5 Unique Ways Pet Hedgehogs Show Affection to Each Other


Today, we’re deeply diving into the wonderful world of hedgehogs. More specifically, we’re addressing a pretty interesting query: how do hedgehogs show affection to each other?

But first, let’s explore some fun facts about these charming creatures. Fun Fact: Did you know that hedgehogs have about 5000 to 7000 quills at any time?

And here’s another interesting tidbit: hedgehogs exhibit self-anointing, a unique behavior where they create a frothy saliva and spread it over their quills.

This behavior is still a mystery to scientists. Now, let’s get into the heart of the matter!

As solitary creatures by nature, hedgehogs aren’t exactly social butterflies. Their interaction with other hedgehogs is typically minimal, except during mating season.

However, they can show signs of affection and bonding in their unique hedgehog way. Curious to know how? Stick around, and we’ll unravel these cute and prickly mysteries together.

Quick Answer: 5 Unique Ways Hedgehogs Show Affection

1. Sharing Space

In the world of hedgehogs, space is everything! While these critters are solitary by nature, a hedgehog allowing another into its space is a clear sign of trust and affection.

It’s their way of saying, “Hey, I like you. You can hang out in my space.”

2. Gentle Nudging

Ever watched two hedgehogs in a gentle nudge-fest? It’s their way of saying, “I acknowledge you.” This form of affection may seem strange to humans, but in hedgehog behavior, it’s all about understanding their unique ways of expressing love.

3. Sniffing and Licking

This is akin to giving a ‘hedgehog kiss’! Sniffing and licking allow them to get familiar with each other’s scents. It’s an intimate process, which is why it’s reserved for hedgehogs they’re affectionate towards.

4. Sleeping Together

Nothing says trust like a good shared snooze. If your hedgehogs are sleeping together, it’s a clear indication they feel safe and comfortable with each other – key elements of hedgehog affection.

5. Soft Chirping Sounds

Listen carefully for soft, bird-like chirping sounds when your hedgehogs interact. These melodious sounds are a sign of contentment and a clear indicator of affection in hedgehog communication.

Understanding Hedgehog Behavior

To truly appreciate how hedgehogs show affection to each other, it helps to understand their unique behavior. You might be wondering: Why Are Hedgehogs Solitary?

Well, the reason is evolutionary. In the wild, hedgehogs lead solitary lives to minimize competition for food and resources. That doesn’t mean they’re incapable of affection or bonding, though.

When two hedgehogs form a bond, it’s rare and beautiful.

Now, let’s delve into How Do Hedgehogs Communicate?

Communication in hedgehogs is mostly through scent and sound. They have an acute sense of smell and hearing, using these senses to communicate with each other.

As mentioned in our quick answer, sniffing, licking, and chirping sounds are all forms of communication.

This understanding can also come in handy when interacting with a pet hedgehog. When it comes to a scared or defensive hedgehog, there are ways to calm it.

You can check out our post on how to calm a scared hedgehog for more information.

Reading The Signs: How to Identify a Happy Hedgehog

Identifying a content and happy hedgehog might initially seem challenging, but with a little knowledge and observation, you’ll soon be fluent in their unique language.

Here’s how to recognize signs of happiness and well-being in your prickly pals:

  • Active and Alert: A healthy, happy hedgehog is active, especially during the night, their peak time of activity. They should show interest in exploring their environment, which is a sign of comfort and contentment.

  • Healthy Eating: Regular, healthy eating habits are a good indication of a happy hedgehog. Any drastic changes in appetite could signal stress or health issues.

  • Regular Self-Grooming: Hedgehogs keep themselves clean by self-grooming or self-anointing. If your hedgehog is regularly grooming, it’s likely feeling comfortable and secure in its surroundings.

  • Comfort Around You: Over time, your hedgehog should show comfort around you, including uncurling from its ball and exploring your hands. It’s a sign of trust and affection.

  • Minimal Hissing and Popping: While it’s normal for hedgehogs to hiss or pop when scared or threatened, frequent or constant hissing could indicate stress or fear. You can learn more about hedgehog hissing and popping from our earlier post.

Hedgehogs and Human Interaction: Can They Show Affection to Their Human Caregivers?

The answer is, yes, hedgehogs can show affection to their human caregivers, though it may be in a different manner than we’re used to.

Hedgehogs, being naturally solitary creatures, may take time to warm up to their human companions. However, they can form a bond of trust and affection with patience and consistent gentle handling.

So, how do hedgehogs show affection to their human caregivers?

  • Unrolling Quickly: When a hedgehog unrolls quickly from its defensive ball in your presence, it indicates trust and familiarity. It’s their way of saying, “I feel safe around you.”
  • Cuddling: Some hedgehogs may enjoy snuggling against your body warmth. If your hedgehog cuddles into you, it’s a strong sign of affection.
  • Exploring You: A hedgehog running over your hands and arms or exploring your clothing is showing curiosity and comfort, both signs of affection.
  • Napping on You: Similar to cuddling, if a hedgehog chooses to nap on you, it’s a sign of trust and affection. They feel safe enough to sleep while in your presence.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

In this section, we’ll address some of the most commonly asked questions about hedgehogs and their affectionate behavior.

Q1: Can Hedgehogs Feel Affection?

Yes, they can. Although they are solitary by nature, they can form bonds with other hedgehogs and humans. This bond may not be in the form we commonly associate with pets like dogs or cats, but they certainly can form a connection based on trust and familiarity.

Q2: Do Hedgehogs Bond with Other Hedgehogs?

While it’s rare due to their solitary nature, hedgehogs can form bonds with other hedgehogs. This usually happens when they are raised together from a young age, but it’s not guaranteed.

Each hedgehog is unique and has its own comfort levels with companionship.

Q3: Are Hedgehogs Nice to Each Other?

It depends on the hedgehogs involved and their unique personalities. Some may tolerate each other’s presence, while others may prefer to be alone.

However, if a bond does form, you’ll see signs of affection like sharing space, gentle nudging, and even sleeping together.

Q4: How Do Hedgehogs Show Affection to Each Other?

As we’ve learned in this article, hedgehogs show affection to each other by sharing space, gentle nudging, sniffing and licking, sleeping together, and making soft chirping sounds.

Q5: Can Hedgehogs Get Along with Other Pets?

It varies on the pet and the individual hedgehog. Generally, it’s best to introduce them slowly and under close supervision. To understand more about hedgehog interactions with other pets, like cats, read our guide on can cats and hedgehogs get along.


Understanding how hedgehogs show affection for each other and their human companions is truly fascinating.

While their signs of affection might be subtle and different from what we’re used to with other pets, they’re no less meaningful. As with any animal, patience, understanding, and respect for their nature are key.

Remember that each hedgehog is unique, and while these behaviors are generally common signs of affection, they can vary from hedgehog to hedgehog.

Always monitor your pet’s behavior for any changes and consult with a vet if you’re concerned about their health or well-being.

In the end, the bond that can form between you and your hedgehog is truly special. It might take time, but it’s worth it. The trust and affection they can show you are some of the many joys of being a hedgehog owner.

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