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Bonding With Your Hedgehog | Biting

Bonding With Your Hedgehog


  • Bonding with your hedgehog helps to create an attachment between you and your pet. 
  • The more the attachment develops between you and your hedgehog the more you will grow to love and enjoy your pet.
  • Bonding does require effort, persistence, and an understanding of hedgehogs for the strongest attachment bonds.
  • Hedgehogs have poor eyesight so using its other senses will increase bonding effectiveness.

Through Scent

  • Hedgehogs have a great sense of smell so it is important to get the hedgehog used to your scent. 
  • One way to get a hedgehog used to your sent is to sleep in a t-shirt for several nights or wear one all day (without washing it) then drape the t-shirt over the hedgehog’s cage.
  • We suggest sleeping with a piece of fleece about 2-12” square then putting the fleece in the hedgehog’s sleeping area or sleeping with the hedgie’s sleeping bag.
  • New lotions, perfumes, or scents may confuse your hedgie because they disguise your “original” scent.

Through Sound

  • Hedgehogs are very sensitive to sound in that most ball up or prickle when they hear new or loud noises.
  • Talk to your hedgehog and let it get to know your voice. 
  • Talking to your hedgehog while holding, snuggling, bathing, and other enjoyable activities will help your hedgehog associate the sound of your voice with comfort and enjoyment.
  • Over the years we have found the radio and music very soothing for a variety of different animals.  Hedgehogs are no exception. 
  • The periods of talking and music on the radio provides a constant stream of noise for the animals and makes new sounds less obtrusive. 
  • The sudden noise of talking, doors opening and closing and general noise of being in the room may be irritating to the hedgehog if a hedgehog is accustomed to silence.

Through Snuggle/Sleep Time

  • One of the best and easiest ways to bond with your hedgehog is to simply hold your hedgehog on your lap for an hour or so while watching television or a movie.
  • Don’t attempt to pet a shy hedgehog simply relax and come out on its own.
  • Most of the time your hedgehog will uncurl and attempt to explore in just a few minutes. 
  • Other hedgehogs may take a little longer to begin to relax but please be patient and allow it to explore on its own terms.
  • Lori Keller, bonding expert, suggests holding your hedgie against you in your hands and on your chest so your hedgehog can feel your body heat and hear your heart beat.  Hold him while watching t.v. or long enough so that he sleeps on you, as having your hedgie sleep on you is an excellent way to get them to bond.
  • You may be able to pet an otherwise “unpettable” hedgie when your hedgehog falls asleep and relaxes
  • Another tip Lori is to put on a t-shirt with a nice big over shirt on and tuck the hedgehog in-between the layers. 
  • Some people like to use large bonding pouches (similar to those used for sugar gliders) or hedgie packs to carry the hedgehog around during daily activities.

Through Play

  • You can also sit your hedgehog down on the floor in a hedgie safe room or area.  Don’t attempt to touch your hedgie but instead allow it to get to know you on its own terms. 
  • Place your hand several inches away from your hedgehog and allow it to come up to your hands and smell you.
  • Your hedgehog is relaxed when its quills are laid down and it is moving about without flinching every time you move.  Certain sounds may still scare a relaxed hedgehog.
  • Allow your hedgehog to use you as a human mountain.  Let it climb on you and explore you.
  • One of our customers reported that their hedgehog did not like the color red.  Whenever anyone wore a red shirt this particular hedgehog was grouchier and didn’t seem to enjoy being handled as much as on other days.
  • While color preference is somewhat unusual for animals it is important to notice subtle things in the hedgehog’s environment that could affect their behavior.

Through Treats

  • You can try to offer hedgies treats from your hand.  Your hedgehog may respond well it might completely ignore you. 
  • Don’t let your hedgie lick your fingers or hand because it might decide that since a little bit of you tastes good a lot of you might taste better!!
  • You may need to help your hedgie differentiate between treats and hands but the bonding time is worth the effort.
  • More information about bonding with treats can be found in our Hedgehog Treats guide.