How To Deal With Grumpy Hedgehogs

hedgehog under shade in backyard garden as owner inquires How To Deal With Grumpy Hedgehogs

Hedgehogs can be moody depending on what is going on in their lives and that is one of the periods where they need more love and care. The temptation to leave them alone until they get back to their cheerful selves can be high but that is a tactic that may backfire.

This article outlines how to deal with grumpy hedgehogs by revealing the right techniques to get back in their good graces whether they’re new to your home or are familiar with the place. We also look at common scenarios that trigger irritable behavior and how to minimize them to ensure their happiness.

How To Deal With Grumpy Hedgehogs

Handling your hedgehog daily with your bare hands to get them used to your scent is one of the best ways to bond and eliminate signs of grumpiness. Maintaining the same body lotions, sprays, and perfumes can avoid confusing them with different scents. Providing large cages for your hedgehog and putting him on your lap draped in your towel or hoodie can also reverse extreme grumpiness.

Following the techniques uncovered above may hasten the taming process, especially in new hedgehogs that have just arrived in your home. They could become more comfortable with your presence and begin to regard you as a friend instead of a predator.

Besides, getting familiar with their owners can eliminate signs of irritability and enhance their moods. They can look forward to the next playtime with you which could become a source of excitement.

Dealing With Extreme Grumpiness in Hedgehogs

Let us go into details about how to eliminate extreme grumpiness in hedgehogs to help them enjoy meaningful lives in their cages.

Handling Can Eliminate Hedgehog Grumpiness

As previously stated, handling is the best way to deal with irritable hedgehogs because they’re extremely solitary animals that would rather be left alone. They are not naturally used to being held and it can take some time and effort to win them over.

We recommend trying to handle them every day even if you have only 5 minutes to spare. The physical contact also gets them used to your scent which eventually becomes their main mode of identifying you.

Hedgehogs have weak eyesight which limits their ability to recognize humans by face so your scent and to some extent your voice are the best modes of identification. If you’re in the habit of changing body lotions and perfumes regularly, becoming a hedgehog owner should put an end to that.

Different body lotions and perfumes can throw them off and make it impossible for them to recognize your scents. You could easily get confused with another member of the household or even a stranger leading to aggressive signs like getting bitten when you try to handle them.

Large and Comfortable Cages Minimizes Irritability In Hedgehogs

hedgehog in a large glass cage is seldom grumpy

Hedgehogs enjoy cages that offer generous floor space for them to literally tear apart. If your hedgie is currently housed in a small enclosure, no wonder he’s exhibiting signs of irritability. Moving him to a large cage containing all the bells and whistles such as comfortable bedding, running tunnels, and other hiding opportunities can help them settle in much quicker.

Hedgehogs are more likely to enjoy positive moods when their cages are comfortable. They like to explore their habitats just like in the wild and large cages afford the opportunity to do just that.

Sure, they can expend a lot of energy by running on the wheel but taking your time to observe them could reveal signs of unhappiness.

Shielding Hedgehogs From Light Reduces Bad Moods

Most hedgehog owners notice significant changes in the moods of their quill babies when their cages are darker. They are nocturnal animals that spend the daytime asleep and spring back to physical activity at night.

Making their cages darker can enhance their comfort during the daytime leading to improved sleep. Hedgehogs are sensitive to daylight which typically results in sleep interruptions even when they’re supposed to be enjoying quality shut-eye.

Creating a darker habitat ensures better sleep and even better moods in hedgehogs when they wake up at night. They’re less likely to display signs of grumpiness and should be more open to getting handled by their owners.

Putting their cages in a part of the house that receives little to no sunlight could be a great start. Draping the cages with blankets may also create artificial darkness in the cages which you can bet your hedgehog will appreciate. (Source)

Patience Is The Key To Dealing With Grumpy Hedgehogs

Are your hedgehogs undergoing quilling? That could explain why they are showing signs of grumpiness. Quilling is the process where baby spikes fall off and get replaced with permanent ones. The process can be extremely uncomfortable for them just like when infants have to lose their baby teeth for adult teeth to emerge.

Patience can be a virtue during this stage of their lives because physical contact typically results in more discomfort. You may have to leave them alone for a while to allow them to battle this fragile phase of their lives.

Offering your hedgehogs some privacy does not mean total neglect because you’ll still have to provide them food and water while cage sanitation as well as other essential activities like exercise wheel cleaning cannot be ignored for too long.

Why is My Hedgehog Always Grumpy?

Hedgehogs are not the most sociable pets especially when they arrive in a new home and displaying signs of grumpiness is normal. Here are the top reasons why they may show signs of irritability.


Hedgehogs are used to predatory attacks from large animals like Bobcats and Foxes. These predators hunt and eat them at every opportunity they get. While their vision is too poor to see humans clearly, they can still see the outlines of our bodies as giant beasts and their natural instinct is to be fearful of all physically imposing creatures because we might eat them.

It can take a lot of work to help hedgehogs overcome this fear and offering gentle physical contact could be a great start. Petting and holding pet hedgehogs enhances their trust in you and eliminates those fears gradually to the point where your presence could even be a source of happiness.

Do not get put off when hedgehogs are cautious around you during their first few weeks of arrival in your home. Continue showering them attention to enhance the taming process and that will always remain a possibility as long as you’re willing to invest some time into the relationship.


hedgehog with a grumpy personality in the palm of an owner

Just like humans and other animals, some hedgehogs are grumpy by nature and not much can be done about it. All attempts at taming them could fail because they’ll never allow themselves to open up to you under any circumstances.

Should you just stop trying to please hedgehogs with grumpy personalities? Well, daily handling is still a must no matter their level of resistance. They may not open up fully to you but they still need to know you’re a friend instead of a predator and daily handling helps in that direction.

At least your presence will stop triggering fear once they get used to your scent. Even the grumpiest hedgehogs still need to spend some time outside their cages daily to promote good health. Physical handling provides the perfect opportunity for them to be out of their cages.

How Do You Bond With An Angry Hedgehog?

Angry hedgehogs may feel better after spending some time together. Placing them in your lap while watching TV or surfing the Web often works well. Talking to them while they’re engaged in enjoyable activities like bathing, eating, and sleeping could also speed up the bonding process by associating your voice with calm and excitement.

Conclusion: How To Deal With Grumpy Hedgehogs

Handling your hedgehog is one of the best ways to deal with them when they’re grumpy. Covering them with personal effects such as towels or hoodies enables them to get more used to your natural scent while improving their moods.

Hedgehogs love to explore their owners’ personal stuff because it carries a familiar scent and this explains why allowing them to maneuver in your clothes can be a great idea. Some hedgehogs are born with a natural grumpy personality and attempts at changing that may prove futile.

However, they still need to be handled every day even if it is only for 5 minutes.

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