Can Hedgehogs Hurt Themselves?

2 hedgehogs sharing a cage as owner wonder Can Hedgehogs Hurt Themselves?

It is not uncommon to find detached quills in the hedgehog’s cage, especially in favorite spots like their running wheels and hideouts. The fallen quills are often substantial in number and it makes sense for owners to wonder whether they could be a source of pain by poking the hedgehogs themselves.

This article answers the question “Can Hedgehogs Hurt Themselves?” by revealing various safety mechanisms hedgehogs put in place to minimize the risk of getting poked by their own quills or their cage mates’ quills. Let’s get started.

Can Hedgehogs Hurt Themselves?

Hedgehogs may accidentally hurt their soft underbellies when physically exposed to fallen quills. However, it is a rare occurrence because hedgehogs have natural defense mechanisms that protect them from getting poked by their sharp quills.

If detached quills are continuously spotted in the hedgehog’s sleeping area, there’s a minimal risk of getting accidentally poked. In most cases, hedgehogs go about their daily activities without much thought to getting pricked by their own quills because it is not a normal occurrence.

Do Hoglet’s Quills Hurt Their Mother During Pregnancy?

tiny newborn hoglet in the breeder's hands but Do Hoglet's Quills Hurt Their Mother During Pregnancy?

Hoglets are born with a protective membrane covering their soft quills to eliminate the risk of poking the mother’s uterus. Once the hoglet is born, the mother chews off the membrane to enable easy breathing and feeding.

One of the biggest concerns that pop up in the minds of many folks is how pregnant females avoid getting pricked by their babies’ quills but nature has a perfect protection mechanism against that. Besides, hoglets quills are pretty soft at birth and can be touched without the risk of getting poked.


Do Hedgehogs Hurt Themselves When Having Sex?

Hedgehogs adopt the “doggy style” during mating to prevent physical contact with each other’s quills and the resultant risk of getting pricked. The female usually chooses a specific position to minimize quill contact culminating in easier penetration thanks to the male’s forward-rooted penis.

The male hedgehog’s penile length also makes penetration possible from slightly further away at an angle where the female’s lower back and the male’s belly are well behind her. This position ensures each other’s quills are out of the way as the male fumbles with penetration until successful.

Do Hedgehogs Hurt Themselves With Their Quills When Playing?

Hedgehogs hurting themselves during playing is possible but minimal at best because side-by-side comparisons of two hedgehogs prove their quill lengths are practically the same resulting in standoffs during playful contact.

Besides, hedgehog spines look flatter and softer when in relaxed atmospheres such as during play dates. The risk of poking incidents could be non-existent. The good news is that hedgehogs are naturally solitary and are best housed independently.

Solo hedgehog cage keeping means no physical contact with other hedgehogs and zero risk of suffering pokes from each other’s quills.

Do Hedgehogs Hurt Themselves When Balled Up?

curled up hedgehog in a human's palms as he wonders Do Hedgehogs Hurt Themselves When Balled Up?

Hedgehogs roll up successfully without their own quills poking their faces thanks to the bald patch at their forehead area known as the reverse mohawk. This space ensures that the hedgehog’s eyes, face, and nose are protected from the sharp poking spines during rolling-up episodes.

Without this bald patch, the hedgehog’s natural defense mechanism would have been seriously flawed because each roll-up would result in the hedgehog’s forehead getting pricked by the sharp quills. The result would be hedgehogs being hesitant to curl up even when pursued by predators.

Why Do Hedgehogs Fight?

The lack of sharp teeth and claws means hedgehogs are not naturally equipped to fight but they still do on occasion when the need arises. Here are the main reasons why hedgehogs may engage in physical altercations.


Hedgehogs fight over territory when they are forced to share small spaces with others. Their natural solitary nature makes the presence of others uncomfortable, especially among adult males. Fights against each other are designed to establish dominance in the territory as means of gaining preferential access to food, water, and other essentials.

Mating Partners

hedgehogs mating in the wild

Male hedgehogs may also fight against other males over the right to mate with a female. This is especially common in situations where there are more males than females. Whichever male comes out on top earns the mating rights with the female.

Do Hedgehogs Hurt Themselves With Their Quills When Fighting?

Hedgehogs could hurt each other during physical fights, especially between 2 adult males in the same cage because they both press their quills hard against the opponent’s body. The likelihood of both walking away with serious injuries can be high because each male hedgehog goes all out to defeat the opponent by any means possible which often results in severe physical injury.

They are solitary animals that hate to share space with others and putting two males together could translate to endless fights especially when they’re both adults. Housing 2 females together or an adult male and young male could be more successful.

Pushing and shoving are also common in male hedgehogs that may be vying for a female’s attention or competing for food in a shared bowl. However, shoving matches do not pose injury risks unlike extreme fights with each other.

Do Hedgehogs Fight To The Death?

Two male hedgehogs in the same space could fight to the death when the stakes are high. This often includes attempts at establishing territorial dominance, especially when found in small cages with minimal floor space to maneuver themselves.

The fights continue until one or both are severely injured or die from sustained wounds in critical body areas.

Conclusion: Can Hedgehogs Hurt Themselves?

Hedgehogs’ physical interactions with each other are often pain-free since there are a bunch of natural mechanisms to protect themselves. For instance, hoglets are born with a protective membrane that prevents their quills from poking the mother’s uterus during the 30-40 gestation period.

Most pushing and shoving matches are also injury-free because hedgehogs’ bodies feature quills of the same length that cancel each other out. Fights may be harmful since both hedgehogs intentionally press their spines deeper into the opponent’s bodies but these altercations can be rare because hedgehogs are largely solitary.

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