How To Bond With Your Hedgehog
It might seem like your hedgehog hates you, if it pops and hisses and won’t come out of its ball. Hedgehogs have not been domesticated long, so they tend to be very afraid and timid until they get to know you. You can develop a close bond with your hedgie by making them feel safe and cared for. Follow these tips below and your hedgehog is sure to fall in love with you in no time!
Make them feel protected.
Hedgehogs are prey animals, so they do not like feeling 'exposed.' Provide them with a soft, warm place to hide every time you snuggle. A soft towel or fleece blanket works well, as do snuggle sacks! Make sure it is big enough for them to move around in, but not so big that they feel lost.
Do not use gloves to pick them up.
It is important your hedgehog gets used to your hands so they do not feel threatened when you pick them up. You will get used to their quills the more you handle them. When a hedgehog is relaxed, their quills lay flat and they are easy to hold without getting poked!
Get them used to your smell.
Handle your hedgehog often, so they get used to your natural scent. Avoid perfumes or scented soap. Drape a recently worn t-shirt over their cage. This will get the hedgehog used to your smell quickly. You can move the t-shirt into their cage so they can sleep with it and associate your smell with feelings of home and safety.
Comfort them with your voice.
Talk to them softly and calmly and use their name frequently. Try to avoid frightening or sudden noises, and do not play loud music around your hedgehog as this will stress them out.
Give them treats.
The best way to start building trust is during meal times. You can try enticing your hedgehog out with food, or offering them a treat when they do come out to explore. Once they associate you with something positive (tasty food!), they will be more likely to come out on their own. Start by holding your hand open with treats in it, and let the hedgehog come to you. Have the treats in the palm of your hand, as you don't want them to bite your fingers by mistake!
Set aside daily bonding time.
Handling your hedgehog frequently will help get them used to you and become more comfortable around you. This will be crucial when you need to bathe them, trim their nails or visit the veterinarian. Do not go long periods of time without handling your hedgehog. A happy hedgehog should be handled a minimum of 30 minutes a day! This can be broken up into small blocks of time throughout the day - it doesn't need to all be done at once.
Be patient with them and they will slowly come around. With time and patience, you can develop a strong bond with your hedgehog. Once they get to know you, they can be very loving and affectionate pets!
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