Handling & Grooming

Handling
To pick up your hedgehog gently scoop him up from the belly. You should feel fur and avoid the quills. Once you have picked him up, you can have him in one hand while you other hand protects and supports from his back.

Remain calm and allow give him time to relax. If he rolls up into a ball, be patient. He should calm down if agitated and begin to sniff and even try to explore you.

You should not wear gloves when handling your pet. The quills do look dangerous but they are not very sharp and rarely cause injury. You want your hedgehog to get used to your smell and become comfortable around you.

Hedgehogs rarely seek attention, but this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t handle your pet. Some hedgehogs don’t mind handling, some are indifferent, and some dislike it. It really depends on your prickly companion’s personality.

Grooming
Hedgehogs are clean animals and work hard at staying clean. As long as you maintain a clean cage for your pet, very little grooming should be required of you.

Sometimes bedding, dirt, or other matter may become lodged in his quills, or your pet may just be dirty and need a bath. You will need towels, a toothbrush, and a sink. Shampoo isn’t always necessary, but you can use a couple drops of cat shampoo in the water if desired.

Fill your sink with about an inch of warm water. Do not fill the sink too deep and make sure the water is not too hot. Place your pet in the sink and wet his back with the warm water. Try to avoid getting his eyes, ears, and face wet.

Take the toothbrush and gently scrub his quills from front to back. Then reach under him with your hands and gently wash the fur on his belly. If you used shampoo, drain the sink, refill it with clean water, and rinse your pet. Be sure to remove him from the sink when refilling it.

Once the bath is complete remove your hedgehog and place him in a towel. Gently dry him and try to remove as much water as possible. A second towel may be necessary if the original towel becomes too damp. You want your pet to be completely dry before returning him to his cage.

Nails
Toenails are one part of a hedgehog that often need your help. Since his habitat doesn’t aid in wearing down his nails, they may become long, sharp, and need to be trimmed.

The easiest way to trim a hedgehog’s nails is with a pair of human nail clippers. Gently grab one foot at a time, wait for him to relax, and then trim the nails. Your hedgehog may be stubborn, but be patient.

When you cut his nails, do not clip them too deep. If you cut into the quick, the pink area of the nail that is filled with blood, you will cause bleeding. If you accidentally cause a bleed, use a styptic pencil, flour, or corn starch to stop it. A nail cut too deep will bleed profusely, so take care when trimming your hedgehog’s nails.

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