Do Hedgehog Quills Grow Back? [Regrowth Process]


Hello there, fellow hedgehog enthusiasts! Ever found a spiky little gift left behind by your prickly pal and wondered, “Do hedgehog quills grow back“?

Well, you’re not alone. Many hedgehog owners often ask this question. It’s a valid concern since those tiny spikes, or quills, are one of the most defining characteristics of our adorable pets.

In this post, we’ll also explore the biology of hedgehog quills, why they might fall out, and what you can do if your hedgehog is experiencing quill loss.

We’ll cover some important hedgehog health and care topics, so you’ll know exactly how to keep your little friend happy and healthy.

Quick Answer

Hedgehog quills do grow back. It’s quite similar to how human hair regrows after it falls out. Hedgehog quills are hardened hair, filled with keratin – the same protein that makes up our hair and nails.

The growth and replacement of quills is a natural process that all hedgehogs go through, often more than once. You might even observe your hedgehog getting new quills quite often.

This process is also known as “quilling,” it’s a completely normal part of a hedgehog’s life cycle.

However, just like human hair, the growth of new quills can be affected by factors like nutrition, stress, and overall health. If you’re worried about abnormal quill loss, consulting with a vet is always a good idea.

Remember, when handling a quilling hedgehog, be extra gentle. Their new quills can be sensitive, and hedgehog quills can hurt to touch, especially if your hedgehog is stressed or scared.

Understanding Hedgehog Quills: What Are They Exactly?

Hedgehog quills are a defining feature of our spikey little friends. These quills, often incorrectly called spikes, are modified hairs.

Made from keratin – the same protein that our hair and nails are made from – these hardened hairs serve as a unique defense mechanism for the hedgehog.

Hedgehog quills are hollow and have a complex structure. Unlike the smooth surface of human hair, hedgehog quills have intricate patterns of ridges and grooves.

At the base of each quill, there’s a muscle that allows the hedgehog to control the position of its quills. This ability is a key part of the hedgehog’s defense strategy.

But do hedgehog quills hurt to touch?

While hedgehog quills are sharp, they usually won’t hurt you unless the hedgehog feels threatened. When they’re relaxed, their quills lay flat, and they feel more like a bristly brush.

However, when a hedgehog is scared or upset, they can raise their quills, making them more likely to poke you.

Fun Fact: Did you know that when hedgehogs feel calm and safe, they have a unique way of showing it? They might gently lick or nibble on their own spines, creating a soothing and contented behavior, like a little self-pampering spa session!

Why Do Hedgehogs Lose Their Quills?

You may wonder, “Why do hedgehogs spikes fall out?” It might initially seem alarming, but it’s a normal part of their life cycle. There are a few reasons why hedgehogs lose their quills.

Natural Quill Loss and Growth

Hedgehogs go through “quilling” a few times, particularly during their growth stages. It’s akin to teething in human babies – uncomfortable but completely normal.

Hedgehogs typically experience their first major quilling around 6-8 weeks; some may go through a second quilling during adolescence.

Stress or Illness-related Quill Loss:

Quill loss can also be a sign of stress or illness. Like humans losing hair during intense stress, hedgehogs can lose their quills. Skin infections, parasites, or other illnesses can also lead to quill loss.

This is why it’s crucial to be vigilant about your hedgehog’s health and monitor any sudden or excessive quill loss.

Fun Fact: While hedgehogs are adorable creatures, they're not suited for walks on a leash like dogs due to their delicate feet and natural instinct to explore close to the ground. Opt for indoor playtime or provide them a safe garden to roam freely!

How to Care for a Quilling Hedgehog

Caring for a quilling hedgehog can be a delicate task. While quilling, your little friend might be in discomfort or even pain, making them more irritable or less social.

Here are some tips to help you care for your hedgehog during this period:

Provide a Balanced Diet

Providing a balanced protein-rich diet can help your hedgehog grow strong, healthy quills during the quilling phase. Nutritious meals are key to overall hedgehog health and quill development.

You might even want to try some delicious recipes for homemade hedgehog meals to spoil your little buddy.

Create a Comfortable Environment

Hedgehogs experiencing quilling can be more sensitive to their surroundings. You can help alleviate this by providing a warm, quiet, and comfortable environment.

Also, remember that hedgehogs are nocturnal animals. So, it’s best to let them rest during the day and avoid disturbing them unnecessarily.

Handle with Care

Your hedgehog’s skin will be sensitive during quilling, so you must be gentle when handling them. A soft towel can provide a protective barrier between your skin and the new, sharp quills.

Bath them

A warm bath can help soothe a quilling hedgehog’s skin. You can add some oatmeal or use a mild, unscented pet shampoo to help alleviate any itchiness.

Ensure the water isn’t too hot – keep it around 75-85 degrees Fahrenheit (24-29 degrees Celsius).

Provide Plenty of Love and Patience

Your hedgehog may become a bit grumpy during quilling due to discomfort. It’s essential to be patient, give them space if needed, but also ensure they know you’re there for them.

Fun Fact: Hedgehogs show affection to each other through heartwarming moments of "hedge-hugging" – they nuzzle, snuggle, and even share gentle little kisses using their snouts as a sign of camaraderie and friendship.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Here, we address some common questions that might come up while caring for a quilling hedgehog.

Q1: How often do hedgehogs get new quills?

A: Hedgehogs typically go through a major quilling phase two or three times in their life. The first usually occurs around 6-8 weeks of age, and a possible second one can happen during adolescence.

Besides these phases, it’s normal for hedgehogs to lose and regrow quills throughout their lifetime, much like humans lose and regrow hair.

Q2: Do hedgehogs quill twice?

A: Some hedgehogs go through a second quilling phase during adolescence, around four to six months of age. However, not all hedgehogs will experience a second quilling phase.

Q3: Why do hedgehogs spikes fall out?

A: Hedgehogs can lose their quills for a variety of reasons. It’s a natural process during their growth stages, also known as quilling. However, other factors like stress, skin infections, or other health issues can cause quill loss.

Q4: Do hedgehog quills hurt to touch?

A: Hedgehog quills can be sharp, but they usually won’t hurt you unless the hedgehog feels threatened. When relaxed, the quills lay flat and feel like a bristly brush.

But when a hedgehog is scared or upset, they raise their quills, making them more likely to poke you.


In conclusion, hedgehog quills do grow back. Quilling is a normal and necessary process for these adorable creatures, and while it may be stressful to watch your pet go through this, it’s important to remember that it’s a natural part of their life cycle.

As a hedgehog owner, you must provide the best care during these times.

That includes providing a nutritious diet, creating a comfortable environment, handling your pet gently, and monitoring their overall health.

It’s also vital to consult a vet if you observe any abnormal quill loss or if your hedgehog seems unduly uncomfortable.

Owning a hedgehog is a rewarding experience, full of unique challenges and delights. Understanding your hedgehog’s needs, including the natural quilling process, is just one part.

So next time you notice a few extra quills in your hedgehog’s bed, don’t panic – it’s just a sign of your little buddy growing up.

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