Hedgehog Care: Perfecting the Bath Water Temperature


If you’re reading this, you’re likely a proud hedgehog owner or considering becoming one. Either way, you’re probably curious about how to keep your prickly friend clean and comfortable.

A crucial part of hedgehog care involves bathing, and that’s what we’re here to discuss today, with a particular focus on the hedgehog bath water temperature.

Fun Fact: Did you know hedgehogs have a body temperature range of 95-98 degrees Fahrenheit (or 35-36.7 degrees Celsius)? That's why getting the bath water temperature right is so critical. Too cold or too hot can lead to discomfort, and in extreme cases, even illness.

Quick Answer: Ideal Hedgehog Bath Water Temperature

Let’s cut straight to the chase – the optimal temperature for your hedgehog’s bath water is in the range of 75 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit (or 24 to 29 degrees Celsius).

This range mirrors the temperature that hedgehogs experience in their natural environment, making it ideal for keeping them comfortable during their bath.

Why this range, you ask? Well, hedgehogs are creatures that originate from warm climates. Thus, they prefer warmer temperatures.

A bath water temperature that’s too cold can cause them to go into shock or hibernation, which is harmful for pet hedgehogs.

On the other hand, water that’s too hot could burn their sensitive skin. Hedgehogs don’t have the same heat tolerance as humans, so never assume that if it’s comfortable for you, it will be for them.

Understanding Hedgehog Physiology

Understanding why the right hedgehog bath water temperature is crucial for these unique creatures is important. Hedgehogs have a fascinating physiology that’s built for survival.

Their bodies are designed to withstand certain temperatures, but domesticated hedgehogs, like the ones we keep as pets, have a narrower safe temperature range.

Hedgehogs are ectothermic, which means they rely on their environment to regulate body temperature.

Unlike humans who can tolerate a wide range of temperatures, hedgehogs thrive within a specific temperature range – typically between 72 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit (22 to 27 degrees Celsius).

When the temperature goes beyond these bounds, your hedgehog might experience physical stress, which could lead to health problems.

A too cold bath could force your hedgehog into an unwanted hibernation state. Pet hedgehogs, especially the common African Pygmy species, aren’t built to hibernate, and doing so can be dangerous for their health.

Conversely, if the water is too hot, it could cause heat stress or burns.

Guide to a Safe and Comfortable Hedgehog Bath

Now that we’ve covered the ‘why,’ let’s move on to the ‘how.’ Here’s a step-by-step guide to ensure a safe hedgehog bath experience for your prickly friend:

  • Preparing the Bath: Choose a sink or a shallow basin for the bath area. Ensure it’s clean and free of any potentially harmful cleaning agents.

  • Filling the Bath: Fill the basin with water to a depth that’s safe for your hedgehog. A common question is, “How deep should a hedgehog bath be?” The answer is not very deep at all. Approximately 1 inch (or 2.5 cm) of water is enough. Hedgehogs are not natural swimmers, and a deep bath could potentially cause them to panic or even drown.

  • Checking the Water Temperature: Before letting your hedgehog anywhere near the bath, use a reliable thermometer to check the water temperature. As mentioned earlier, aim for a water temperature between 75 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit (24 to 29 degrees Celsius).

  • Gently Introducing Your Hedgehog to the Bath: Slowly place your hedgehog in the bath, allowing them to adjust to the water. Use a soft toothbrush or cloth to gently clean your hedgehog, paying extra attention to their quills and belly.

Useful Tools for Hedgehog Bath Time

To make your hedgehog’s bath time not only safe but also efficient and enjoyable, here are some recommended tools and products to have on hand:

  • Reliable Thermometer: As we’ve emphasized, getting the water temperature right is crucial. A good, reliable water thermometer will help you achieve the ideal hedgehog bath water temperature. There are plenty of options available, from traditional floating thermometers to digital ones with LED displays.

  • Soft Toothbrush or Cloth: A soft toothbrush or cloth is indispensable to gently clean your hedgehog’s quills and belly. This can help to remove any dirt or grime without causing discomfort to your pet.

  • Hedgehog-Safe Bath Products: Not all pet shampoos are safe for hedgehogs. Some can cause skin irritation or dryness. Look for shampoos or soaps specifically designed for small animals or hedgehogs. These are typically milder and safer for their sensitive skin.

  • Warm Towel: Hedgehogs will likely feel chilly after bath time. Have a warm towel ready to wrap them up and help them dry off.

  • Treats: Finally, having a small treat on hand can greatly reward your hedgehog for enduring bath time. This positive reinforcement can help make future baths less stressful.

Common Hedgehog Bath Problems and Solutions

Like any pet care routine, bathing your hedgehog can face its share of challenges. Don’t fret; these are usually easy to solve with a little patience and understanding.

Here are a few common issues and how you can tackle them:

Problem: Hedgehog is scared of water.

Solution: This is quite common as hedgehogs are not naturally water-loving creatures. Make the experience more comfortable by introducing them to the water gradually. Start with shallow water and allow them to get used to it before proceeding with the bath.

Problem: Hedgehog tries to escape from the bath.

Solution: This could be a sign that your hedgehog is uncomfortable. Check the water temperature; it could be too hot or too cold. Also, ensure the water isn’t too deep. Reassure your pet by speaking softly and offering gentle strokes.

Problem: Hedgehog’s skin is dry after bath.

Solution: This could be due to the shampoo or soap used. Make sure you’re using a mild, hedgehog-safe product. After the bath, apply a pet-safe moisturizer or oil (like coconut or jojoba oil) to your hedgehog’s skin to prevent dryness.

Problem: Hedgehog is shaking after the bath.

Solution: Your hedgehog might be cold. Dry them off promptly after the bath with a warm towel and keep them in a warm environment.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Q1: Do hedgehogs like warm or cold water?

Hedgehogs prefer warm water. Aim for a water temperature between 75 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit (24 to 29 degrees Celsius) for their baths.

Q2: How often should I bathe my hedgehog?

Typically, hedgehogs should be bathed once a month. However, if they get particularly dirty or have skin issues, you may need to bathe them more frequently.

Q3: Do I need to bathe my hedgehog in the winter?

It would be best if you still bathed your hedgehog in the winter. However, ensure they are dried thoroughly and kept warm after the bath to prevent them from getting cold.

Q4: Can I use human shampoo to bathe my hedgehog?

It’s best to use a mild, hypoallergenic shampoo for small animals or hedgehogs. Human shampoo could be too harsh and dry out their skin.

Q5: Can hedgehogs swim?

While hedgehogs can paddle a little, they’re not natural swimmers. It’s best to keep the bath water shallow to prevent any potential danger.


Bathing your hedgehog might initially seem daunting, considering their spiky quills and natural apprehension towards the water.

But with a little patience and the right techniques, it can become a manageable and enjoyable part of your pet care routine.

Remember, the key points to consider are the depth and temperature of the bath water, the bath products you use, and your hedgehog’s comfort throughout the process.

By prioritizing your hedgehog’s well-being and following our guide, you’ll ensure your prickly pal stays clean and healthy.

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