Even though hedgehogs are cute little animals that make great pets for both single people and families, I still remember the first time, my hedgehog pee’d on me. This is one of the aspects that come with owning a hedgehog, the responsibility of cleaning after it.
So, why does my hedgehog pee on you? Your hedgehog is peeing on you because you might be holding it too soon after it wakes up. Hedgehogs usually poop and pee a few minutes after they wake up. Hedgehogs, like all animals, do not have control and will pee and poop anywhere they feel like.
Whenever my hedgehog gets the urge to pee, it will do it even if when I am holding it. To avoid getting peed on, I normally wait for a few minutes before holding my hedgehog after it wakes up. Even then, I place a towel on my lap to prevent getting pee stains on my clothes.
I found holding and petting a hedgehog is one way of bonding and spending time with my pet. However, a hedgehog might disrupt that moment by peeing on your lap or hands, as I found out. Read on to understand why a hedgehog is peeing on you, what color is the pee of your hedgehog and their meaning, and how to litter train your hedgehog.
What Color Is My Hedgehog Pee?
Urine is one of the ways that most animals eliminate waste from their body. When taking care of your hedgehog, you need to observe a few things to ensure that it is always healthy: one of these being the color of its pee. The color of your hedgehog’s pee can tell you a lot about its health status. I always check the color of my hedgehog’s pee after he has finished just to make sure there’s nothing suspect with it.
A hedgehog’s pee has a different color depending on circumstances. The most common color is yellow, which means that your hedgehog is doing fine. Other pee colors might include brown, red or bloody, green, orange, and cloudy.
All these colors can tell you if your hedgehog has a health complication or not. When your hedgehog pee is a different color other than yellow, you need to know what it means regarding your hedgehog’s health.
If you notice that the color of your hedgehog’s pee is red or bloody, it is usually a sign that your pet has a urinary tract infection (UTI). UTIs affect parts of your hedgehog’s urinary tract, such as the bladder, urethra, and kidneys. Red or bloody urine is usually a symptom of UTI in an advanced stage; during the early stages, the only symptom you can see is your hedgehog showing signs of distress when peeing.
Your hedgehog will pee small amounts of urine but at regular intervals and slowly to reduce the pain. If you do not treat the UTI during its early stages, you will start to see blood when your hedgehog pees.
The main cause of UTIs among hedgehogs is bacteria. When foreign bacteria enter the urethra, they multiply and begin to move upwards towards the bladder. Hedgehogs usually have bacteria inside their urinary tract, but when foreign bacteria enter their urinary tract, it compromises their immune response, developing an infection.
Inadequate hydration can also cause urinary tract infections. Enough water in the urine can help flush out harmful bacteria. If your hedgehog is dehydrated, there is not enough water to push out the bacteria from the urinary tract.
Red or bloody pee can also be an indication of an injury or wound in your hedgehog’s reproductive organs. Injuries are quite common, especially among male hedgehogs. The penile sheath is located in the middle of its belly and can sometimes drag on the floor when your hedgehog moves around.
If you choose the wrong litter, such as sand or sawdust, small particles can get lodged inside the penile sheath causing injuries. Every time your hedgehog pees, you will notice blood droplets inside the pee.
Dark brown pee is a sign that your hedgehog is dehydrated. Water is very important for your pet, and most people use water bowls or water bottles to keep their hedgehogs hydrated. If your hedgehog is not getting enough water, the color of its pee will indicate how serious its dehydration status is.
The more your hedgehog stays dehydrated, the darker its pee becomes. Water helps dilute the natural chemicals removed by the kidneys. If there is not enough water to dilute the chemicals, your hedgehog will urinate brown pee.
Cloudy urine is a sign of a urinary tract infection but can also indicate that your hedgehog is suffering from a chronic disease such as a kidney infection. The presence of white blood cells in the urine can cause it to have a cloudy appearance. The hedgehog’s body will try to fight the disease-causing bacteria in the urinary tract by sending white blood cells. Cloudy pee can also be a sign of dehydration or your hedgehog’s diet.
In rare cases, your hedgehog might urinate green pee. Green pee is a sign of excess bilirubin being broken down and getting eliminated through your hedgehog’s pee. It could also mean your hedgehog has an underlying condition that you are yet to figure out. In hedgehogs, excess bilirubin could indicate your pet has a liver problem. As soon as you spot green pee inside your hedgehog’s enclosure, take it to a vet immediately.
Your hedgehog’s pee can also be orange, especially when it is under medication. When your hedgehog is sick, and you take it to a vet, sometimes the vet will prescribe medicine. When your hedgehog is on medication such as antibiotics, it could affect the color of its pee.
Most antibiotics are eliminated from the body through urine, and once your hedgehog is done taking its medication, its pee will return to normal within a few days. If the orange color continues weeks after stopping the medication, you should consult your vet.
Sometimes, your hedgehog’s pee will not have any color; it will be clear. Clear urine is an indication of excess water or recent fluid intake. If your hedgehog has been drinking too much water, its urine will be highly diluted and lack any colors caused by chemicals and other urine components.
You need to watch how much your hedgehog drinks. You can either remove the water bottle or dish from the enclosure or place the water bottle or dish on another side of the closure where your hedgehog can only access water at specific times.
Here is a table showing the correlation of a hedgehog’s urine color:
|Brown||Dehydration (Dark brown is a sign of severe dehydration)|
|Green||Excess bilirubin in the bloodstream|
|Red||Urinary tract infection or injury in the reproductive organs|
|Clear||Excess hydration, recent intake of water, or any other fluid|
|Cloudy||Urinary tract infection or dehydration|
Yellow is the only color that shows your hedgehog has normal or good health. If you notice that the color of your hedgehog’s pee is different, then you need to take your pet to the vet. You can take a urine sample to the vet but ensure that it does not mix with your hedgehog’s poop.
Urine samples are hard to collect because hedgehogs do not pee frequently. You can place your hedgehog inside a container and wait until it pees, use a syringe to collect the pee, ensuring it’s the most recent pee and less contaminated. The vet can test the pee, figure out what is wrong with your hedgehog and treat it.
Cleaning the enclosure is very important as it helps prevent or reduce your hedgehog from getting a urinary tract infection. If possible, you should have two cages to keep the hedgehog in one while cleaning the other one. Use antibacterial soap or vinegar to wipe the floor of the cage to remove germs and bacteria.
Remove the bedding and dry it in the sun to remove the urine and poop smell. Ensure the cage is dry before returning the bedding. You should clean your hedgehog’s cage at least once a week, but, if you have time, you can clean the cage every day.
You should use soft and absorbent material as bedding for your hedgehog. Male hedgehogs can get injured or have small particles from rough bedding lodged in their penile sheath. It is painful and uncomfortable for your hedgehog, and if the particles are not removed from the penile sheath, your pet could get a bacterial infection.
You can use paper shavings, fleece, pillowcases, or towels. Fabric bedding can also be washed and reused for a long time, reducing buying bedding materials regularly. You should avoid using corncobs, wood shaving, and cat litter as bedding for your hedgehog.
You should also use light-colored bedding, preferably white so that you can see the color of your hedgehog’s pee. It is easy to spot red or brown pee on white-colored bedding. Sometimes you may not be around when your hedgehog goes to the bathroom; hence you will not see the color of its pee. The white bedding ensures you do not miss anything while you are gone. Using dark-colored bedding can make you miss vital signs of health complications, putting your hedgehog in danger.
Ensure that your hedgehog drinks enough water by placing a water bottle or water dish inside the enclosure. If your hedgehog’s pee is dark brown, you should start the rehydration process immediately. You can place a water bowl or bottle filled with fresh water in the enclosure, and the hedgehog will drink the water.
If the hedgehog does not drink the water, you can use a syringe to make it drink water. Draw some water into the syringe, open your hedgehog’s mouth and empty all the water in the mouth, ensuring it swallows most of it. If your hedgehog’s condition does not improve, you should take it to a vet immediately.
How To Litter Train Your Hedgehog?
Cleaning your hedgehog’s cage can be tiresome, and you might miss a few cleanings due to other commitments. It is easy to litter train some pets such as cats, and you might be wondering if it is possible to train your hedgehog to use a litter box.
Hedgehogs are intelligent animals, and they can learn new behavior if you train them for some time. You can train your hedgehog to use the litter box by positioning it in a spot where the hedgehog likes to poop or pee.
Place your hedgehog in the litter box when you see them showing signs that they want to poop or pee. You can also place some poop inside the litter box, and your hedgehog might start using the litter box on its own.
You should exercise patience when training your hedgehog to use the litter box. Some hedgehogs learn quickly to use a litter box, while others take a long time before using a litter box. If your hedgehog is a slow learner, be patient and do not give up easily.
Ensure that you are consistent with the training; if you miss a few days, you might have to start the training all over again. If the training works, you will spend less time cleaning your hedgehog’s cage, and it will also be easy to check the color of your hedgehog’s pee.
Do not place the litter box in the same place where you feed your hedgehog. The hedgehog can carry some fecal matter in its feet and climb in its feeding bowl, contaminating the food. Most hedgehogs like to go to the bathroom on their wheel or close to it.
You can place a litter box near or under the wheel to encourage your hedgehog to start using it. You should also clean the litter box, and if you leave poop and pee in it for too long, your hedgehog might catch a bacterial infection. You should also place a sand bath or foot bath to ensure your hedgehog does not bring any fecal matter to its sleeping or feeding area.
The color of your hedgehog’s pee can tell you a lot about its health. When taking care of a pet hedgehog, you need to do many things to ensure it stays healthy and safe. The normal color should be yellow; if you start to see any other colors, you can check the table in this article to see the likely cause for the change in pee pigmentation. The common causes of dark-colored pee in hedgehogs include injuries, urinary tract infections, and chronic illnesses.
Taking your vet to a qualified exotic vet can be beneficial in saving your pet’s life. The vet will prescribe appropriate medicine, and your hedgehog will be healthy within a short time. Cleaning your hedgehog’s cage is very important in preventing recurrent urinary tract infections.
You can also train your hedgehog to use a litter box to reduce the burden of cleaning the cage every regularly. When you take your hedgehog to its next vet appointment, do not shy away from asking questions about the color of its pee.