Why is My Hedgehog Huffing And Puffing?

hedgehog climbs out of cage as owner asks Why is My Hedgehog Huffing and Puffing?

Many first-time owners receive the shock of their lives after noticing how vocal their seemingly shy pet hedgehogs can be. Huffing and puffing are common in hedgehogs especially after arriving in a new home.

This article provides detailed answers to the question “Why is My Hedgehog Huffing And Puffing?” by uncovering what causes hedgehogs to make those sounds and whether anything can be done to calm their nerves once it starts.

Why is My Hedgehog Huffing And Puffing?

Huffing and puffing are signs of agitation, nervousness, or even unhappiness in hedgehogs. It is more common when they feel threatened by predators or other circumstances. Huffing sounds may also be common in the wild during mating season as males attempt to attract the female’s attention.

Hedgehogs are used to being attacked by larger animals in the wild and those fears are retained even in domesticated breeds. They live in perpetual fear for their lives and this influences their response to almost every situation.

Hedgehog huffing and puffing sounds are common after arrival in a new home when their owners are regarded as potential predators since their weak vision makes it impossible for them to recognize humans.

Besides, huffing and puffing serve as a way for intimidated hedgehogs to sort of fight back when initially handled by unfamiliar owners. It is their attempt at making their intentions known that they won’t go down without a fight. The huffs and puffs are meant to intimidate human handlers into walking away.

Huffing In Wild Hedgehogs

European hedgehog in grassland as property owners wonder about Huffing In Wild Hedgehogs

Huffing is normal mating behavior in male hedgehogs that want to attract females. It is not uncommon for them to make huffing sounds as they encircle females with the hope of attracting their attention to enable mating.

Sometimes, the female caves and bends over for the male to mount without problems. But, some females may also reject those advances when it is not attracted to the male in question. If you’re hearing huffing sounds at night in the backyard garden, a few hoglets could be on the way sooner than later.

Do Hedgehogs Ever Stop Huffing and Puffing

Hedgehogs can only stop huffing and puffing when they become more familiar with their environments and come to accept that their owners mean no harm. Unfortunately, that is a lengthy process that could last for even a year because hedgehogs are not easy to bond with.

Handling hedgehogs is one of the core responsibilities of their owners meaning the huffing and puffing sounds could continue for months. Fortunately, the intensity and rate of the sounds typically reduce over time as they settle more into the new home environment.

How To Stop Hedgehog Huffing and Puffing

Being responsive to the hedgehog’s language is the best way to make them more comfortable which can have a positive effect on their peace of mind and yours. Here are the best ways to stop huffing and puffing in pet hedgehogs.

Proper Hedgehog Handling Technique

hedgehog rests in a ceramic cup as owner tries to learn the Proper Hedgehog Handling Technique

The secret to ending the loud huffing and puffing sounds in hedgehogs is to learn proper handling. Mastering the art of scooping them up from the underbelly and avoiding surprises by making them aware of your presence before pickups can come in handy.

Owners should always allow hedgehogs to sniff their scents by picking them up with their bare hands only. The use of gloves is a big no when trying to bond with hedgehogs because it can throw them off the owner’s scents.

The risk of mistaking their owners for strangers can be high resulting in unnecessary agitation. Holding pet hedgehogs in your hands and allowing them to explore without any sort of movement could be a great start. The hedgehogs may ball up but remain stagnant and patient until they come out of the ball by themselves.

Eventually, hedgehogs relax and bring down their spines while moving around in your palms to explore. Hedgehogs may attempt to burrow into your clothes during handling which is why stretching your hands away from the rest of the body is recommended.

Avoid Physical Contact When Your Hedgehog is Moody

Hedgehogs require daily handling to speed up the bonding process but there are times when they need to be left alone. If your hedgehogs ball up repeatedly while in your palms and refuse to come out, putting them back in their cages for physical contact later is probably a better idea. (Source)

Avoid Provoking Huffing and Puffing Hedgehogs

Hedgehog huffing and puffing can continue for long periods when they are provoked unnecessarily. For instance, petting their spines while they are still making loud sounds on the cage floor could irritate them further. These provocations encourage hedgehogs to huff and puff every time a human comes close to their cages.

Also, hedgehogs should only be petted while they are in the owner’s hands. Those that are completely comfortable with their owners may be petted by reaching over into their cages but avoid that behavior when they first arrive.

Hedgehog Huffing In Sleep

hedgehog sleeps calmly in his cage as owner wonders about Hedgehog Huffing In Sleep

Hedgehogs huff in their sleep as a sign of breathing difficulties just like the loud snoring sounds in humans that experience labored breathing in bed. You could consult the local vet for clarifications but it is probably nothing to worry about.

Hedgehogs hardly pass away from breathing difficulties in their sleep but a visit to your vet can eliminate safety concerns. Other existing health problems may also be detected for the right treatment to be prescribed.

Sometimes, hedgehogs huff in their sleep when dreaming especially when it is some sort of nightmare but that should occur once in a while. Hedgehogs that huff and puff almost every time they fall asleep may be dealing with more complicated issues than bad dreams.

Conclusion: Why is My Hedgehog Huffing And Puffing?

Huffing and puffing sounds are never good because it is usually proof that the hedgehog is in some form of distress. This may be due to handling by new owners who are regarded as threats or even the presence of other household pets.

Huffing and puffing is the hedgehog’s attempt at intimidating the source of the threat into disappearing. Remember, hedgehogs recognize humans as predators until proven otherwise and it can take some work for them to warm up to their new owners.

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