7 Reasons Your Pet Hedgehog Is Scared [How to Comfort It]


Welcome to the world of hedgehogs, a curious universe filled with quills, nocturnal antics, and some rather adorable snuffling sounds. But there’s more to these prickly little creatures than meets the eye.

Sometimes, you might wonder why my hedgehog is so scared?

Understanding the causes and remedies for your hedgehog’s fear will make a world of difference in your relationship. Stay tuned as we delve into the reasons and solutions for your hedgehog’s scared behavior.

Quick Answer

So, why is my hedgehog so scared?

Hedgehogs are naturally shy creatures and can be scared for various reasons.

These can include a new environment, improper handling, loud noises, unfamiliar smells, sudden temperature changes, an inappropriate diet, or even illness.

To help your hedgehog feel more at ease, ensure you handle them gently, provide a quiet and stable environment, introduce new smells slowly, maintain a steady temperature in their habitat, give them a balanced diet, and regularly check on their health.

Understanding Hedgehog Behavior

Hedgehog’s Natural Instincts

Firstly, it’s essential to know that hedgehogs are naturally timid creatures. In the wild, they rely on their sharp quills and ability to curl up into a ball for protection from predators.

This is a behavior they might retain even in a safe home environment. When your hedgehog acts scared, they’re merely responding to a perceived threat, real or not.

Your Hedgehog’s Unique Personality

Just like us humans, every hedgehog is unique. Some might be more curious and adventurous, while others might be naturally more anxious or skittish.

Recognizing and respecting your hedgehog’s individual personality will help you better understand their fear response and work towards making them feel more comfortable.

Why Your Hedgehog Might Be Scared

Here are the seven (7) reasons why;

1. New Environment

Just as humans may feel anxious when we move into a new home, hedgehogs can also become frightened in new environments. It’s a big change for them, and they might need time to get comfortable with their new surroundings.

The smells, sounds, and sights are different and can be overwhelming for a small hedgehog.

2. Improper Handling

Hedgehogs are delicate creatures, and improper handling can easily make them feel threatened. Quick, sudden movements, or picking them up when they’re not expecting it, can cause fear.

Always approach your hedgehog slowly and calmly, allowing them to get used to your presence and scent.

3. Loud Noises or Vibrations

Hedgehogs have keen hearing, and loud sounds or vibrations can be incredibly startling. Things like loud music, yelling, or even the rumbling of a washing machine can induce fear.

4. Unfamiliar Smells

Hedgehogs rely heavily on their sense of smell. New scents can confuse or frighten them. This could include anything from a new type of food to the scent of another animal in the house, like a cat.

It’s important to introduce new smells gradually.

5. Sudden Changes in Temperature

Hedgehogs are sensitive to temperature changes. If it gets too cold, they could attempt to go into hibernation, which can be dangerous for domestic hedgehogs. On the other hand, an environment that’s too warm can also cause distress.

6. Inappropriate Diet

A poor diet can make your hedgehog feel unwell, leading to fear-like behavior. Always ensure your hedgehog’s diet is balanced and nutritious.

7. Illness or Pain

Just like any other pet, a sick hedgehog may display fear-like behavior. If you notice that your hedgehog’s fear coincides with other symptoms, such as loss of appetite or unusual behavior, it might be time to visit the vet.

Proven Ways to Comfort Your Hedgehog

Proper Handling Techniques

Understanding how to handle your hedgehog properly can significantly reduce their fear. Here’s how to approach your hedgehog slowly and calmly, let them sniff your hand to recognize your scent, then scoop them up from underneath.

Avoid sudden movements or loud noises, which can startle them.

Creating a Comfortable Habitat

A comfortable, safe, and familiar environment can reduce your hedgehog’s fear. Keep their habitat quiet, away from loud noises or vibrations.

Maintain a consistent temperature between 72 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit (22 to 27 degrees Celsius). Offer them a safe hiding place and ensure their habitat is big enough to explore.

Appropriate Diet and Exercise

Feeding your hedgehog a balanced and nutritious diet will keep them healthy and reduce stress. Exercise is equally important. Consider providing a running wheel for your hedgehog for their active hours during the night.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

How do I make my hedgehog not scared?

Gradually acclimatize your hedgehog to their new environment and to your presence. Approach them slowly and calmly, allow them to sniff your hand, and avoid sudden movements.

Maintain a comfortable habitat for them and ensure they have a balanced diet. Patience is key.

How do you bond with a scared hedgehog?

Bonding with a scared hedgehog involves time, patience, and consistent interaction. Start by allowing your hedgehog to get used to your scent. Spend time near their cage, talking softly to them.

Once they seem comfortable with your presence, try gentle handling.

How do you deal with a nervous hedgehog?

If your hedgehog is acting nervous, try to identify the cause. Are there loud noises or unfamiliar smells? Have there been changes in their environment? Identifying the trigger can help you to address it.

Maintaining a consistent and calm environment is essential. Regular, gentle handling can also help to build trust.


There you have it – a comprehensive guide to understanding and addressing your hedgehog’s fear. Remember, patience and understanding are critical in making your hedgehog feel safe and secure.

Your hedgehog’s comfort is a priority, and it’s essential to remember that each hedgehog is unique. What works for one might not work for another.

You know your hedgehog best, so trust your instincts regarding their well-being.

Keep in mind that a scared hedgehog is not an unhappy hedgehog. They’re merely exhibiting natural survival instincts. With time, patience, and a lot of love, you can help your hedgehog become more comfortable and less scared.

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