgehogs. Sometimes, it might even take away your pet’s life.

Therefore, it is important to make sure you provide your Hedgehog with a happy and stress-free life. You can do this by providing them with the enrichment and interaction they deserve.

Can A Hedgehog Die Of Fright?

In some cases, it was seen that Hedgehogs do die out of fright. Your pet may even have a heart attack if they are surprised or scared suddenly.

Although, it would take a lot of surprise and fear for Hedgehogs to pass away. They usually will run away or try to hide if they suspect a threat.

Even if the Hedgehog doesn’t die of fright, the circumstances can lead to prolonged or extreme stress. This can be harmful to your pets in the long run.

Can A Hedgehog Die From Hibernation?

If a Hedgehog has been hibernating for a longer time than usual, I recommend taking the Hedgehog. You need to take special care of the pet, especially if they have not prepared for hibernation. An unprepared Hedgehog may end up being dehydrated or may become malnourished.

Can A Hedgehog Die From Falling?

If your Hedgehog has fallen from a small height, then he will probably not suffer much. On the other hand, if he has fallen from a great height, he will undergo a shock. Sometimes, in these situations, even a vet fails to help your pet.

Also, there are high chances that they will have a fracture, and even their internal organs could be harmed. If your Hedgehog has a physical injury, then it is important to handle it with utmost care.

Also, I would advise you to avoid handling your pet unless it is an absolute emergency. Take him to the vet as soon as possible if you feel anything suspicious. Even if you see no physical injuries, it is advised to take your Hedgehog to a vet for an x-ray.

Can A Hedgehog Die From Mites?

Sometimes, untreated mite infestation can take the life of Hedgehogs. If your pet seems to have mites, you need to take him to a veterinarian for treatment as soon as possible. Itched, dried skin can be vulnerable to secondary bacterial infections that will make your Hedgehogs even more sick and miserable.

Can A Hedgehog Die From Fleas?

Although fleas can definitely harm our Hedgehogs’ health, there have been no such cases of Hedgehog death due to fleas.

Also, in most cases, Hedgehogs are not seen hosting the fleas; still, those little creatures can be fatal to our Hedgehogs.

Fleas mostly survive on the blood of warm-blooded creatures, including our Hedgehogs. Therefore, unlike other pets, Hedgehogs do not require routine treatment. However, it would be best if you still took some actions to cure fleas in your little ones.

If your Hedgehog ingests the egg or the larvae of the fleas, then the condition might worsen. These worms will then grow up into a tapeworm, which can be fatal to our Hedgehogs.

Can A Hedgehog Die From Salmonella?

Untreated salmonellosis can easily kill your Hedgehog. One of the most common sources of salmonella is food. The more salmonella your Hedgehog eats, the greater the risk of disease.

A compromised immune system, feeble gut health, or an old-aged Hedgehog can be a problem for salmonella-affected Hedgehogs. If your Hedgehog is sick, it’s important to monitor them, ensure they stay hydrated, and speak to your vet.

Do Hedgehogs Ball Up When They Die?

When Hedgehogs curl up in a ball, they are usually hibernating. You must understand that a curled-up Hedgehog is not necessarily dead. Also, if you have any suspicions about your Hedgehogs’ health, the best option is to take them to a vet.

What Does A Sick Hedgehog Look Like?

To understand your Hedgehog’s health status, you need to monitor him closely. If your Hedgehog is sick, he will spend most of the time hiding. He will neither be interested in eating or drinking. He will even have fast-paced breathing. If you feel your Hedgehog is not well or is suffering from a health condition, I advise you to take them to a vet as soon as possible.

What To Do With A Dead Hedgehog?

If your Hedgehog has passed away or you have found a dead Hedgehog, there are a few things you can do. The best option is to bury the Hedgehog or compost them, depending upon the laws of your state. Unfortunately, not all states allow you to do this.

The second option is to contact your local animal control or a vet. You can even contact the animal help group. They will help you with the process, according to your preference. However, you will be a disposal fee to pay. Therefore, you need to be prepared for the same.

Also Read: How To Dispose Of A Dead Hedgehog? (The Right Way)


Hello, I am Mohini, the founder of this blog. I am a qualified Animal Nutrition. I am here to help everyone understand their pets better.

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