11 Ways to Stop a Hedgehog from Curling Up [Un-Curl]


If you’re here, you probably have an adorable little hedgehog that loves to curl up into a spiky ball. You might be wondering, how to stop a hedgehog from curling up?

Well, you’re in the right place. Hedgehogs curl up for various reasons, such as fear or discomfort. It’s a natural defensive behavior for these petite creatures.

However, constant curling up can indicate that your pet hedgehog isn’t feeling secure or comfortable in its environment.

Quick Answer: How to Stop a Hedgehog from Curling Up

Firstly, understanding your hedgehog’s behavior is crucial. Curling up is their instinctive response to perceived threats. To get your hedgehog to stop curling up, you need to ensure they feel safe and comfortable in their environment.

The more your hedgehog trusts you, the less likely it is to curl up when you’re around.

Here are the most unique and effective methods:

  • Creating a Comfortable Environment: Provide a warm, quiet, and calm space for your hedgehog. This reduces stress and makes them feel secure.
  • Using a Soft Blanket Technique: Cover your hedgehog with a soft, cozy blanket. The warmth and soft texture will help them uncurl.
  • Gentle Massage: Lightly massaging your hedgehog’s back can encourage it to uncurl.

Why Do Hedgehogs Curl Up?

To unravel the best ways to uncurl a hedgehog, we first need to understand why hedgehogs curl up. This instinctual behavior is part of their defense mechanism.

In the wild, a hedgehog’s spiky exterior is its main form of protection against predators. So, when they feel threatened or scared, they roll into a tight ball, making it hard for predators to get to their soft underbelly.

In a domestic setting, what does it mean if a hedgehog is curled up?

It may indicate that your hedgehog is feeling insecure, scared, or uncomfortable. This could be due to various factors like an unfamiliar environment, new people, sudden movements, or loud noises.

How To Stop a Hedgehog from Curling Up

Here are the eleven (11) ways you can use to uncurl a hedgehog;

1. Creating a Comfortable Environment

The first and perhaps most important step to prevent your hedgehog from excessive curling up is creating a comfortable and secure environment.

A warm, quiet, and calming space can do wonders for their comfort level.

Here’s how you can create a hedgehog-friendly environment:

  • Temperature: Hedgehogs prefer a warm environment. Keep the temperature in their habitat between 72°F to 80°F (22°C to 27°C) to prevent them from attempting to hibernate, which is dangerous for pet hedgehogs.
  • Quietness: Hedgehogs have sensitive hearing. Loud noises can startle them, making them curl up. Try to keep the noise level down in the room where their habitat is located.
  • Enclosed Space: A proper enclosure with enough space to move around is essential. Remember, hedgehogs love to explore!

2. Using a Soft Blanket Technique

If you’ve created a comfortable environment for your hedgehog but it still curls up, don’t worry. The next strategy can help you out – the Soft Blanket Technique. It’s quite simple and uses a soft, cozy blanket.

Here’s how to do it:

  • Wrap your hedgehog gently in a small, soft blanket. This can help simulate the warm and cozy environment of a burrow.
  • Hold the blanket-wrapped hedgehog gently in your hands. The warmth from your hands can help comfort them, and they will start associating your scent with safety.

This technique serves two purposes – it provides your hedgehog warmth and comfort and helps them get accustomed to your scent. Remember, hedgehog handling should always be done with utmost care and gentleness.

3. Gentle Massage

Another effective way to stop your hedgehog from curling up is by gently massage it. Like most creatures, hedgehogs can enjoy the soothing effects of a soft massage.

This action can be quite relaxing and help your pet uncurl.

Here’s how to give your hedgehog a gentle massage:

  • Start by placing your hedgehog on your lap or on a soft surface.
  • Then, using your fingers, gently stroke its back in a circular motion.

The massage shouldn’t last for more than a few minutes at a time. You can repeat this several times a day, though. With time, your hedgehog will associate the massage and your touch with feelings of comfort and relaxation, which will help it uncurl more frequently.

4. Familiarize Them with Your Scent

Hedgehogs rely on their sense of smell to navigate their surroundings, recognize their owners, and feel safe.

Therefore, familiarizing your hedgehog with your scent can make it feel comfortable around you, ultimately reducing the frequency of them curling up.

Here’s how to familiarize your hedgehog with your scent:

  • Place a piece of fabric or clothing that carries your scent in their enclosure. This could be a soft cloth, a worn t-shirt, or a small blanket.
  • Handle them regularly. The more you handle your hedgehog, the more accustomed they’ll become to your scent.

Remember, it’s important to make these interactions positive. Handle your hedgehog gently, avoid sudden movements, and decrease noise levels.

5. Regular Handling

Continuing from the previous point, regular handling is crucial in helping your hedgehog feel comfortable around you, thereby reducing the frequency of curling up.

It’s about creating a routine and familiarizing your hedgehog with your presence and touch.

Here’s how to handle your hedgehog properly:

  • Always approach them slowly and calmly. Remember, sudden movements can scare them.
  • When picking them up, try to scoop them from below rather than grabbing them from above. The latter could be perceived as a threat, causing them to curl up.
  • Make sure your hands are warm. Cold hands can be uncomfortable for a hedgehog and can cause them to curl up.

The more your hedgehog gets used to your touch and presence, the less likely it will curl up when you’re around. Remember to be patient and give your hedgehog time to adjust.

6. Offering Treats

Incorporating treats into your hedgehog’s interaction routine can be a fantastic way to make them feel more at ease. Treats are an excellent positive reinforcement, encouraging your hedgehog to uncurl and engage with you.

Here’s how you can use treats effectively:

  • Offer a treat to your hedgehog when it uncurls during your interaction. This can help create a positive association between uncurling and getting a yummy reward.
  • Remember, treats should be healthy and suitable for hedgehogs. Mealworms, crickets, and certain fruits like apples and bananas are great options.

7. Using Familiar Sounds

The power of familiar sounds is often overlooked when making a pet hedgehog uncurl. Hedgehogs have sensitive hearing, and familiar sounds can provide security and comfort, helping them relax and uncurl.

Here’s how you can incorporate familiar sounds:

  • Play some soft, calming music at a low volume. Over time, your hedgehog may start associating these sounds with a safe and secure environment.
  • Talk to your hedgehog in a soft, soothing voice. Even if they don’t understand the words, the tone and rhythm of your voice can have a calming effect.

8. Limiting Exposure to Potential Threats

Hedgehogs curl up as a defense mechanism when they sense danger. Therefore, if your hedgehog is often curled up, it might constantly feel threatened.

As such, limiting their exposure to potential threats can greatly help reduce this behavior.

Here’s how you can make your hedgehog feel safer:

  • Keep other pets away: If you have other pets like dogs or cats, your hedgehog might perceive them as threats. You can alleviate this by keeping your hedgehog’s enclosure in a pet-free zone.
  • Maintain a quiet environment: Loud noises can be distressing for hedgehogs, so try to keep the noise levels down, especially when awake at night.

9. Maintaining a Consistent Schedule

Keeping a consistent schedule is another useful method to prevent your hedgehog from constantly curling up. Hedgehogs are creatures of habit, and they appreciate routine.

Therefore, try to feed, play, and handle your hedgehog around the same times each day.

Here’s why a consistent schedule can help:

  • Predictability: If your hedgehog knows when to expect food, playtime, and cuddles, they’ll be less likely to feel startled or threatened, reducing their need to curl up.
  • Structure: A consistent routine provides a sense of structure and stability, which can make your hedgehog feel more secure in their environment.

10. Providing a Safe Space

Providing a safe space for your hedgehog where they can retreat to when feeling threatened is crucial. This space can be a small box, a hideaway, or even a tunnel in their enclosure.

Having such a place will give your hedgehog a sense of security and control, which can significantly help reduce their urge to curl up.

Here are some tips to provide a safe space:

  • Choose a dark and enclosed hideaway, as hedgehogs naturally prefer such spaces.
  • The safe space should be large enough for your hedgehog to fit in comfortably, but small enough to make them feel secure.
  • You can add bedding or a small blanket inside for extra comfort.

11. Consulting a Veterinarian

Last but certainly not least, if your hedgehog continues to curl up excessively despite your best efforts, it might be time to consult a vet.

Prolonged curling can sometimes indicate health issues or distress that aren’t immediately obvious.

Here’s why seeking a vet’s advice can be beneficial:

  • Expert insight: A vet can conduct a thorough health check to rule out any possible health conditions causing your hedgehog to curl up.
  • Tailored advice: Based on the health check and their understanding of hedgehogs, a vet can provide specific guidance and recommendations tailored to your hedgehog’s needs.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Q1: Can you uncurl a hedgehog?

A1: It’s best not to force a hedgehog to uncurl as it might cause stress or injury. Instead, try the methods mentioned in this article, such as creating a comfortable environment, regular handling, using treats, and more.

These methods aim to help your hedgehog feel more comfortable and secure, which will encourage them to uncurl naturally.

Q2: What does it mean if a hedgehog is curled up?

A2: A hedgehog curls up as a defense mechanism when it feels threatened or scared. This behavior is a natural instinct designed to protect them from predators.

If your hedgehog is frequently curled up, it might be feeling stressed or uncomfortable, and it’s crucial to address these issues.

Q3: How do you relax a hedgehog?

A3: Relaxing a hedgehog involves creating a comfortable environment, handling them regularly, providing treats, and maintaining a consistent schedule.

It’s all about making them feel safe, secure, and loved. Remember, every hedgehog is different, and what works for one might not work for another.

Q4: Do hedgehogs curl up when scared?

A4: Hedgehogs curl up into a ball when they’re scared. This is a natural defense mechanism that helps protect them from potential threats.

If your hedgehog is frequently curling up, try to identify any potential stressors in their environment and address them.


Getting a hedgehog to stop curling up can be a bit of a challenge, but with the right methods and a lot of patience, it is achievable. Remember, your hedgehog’s comfort should always be your top priority.

Make sure they feel safe, secure, and loved, and over time, they should start to feel more at ease and uncurl more frequently.

Whether it’s creating a comfortable environment, handling them regularly, providing treats, using familiar sounds, or maintaining a consistent schedule, each method aims to help your hedgehog feel more comfortable.

And if all else fails, don’t hesitate to consult a vet for professional advice.

Always remember that each hedgehog is unique and what works for one may not necessarily work for another. So, try different methods and find what works best for your little prickly friend.

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