How to Get Hedgehogs to Drink Water: The Ultimate Guide

hedgehog drinking from a water bowl as owner asks about How to Get Hedgehogs to Drink Water

Hedgehogs need constant access to drinking water to enable digestion and absorption of nutrients from their diet. Staying hydrated also helps internal organs function properly while ensuring the healthy flow of blood and oxygen to all areas of their bodies.

This article reveals how to get hedgehogs to drink water when they seem disinterested. We uncover the underlying reasons why they may not be getting the right amounts of drinking water and effective methods to counteract them. Let’s dive straight in, shall we?

How to Get Hedgehogs to Drink Water

Changing their diet is the most potent way to get hedgehogs to drink water. Switching from water bottles to plain water dishes can also make hydration easier. Besides, getting hedgehogs to engage in physical activity may boost their water intake levels ensuring that they stay more hydrated.

It is normal behavior for hedgehogs not to eat or drink water after arriving in a new home. As they get more familiar with the new surroundings, their appetites typically pick up resulting in a higher need to stay hydrated.

But, if a hedgehog is refusing to drink water without major changes in its environment, that could be a sign of trouble. Investigating what may be triggering the repulsion to hydration and finding a solution often leads to healthy drinking again.

The lack of interest in staying hydrated can lead to health problems that may culminate in death. If you fail to provide drinking water to your hedgehog for a couple of days, be prepared to find its lifeless body in the cage.

Dehydration for multiple days typically results in constipation, organ failure, and death due to interruptions in their body functionality.

How To Find Out if Your Hedgehog is Drinking Water

Making sure that the hedgehog gets access to clean water supplies is a good start but monitoring its water intake levels could be vital too. You can measure this by marking a specific point in the bottle or bowl with a non-toxic marker and filling water to that point.

Monitor the marking periodically to know whether the hedgehog is drinking water but do not forget to double-check for signs of leakages to prevent skewed results. If the water level stays the same after 24 hours, that is confirmation that your hedgehog is refusing to drink and could die shortly if drastic actions are not taken.

Why is My Hedgehog Refusing To Drink Water?

Hedgehogs naturally love to stay hydrated but many problems could force them to shun drinking. Here are the main reasons why they may be refusing to drink.

Loss of Interest In Hydration Due To A New Diet

hedgehog eating from a plate on a grass field

Have you recently changed your hedgehog’s diet? If yes, that could be the reason behind the sudden aversion to their drinking water. Hedgehogs poop a lot due to their fragile digestive systems and quick metabolism.

Stomach upsets are common especially when their food is changed overnight. The new food could deter them from drinking water when they’re reeling from the effects of stomach trouble.

The best way out according to many hedgehog parents is to change the diet again. You may also want to monitor the hedgehog’s last poop if available to detect its color and texture. Green-colored poop is often a confirmation of tummy upset and resultant delays in metabolism.

Reduced Hydration Due to Lethargy

Have you noticed that breaking a sweat from physical workouts increases your hydration needs? The same principle applies to animals like hedgehogs. They love to engage in constant physical activity including running on their wheels and moving through various cage hideouts.

Engaging in these physical workouts increases their need to stay hydrated and vice versa. If your hedgehog is showing signs of lethargy such as lack of movement and loss of interest in running on their wheels, their hydration needs will likely decline.

Getting them active again can force a higher appetite for drinking water resulting in proper internal organ functionality and other benefits that could help them stay alive. You can start off by introducing an exercise wheel into their cages if one is missing.

You may also DIY or buy 2-3 different sets of toys for their habitats. We recommend placing one set at a time for a couple of days and switching to another set. Repeating the cycle regularly could prevent boredom with a particular set of toys.

Stress-Induced Dehydration In Hedgehogs

Hedgehogs may suffer stress when exposed to less than ideal environmental situations and this can affect their interest in eating and hydrating. Exposure to noise, for instance, could stress them greatly resulting in fear for their lives.

Their metabolism rates may suffer which also affects the amount of water they may be interested in drinking. The best option when your hedgehog is showing evidence of stress is to look around their cages for potential triggers.

Are your hedgehogs exposed to too much heat or cold? Is there a foul scent in the environment due to the lack of regular cleaning? Are they being starved of food and water? Answering “yes” to any of these questions could explain why they are stressed.

While hedgehogs may seem like emotionally absent animals, they can form strong bonds with owners who are willing to invest some effort into bonding with them. Stress could be likely when they feel neglected, resulting in loss of appetite and a reduced need to stay hydrated.

Eliminating existing stress triggers should culminate in your hedgehog drinking the right amounts of water again.

Inability To Use Water Bottle

hedgehog sitting next to a large mug

Water bottles may look fancy in their cages but not all hedgehogs are able to drink from them effectively. They may be discouraged from staying hydrated when forced to sip water from awkward angles.

Besides, some bottles could be saddled with dispensing problems which can lower the hedgehog’s interest in staying hydrated. Replacing water bottles with open dishes could improve their hydration significantly leading to positive effects on their health and general well-being.

Leakages or Overturned Water Dishes

Hedgehogs may be drinking little to no water but you could easily miss the signs when their water bottles leak constantly. The consistent water level reduction could be mistaken as confirmation of normal water intake when the opposite is true.

This is why checking for signs of leakages daily is so crucial. They may also be starved of water as a result of overturned water bowls or dishes. Hedgehogs can be clumsy due to their poor eyesight and accidentally overturning their filled water bowls is not uncommon.

How Often Do Hedgehogs Drink Water?

Hedgehogs drink water throughout the night when they’re awake and physically active. They drink when thirsty and often, the higher the level of physical activity, the more drinking water required.

It is not uncommon for sleeping hedgehogs to wake up at some point during the daytime to drink water and resume sleeping.

How Often Can a Hedgehog Survive Without Drinking Water?

Hedgehogs may survive up to 3 days without drinking water but that could be a risky venture. Sick and elderly hedgehogs may only live for 24 hours when severely thirsty so constant hydration can be critical.

Failure could result in waking up to or coming home to your favorite quill baby’s dead body.

What Do You Give a Dehydrated Hedgehog?

glass of oral rehydration salt as owner asks What Do You Give a Dehydrated Hedgehog?

Dehydrated hedgehogs should be given rehydrating fluids immediately to replenish what is lost and stimulate the proper functioning of their bodies again. Lectade is one of the best rehydration fluids out there for hedgehogs but you may also create a DIY electrolyte solution in their absence.

Dissolving a tablespoon each of sugar and salt in warm water can create a potent electrolyte that provides rehydration for hedgehogs. The solution could be fed to the dehydrated hedgehog via a syringe. (Source)

How Can You Tell if a Hedgehog is Dehydrated?

If a hedgehog’s skin pops back up after pulling a few of its quills, that is a sign of possible dehydration. Dehydrated hedgehogs may also exhibit sunken eyes, signs of lethargy, and an inability to free their bowels. Provide rehydrating fluids immediately if you discover any of these signs because further delays could lead to tragedies.

Is Tap Water OK For Hedgehogs?

Hedgehogs can drink tap water as long as it is not contaminated. You may offer bottled water or have regular tap water distilled to guarantee its safety for your hedgehog’s consumption.

Do Hedgehogs Drink Cold Water?

Hedgehogs may suffer complications from drinking cold water so always offer them water that hovers around 75F. Icy water can trigger side effects such as hibernation and hypothermia in hedgehogs.


If your hedgehog is refusing to drink water, changing his diet is the first course of action since it may cause stomach upsets that make them less inclined to hydrate. You should also eliminate stress triggers such as noise and hunger to promote the need for healthy amounts of drinking water.

Giving physical attention to your hedgehog can improve its mood and eliminate signs of lethargy. Providing vital toys like wheels may also get them running continuously when awake at night which should trigger more thirst and the resultant need to drink more water.

If your hedgehog is still refusing to drink water, you may have to force-feed him water through a syringe or even book an appointment with your vet. Failure to act quickly when your hedgehog is showing signs of dehydration can lead to death.

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