7 Ways to Calm Your Scared Pet Hedgehog [Effective Tips]


Hedgehogs are known for their spiky appearance and curious nature, making them an interesting choice for a pet.

But just like any other pet, they can experience fear and anxiety, which might make them retreat into their spiky ball or behave unexpectedly.

Understanding the behavior of hedgehogs and the importance of keeping your pet calm can significantly improve your bond with them and their overall well-being.

This guide will explore effective, unique, and reliable methods to soothe a frightened hedgehog. These methods range from setting up a safe environment to the importance of proper handling and how hedgehog diet can affect their behavior.

Quick Answer

Firstly, create a safe and quiet environment for your hedgehog. Familiar scents can be comforting, so consider providing a soft piece of clothing that smells like you.

Handle your hedgehog gently and patiently, letting it get used to your touch. Play soothing sounds at a low volume, as high noises can startle them.

Control the lighting in the room, ensuring it’s not too bright. Ensure a proper diet to maintain their health and well-being. Lastly, consult with a professional if you notice persistent signs of stress or anxiety in your pet.

How to Calm a Scared Hedgehog

Here are the seven (7) methods you can use;

Method 1: Providing a Safe Environment

One of the most effective ways to calm a scared hedgehog is by providing a safe and familiar environment.

Hedgehogs are naturally nocturnal and solitary animals thrive in quiet, low-light settings. Loud noises or sudden changes can be stressful for them.

Ensure your hedgehog’s cage or enclosure is in a quiet area of the house where there’s not a lot of foot traffic or noise.

It should be large enough for your hedgehog to move around comfortably, with hiding places to retreat when feeling anxious. Hedgehog-specific hideaways, like igloos or tunnels, can provide security.

Also, maintain a stable temperature in their enclosure. Hedgehogs prefer temperatures around 72-80 degrees Fahrenheit (22-27 degrees Celsius). Temperatures too high or low can cause discomfort and stress.

Creating this safe environment is not just about what you can see. It’s also about what your hedgehog can smell. Hedgehogs have an excellent sense of smell, so removing strong odors from their environment can help to reduce stress.

One more thing to consider is cleanliness. Keep their home tidy by cleaning it regularly. Not only will this keep them healthy, but it can also keep them calm.

For more tips on hedgehog hygiene, you can check out how often hedgehogs poop and pee.

Method 2: Familiar Scent

As humans find comfort in the familiar, so do our prickly friends. A familiar scent can greatly help calm a scared hedgehog. Their strong sense of smell can be utilized to make them feel more at home and less anxious.

To introduce your scent to your hedgehog, consider leaving a soft cloth or an old t-shirt you’ve worn inside their habitat. This allows your hedgehog to become accustomed to your scent, making it feel safer when you handle it.

Regularly changing the cloth or t-shirt ensures your scent stays fresh, and your hedgehog remains comfortable. Just remember to introduce the new scented item gradually.

Sudden changes, even positive ones, can be stressful for a hedgehog.

This method is not just comforting but also a great bonding exercise. By getting used to your scent, your hedgehog will associate your presence with safety and comfort, which answers a common question: “How do you bond with a scared hedgehog?

Method 3: Gentle Handling

Handling your hedgehog properly is crucial to easing its fears. A scared hedgehog may curl up into a ball when held, but with time and patience, it can learn to trust you.

Always approach your hedgehog slowly and calmly, letting it sniff your hand before you pick it up. Let it come to you rather than forcing interaction. Remember, sudden movements or noise can startle it.

Pick up your hedgehog by scooping it gently from underneath with both hands. Never try to uncurl a scared hedgehog by force as it can cause stress and even injury. Instead, please wait for it to uncurl naturally in your hands.

Spend some quiet time with your hedgehog daily. You could even watch TV or read a book while your hedgehog rests in your lap. These regular, calm interactions will help build trust and a strong bond between you two.

Method 4: Soothing Sounds

This might surprise you, but just like humans, hedgehogs can respond positively to soothing sounds. Creating a calm auditory environment can significantly contribute to your hedgehog’s well-being and help alleviate its fears.

Try playing soft, calming music at a low volume near your hedgehog’s enclosure. Classical music or instrumental tunes are typically good choices.

Alternatively, you could also play natural sounds such as rain, bird songs, or ocean waves, which can be soothing.

A wide range of apps and websites also offer a selection of “white noise” or “pink noise” sounds, which are known to help reduce stress and anxiety in humans and animals.

Just remember to keep the volume low. Loud noises can startle your hedgehog and cause more stress. As with any new experience, introduce these sounds slowly and monitor your hedgehog’s reactions.

Method 5: Manage Lighting

Hedgehogs are nocturnal creatures, meaning they’re most active at night and prefer darker environments during the day.

Properly managing the lighting in your hedgehog’s space is an important, yet often overlooked, way to help calm a scared hedgehog.

Try to mimic their natural lighting cycle as much as possible. During the day, keep the room dimly lit or use a small light in their enclosure.

Avoid placing their cage in direct sunlight as this can cause overheating and added stress.

At night, let them explore in a dark or dimly lit room. You can use a small night light if necessary, but avoid bright lights as they can be startling.

Another critical point is to ensure that your hedgehog has a dark, secluded space within its enclosure to retreat to when it needs to feel safe. This could be a specially designed hedgehog hideaway or even a simple box.

Method 6: Balanced Diet

You might wonder, “What does diet have to do with a scared hedgehog?” The answer is a lot more than you might think. Just like humans, a balanced diet plays a crucial role in a hedgehog’s overall mood and health.

Feeding your hedgehog the right foods can help to maintain its health, reduce stress, and make it feel more comfortable in its environment.

The ideal hedgehog diet consists mainly of high-quality, low-fat cat food supplemented with fruits, vegetables, and cooked lean meats.

Avoid feeding them foods high in fat or sugar, as these can lead to obesity and other health issues. Also, remember to provide fresh water daily. A dehydrated hedgehog can become stressed and anxious.

Treats can also play a significant role in bonding and reducing fear. Offering a small treat from your hand can build trust and create a positive association with you.

However, treats should only make up a small part of their diet and always be offered in moderation.

Method 7: Patience and Time

Patience is truly the key when it comes to calming a scared hedgehog. Remember, your hedgehog might be acting scared due to a new environment, unfamiliar sounds, or simply because it’s not yet used to human interaction.

Your hedgehog won’t become comfortable overnight, and that’s perfectly okay. Be patient and give your hedgehog the time it needs to adjust.

Continuously apply the abovementioned methods: create comfortable habitat, introduce familiar scents, handle gently, provide soothing sounds, manage the lighting, and maintain a balanced diet.

Consistency and patience in these efforts will gradually make a difference.

Don’t be discouraged if progress seems slow. Every hedgehog is unique, and some may take longer to adjust than others. Your consistent and caring efforts will help your hedgehog feel more secure and less scared with time.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Q1: What are signs that a hedgehog is scared?

A scared hedgehog may show several signs, such as curling into a tight ball, hissing, puffing, or biting. These are all defensive behaviors that indicate fear or stress.

If your hedgehog shows these signs, being patient and using the calming methods discussed above is important.

Q2: Why does my hedgehog curl up when I try to pick it up?

Hedgehogs curl up as a natural defense mechanism when they feel threatened or scared. When your hedgehog curls up, it’s a sign of feeling threatened.

This is why it’s important to approach your hedgehog calmly and gently, allowing it to become familiar with your scent and touch over time.

Q3: How long does it take for a hedgehog to get used to a new home?

It can take a few days to several weeks for a hedgehog to adjust to a new environment. Every hedgehog is different, and the adjustment period can vary.

Patience, consistency, and creating a comfortable habitat are crucial during this transition period.

Q4: What do I do if my hedgehog is constantly scared?

If your hedgehog seems constantly scared and the calming methods aren’t helping, consulting a vet or a professional hedgehog breeder might be a good idea.

There might be underlying health issues causing the constant fear, or your hedgehog might need a more specialized approach to handle its fear.


Calming a scared hedgehog is all about understanding its unique needs and providing a safe, comfortable environment that caters to its instincts.

By creating a cozy habitat, introducing your scent, handling gently, using soothing sounds, managing lighting, maintaining a balanced diet, and most importantly, being patient, you can help your hedgehog overcome its fear and stress.

Remember, every hedgehog is unique, and the time it takes for your hedgehog to adjust and feel comfortable can vary. So, keep a positive attitude, be patient, and consistent in your efforts.

Over time, your hedgehog will learn to trust you, feel safer, and become a more relaxed and happy pet.

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