Is Your Hedgehog Hissing & Popping? Here’s What to Do


Hello, fellow hedgehog enthusiasts! Have you ever noticed your spiky friend making a peculiar hissing or popping noise?

It can be quite startling if you’re unfamiliar with these quirky sounds. But don’t fret; these sounds are important to your hedgehog’s behavioral repertoire.

Today, we will delve into the intriguing world of hedgehog communication, particularly focusing on hissing and popping.

We’ll explore what these sounds mean, why your hedgehog might be making them, and how you can respond to ensure your prickly pal is happy and healthy.

Quick Answer

A hedgehog’s hissing and popping is usually a sign of annoyance, stress, or fear. It’s part of their way of communicating discomfort or displeasure about something in their environment.

If your hedgehog is making these sounds excessively, it might indicate that something is causing them stress, and it’s essential to identify and rectify this issue.

It’s equally important to remember that while these sounds can be alarming, they are a normal part of hedgehog behavior and a way for them to express their feelings.

However, excessive hissing and popping could also be a sign that your hedgehog needs more comfort in its environment or a sign of an underlying health issue.

If you’re unsure, it’s always best to consult with a vet experienced in small mammals.

Understanding Hedgehog Sounds and Behaviors

Hedgehogs, despite their quiet reputation, are surprisingly vocal creatures. They communicate using a variety of sounds, and each sound carries a specific meaning.

Hissing and popping, which we’re focusing on today, are among the most interesting and common sounds hedgehogs make. But what do they mean?

A hissing hedgehog is generally an annoyed or scared hedgehog. Hissing is a way for them to express their discomfort, and it’s often accompanied by puffing up their quills. This is their way of telling you or another creature to back off.

Popping, on the other hand, is similar to hissing in many ways. It’s another defensive sound hedgehogs make when they are stressed or feel threatened.

Hedgehogs can even make a popping sound while anointing, a unique behavior where they spread their saliva on their quills.

Why Does Your Hedgehog Hiss and Pop?

So we’ve established that hissing and popping are defensive sounds that hedgehogs make when they feel uncomfortable or threatened. But what specific triggers might cause these reactions?

Let’s explore some common causes.

1. Stress and Fear

Stress or fear is the most common reason for a hedgehog to hiss or pop. This could be caused by a variety of factors, including sudden noises, unfamiliar scents, or an uncomfortable living environment.

It’s crucial to provide a calm, quiet environment for your hedgehog to help them feel secure.

2. Discomfort

Hedgehogs might hiss or pop if they’re physically uncomfortable. For example, a temperature that’s too high or too low can cause them distress.

The ideal temperature for a hedgehog is between 72-80 degrees Fahrenheit (22-27 degrees Celsius).

3. Illness or Pain

Excessive hissing and popping could be a sign of an underlying health problem. If you notice any additional symptoms such as loss of appetite, lethargy, or changes in bathroom habits, you should consult a vet immediately.

Speaking of bathroom habits, if you’re wondering, hedgehogs do poop a lot but don’t worry, it’s normal.

4. Handling Issues

Improper handling can also lead to hissing and popping. Hedgehogs are delicate creatures and should be handled gently. Sudden movements or rough handling can threaten them, leading to hissing and popping.

Are Hissing and Popping Normal Hedgehog Behaviors?

It’s essential to understand that hissing and popping are natural behaviors for hedgehogs. They’re part of the wide range of sounds and actions that hedgehogs use to communicate their feelings.

Just like a dog may bark or a cat may hiss, a hedgehog may hiss or pop to express discomfort or distress.

Hedgehogs are known for their unique behaviors, including their adorable little hisses and pops. But it’s essential to distinguish between normal, occasional hissing and popping and excessive, constant noise-making.

If your hedgehog is continually hissing or popping, it could be a sign of constant stress or discomfort, and you should seek advice from a vet or experienced hedgehog keeper.

Occasional hissing and popping, especially when a hedgehog is new to your home or adjusting to changes, is completely normal.

Patience, gentle handling, and a comfortable environment can go a long way toward helping your hedgehog feel at ease.

Remember, hedgehogs, just like any other pets, require love, care, and understanding. And sometimes, they may need a little extra help.

For instance, keeping their enclosure clean is crucial, and you might be surprised to learn that hedgehog poop can be quite stinky.

What to Do When Your Hedgehog Hisses and Pops

Okay, so you’ve heard your hedgehog hissing or popping, and you’re not sure what to do. Don’t worry! It’s not as daunting as it may seem. Here’s what you can do to help your little spiky friend:

1. Identify Stressors

The first step is identifying potential stressors in your hedgehog’s environment. Is there a lot of noise? Are there other pets bothering your hedgehog?

Is the temperature comfortable? Identifying and removing stressors can help your hedgehog feel more at ease.

2. Provide a Comfortable Environment

Hedgehogs need a quiet, calm environment to thrive. Make sure their cage is in a low-traffic area of the house and the temperature is within the ideal range of 72-80 degrees Fahrenheit (22-27 degrees Celsius).

3. Handle Gently

Hedgehogs can be sensitive to how they’re handled. Always approach your hedgehog with gentle, slow movements to avoid startling them. Holding them close to your body can provide a sense of security.

4. Consult a Vet

If your hedgehog is hissing or popping excessively and you can’t identify any clear stressors, it might be a good idea to consult a vet. This could be a sign of an underlying health issue.

Remember, it’s better to be safe than sorry when it comes to your pet’s health.

Speaking of health, it’s worth noting that hedgehogs need to relieve themselves just like dogs and cats. You may find it interesting to know how often hedgehogs poop and pee.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Q1. Why is my hedgehog making a popping noise?

Popping is a defensive sound hedgehogs make when they feel threatened or stressed. They can also make this sound while anointing, a behavior where they spread their saliva on their quills.

It’s crucial to identify any potential stressors and ensure your hedgehog feels safe and comfortable in its environment.

Q2. How do I get my hedgehog to stop hissing?

The key to stopping your hedgehog from hissing is to identify and remove any stressors in its environment. This could include too much noise, other pets, or uncomfortable temperatures.

Handle your hedgehog gently and ensure it has a comfortable and quiet resting place.

Q3. Does hissing mean my hedgehog is angry?

Not necessarily. Hissing is a defensive behavior hedgehogs exhibit when they feel threatened or uncomfortable. This doesn’t necessarily mean they’re angry; rather, they’re trying to communicate that they don’t feel safe or comfortable.

Q4. Is it normal for my hedgehog to hiss and pop when I try to pick it up?

It can be, especially if your hedgehog isn’t accustomed to being handled. Handle your hedgehog gently and gradually to help it get used to human touch.

If your hedgehog continues to hiss or pop despite your best efforts, consult a vet or an experienced hedgehog keeper.

Q5. Can a hissing or popping hedgehog hurt me?

Hedgehogs can’t harm you by hissing or popping, but they might roll into a ball and extend their quills when they feel threatened. It’s always best to handle a calm, relaxed hedgehog.

If your hedgehog is hissing or popping, give it some space to calm down before attempting to handle it again.


Understanding hedgehog hissing and popping isn’t rocket science, but it requires patience and understanding. These sounds are natural defensive behaviors hedgehogs exhibit when they feel threatened or stressed.

Your role as a pet parent is to ensure your hedgehog feels safe, comfortable and loved in its environment.

And remember, every hedgehog is unique! What might stress one hedgehog might not bother another.

Keep an eye on your hedgehog’s behavior, ensure it has a comfortable and quiet living environment, handle it gently, and consult a vet if you notice any worrying changes.

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