Getting a pet is an exciting experience for every pet owner. Normally, we will name our pets and expect them to respond when we call them. Therefore, whether hedgehogs recognize their name or not, we understand it is a matter of concern that requires attention.
So, do hedgehogs recognize their name? Hedgehogs do not recognize their names like dogs and cats do. However, if you give them names and call them often, they will respond and give you their attention because the name or your voice is familiar.
They will even respond to different names as long as your voice is familiar to them. On the contrary, if someone else calls out their name, your pet may not respond due to the unfamiliar voice. Your pet will also respond to your voice when you call out their name due to its association with food, warmth, or general grooming.
If you want to know whether hedgehogs recognize their names, this is the ultimate guide for you. We help you find out whether hedgehogs get lonely, sad, feel love, why they nudge each other, whether you can let hedgehogs run around, and why they curl up in a ball. Read through the rest of the sections to find out all the answers you need.
Can Hedgehogs Get Lonely?
Seeing your pet lying all day alone in their enclosure can be depressing, and you may think that it’s lonely and needs company. This is why some hedgehog owners would even bring in a partner for their pet or spend more time bonding with it.
Hedgehogs do not get lonely because they are solitary creatures. In the wild, they stay alone without needing the company of other hedgehogs unless during the breeding season. However, if you feel your pet is lonely and you want to get it a partner, you should not house two males as they can kill each other due to territorial dominance. On the other hand, two females can coexist peacefully, but it is unnecessary to have them together.
Despite their independence, hedgehogs in captivity will have a special human. However, this is not automatic and will take some time of training, and patience. Therefore, it is advisable to train your pet at an early age to get used to your handling and voice.
Training your hedgehog when they are still young and new in your home is more likely to create this bond that will isolate you from the rest as their favorite human. Once it gets comfortable around you, it will behave differently if someone else attempts to hold or care for it. It will even walk away from people who attempt to do this and come to their favorite human.
Do Hedgehogs Get Sad?
A happy hedgehog will make a happy owner. However, considering you can notice when your hedgie is happy, does this mean it can also be sad?
Hedgehogs can get sad and show signs such as refusal to eat, self-mutilation, repetitive behavior, and excessive sleeping. Your pet will chew its toes and rub its side against its enclosure. It may also scratch itself and inflict injuries on its body as a result.
If you notice such behavior change in your hedgehog, you can try spending more time with it and check for any improvements. Also, you can enrich its life by making its enclosure comfortable enough. Your pet should come around after some time. However, if this does not happen soon as you expect, you should give it more time and continue caring for it.
Since some hedgehogs can be very temperamental and throw excessive tantrums when sad, you should match your personality with that of your pet. If you feel you cannot keep it altogether, you can give it away and find one that matches your personality for peaceful coexistence.
Do Hedgehogs Feel Love?
Bonding with your pet includes activities such as talking, caring, and feeding it. However, due to their solitary nature, hedgehogs may not reciprocate their love like cats and dogs.
Hedgehogs are not affectionate creatures, but they can feel that their owner cares and values them. They will then trust you and feel your love. For this to happen, you will need to play your role well by holding your pet often, bonding with it during bath times, and providing security.
Despite being antisocial, once your hedgehog trusts you, it will show affection in different ways, such as minimal or no huffing when you hold it or sleeping on your laps. While you expect your hedgehog to feel your love, you should note that each has a different temperament, and the duration will vary depending on your pet’s temperament. Therefore, you should remain patient since rushing may trigger aggression.
Why Do Hedgehogs Nudge Each Other?
Housing more than one hedgehog together will trigger certain behavior from each pet. Therefore, understanding how these pets will relate when placed in two’s or threes will help prevent fights and unforeseen deaths.
Hedgehogs nudge each other due to aggression or mating. If aggression is the cause, the weaker hedgehog will try to resist by fighting back. Nudging could also be part of a courtship or mating ritual.
In such cases, a male and female hedgehog will be involved where the male follows the female in a not so aggressive manner. The male will then circle the female hedgehog for up to two hours.
If the female is willing and ready to mate, it will flatten itself down on the ground to allow the male to climb onto her without any wayward spines inflicting injuries to the male. Nudging due to mating is usually accompanied by huffing from the female as the male circles her. However, your pets may go quiet once they notice you approaching.
Can You Let Hedgehogs Run Around?
Hedgehogs love to run around, and, given an opportunity, they can go about for some minutes to hours. Thus, out of curiosity, you can let them out of their cage and see what happens if they run around your home.
It is okay to let your hedgehog run around, but this is not advisable if you do not put certain measures in place. These measures include the right light and temperature settings to avoid disrupting your pet’s sleep patterns and prevent dehydration, respectively. You should also provide enough food and place it at accessible points. To ensure your pet’s safety, you should check for hazards such as holes, stairs, and large spaces under the doors.
Even with a proper setup in place, you may not want to let your hedgehog run around as they can mess your house by leaving their excreta all over the room. They may also climb over accessible surfaces, which may be risky if they fall over.
Given that hedgehogs run miles to keep their shape in the wild, letting them roam around will not meet this distance in captivity. Thus, to keep them in shape, you should install a wheel in their enclosure. This way, your pet will exercise as much as it needs without the risk of injury or dehydration and save you the mess.
Why Do Hedgehogs Curl Up in a Ball?
Normally, if you pick your hedgehog, it may roll up into a ball. This way, you will not be able to see its other side of the body except for its erect spines.
Hedgehogs curl up in a ball when they are threatened or annoyed. In the wild, if a hedgehog does not have an escape route, it will curl into a ball to make its predator feel its sharp spines and leave them alone. In this shape, hedgehogs are less appealing, and the spines make them impenetrable for their predators, such as foxes and badgers. Hedgehogs in captivity will also exhibit this instinct, especially when new, as they try adjusting to their environment.
A threatened hedgehog will roll into a ball by contracting two of its muscles in opposite directions. This contraction pulls its spines in different directions, making them crisscross to form a barrier. It will use its back and belly muscles to tuck its head, tail, and legs, forming a ball. Therefore, rolling into a ball serves to protect the face, chest, stomach, and legs of a hedgehog covered in fur.
Hedgehogs are solitary animals and observing their behavior will enable you as the owner to know what your pet is up to. Due to this nature, they will not get lonely from staying alone in their cage or if you deny them human interaction. However, they can get depressed if you do not care for them properly.
Despite being solitary pets, hedgehogs can feel love from their owners and even have a favorite human. Constant care will make your pet trust you, and they will want to spend time with you. Part of your pet care will entail letting your pet out of the cage for exercise. You should do this with supervision to prevent accidents and losses. Alternatively, you can provide a wheel in your pet’s enclosure for exercise.
Other behaviors hedgehogs exhibit include nudging each other and rolling into a ball. Hedgehogs nudge each other due to aggression or as a mating ritual. On the other hand, if they are threatened in captivity with no escape path, they will roll into a ball to feel safe and prevent predator attack.