How to Hold a Hedgehog Safely and Comfortably

holding a hedgehog

In a world where prickly encounters are often avoided, hedgehog enthusiasts embrace the challenge with open arms – quite literally. The tender touch of a human hand gently cradling the small, spiky creature has become the symbol of true love for these passionate hedgehog devotees. But what happens when the harsh reality of quills threatens the essence of connection and the intricate dance between adoration and pain unfolds? This guide answers the question, “How to Hold a Hedgehog?”

Preparing for Hedgehog Interaction

Before you start interacting with your hedgehog, getting to know them and their unique behavior is essential. Hedgehogs respond to their environment and their owner’s actions, so taking time to build trust is crucial for a healthy relationship. Hedgehog owners should be patient, gentle, and consistent when handling new pets.

hedgehog care guide

Handling a Hedgehog: Step-by-Step Guide

Step 1: Prepare the environment

Before handling your hedgehog, make sure its cage or enclosure is clean and secure. A calm, quiet environment will help your hedgehog feel more at ease when you pick them up.

Step 2: Approach your hedgehog slowly

Move slowly and deliberately as you approach your hedgehog’s cage. Quick or sudden movements can startle them and make them feel threatened, which may cause them to huff and puff or pull their spines up in defense.

Step 3: Allow your hedgehog to sniff you

Let your hedgehog sniff and smell your hand before picking them up. This allows them to become familiar with your scent, helping to build trust and reduce their anxiety.

Step 4: Gently scoop up your hedgehog

Using both hands, gently lift your hedgehog pulling one hand under its belly and the other over its back. Apply light but firm pressure with your fingers to secure their spines, ensuring they don’t accidentally poke you. If you’re more comfortable using bare hands, use a soft cloth or towel to pick up your hedgehog.

Step 5: Hold your hedgehog securely

Hold your hedgehog close to your body to provide warmth and security. Support their belly with one hand while using the other to keep their head and spines safely contained.

Step 6: Interact with your hedgehog

Talk to your hedgehog softly and gently stroke its spines or head, always moving in the direction of its spines to avoid injury. Avoid handling your hedgehog’s head for extended periods, as they may become stressed or uncomfortable.

Step 7: Returning your hedgehog to their enclosure

When it’s time to return your hedgehog to its cage, gently lower them into the enclosure and let them walk off your hand. Be patient, as they may not immediately want to let go.

Step 8: Clean up and reward yourself After handling your new hedgehog, always wash your hands thoroughly to maintain proper hygiene. Reward yourself for a well-done job, and enjoy the special bond you’re creating with your new pet.

pet hedgehog care

Can I pick up a wild hedgehog?

Handling a wild hedgehog should only be done if necessary, such as if the animal is injured or in danger. In these cases, it’s crucial to follow the proper steps to ensure the safety of both other pets, the hedgehog and yourself.

How to Pick Up a Wild Hedgehog

  1. Observe from a distance: Before attempting to pick up a wild hedgehog, observe it from a safe distance. Make sure it’s not injured or in distress. If it is, contact your local wildlife rescue center for advice.
  2. Approach cautiously: Approach the hedgehog slowly and calmly, without sudden movements or loud noises that might startle it. Remember that hedgehogs are nocturnal so they might be more active and alert during the night.
  3. Wear gloves: Wear thick gardening or work gloves before picking them up to protect your hands from the hedgehog’s sharp spines. Avoid using thin gloves or bare hands, as you might get pricked.
  4. Prepare a container: Have a suitable container, such as a card-board box or a pet carrier, lined with a soft towel or newspaper. This will provide a safe and comfortable space for the hedgehog while you transport it.
  5. Scoop technique: Gently place your gloved hands on either side of the grumpy hedgehog, with your fingers under its belly and your thumbs on its back. Slowly lift the hedgehog, allowing it to curl into a ball in between the palms of your good hands. Support its weight evenly to avoid causing discomfort.
  6. Handle with care: Hold the hedgehog firmly but gently without applying too much pressure. Be mindful of its spines, and ensure it remains curled up in a ball to protect itself.
  7. Place in the container: Carefully place the hedgehog in the prepared container and cover it with a towel or another breathable material to create a dark and cozy environment. Make sure the container is secure but also well-ventilated.
  8. Avoid unnecessary handling: Minimize handling to reduce stress on the hedgehog. Remember that wild animals can become stressed and frightened when handled by humans, so only pick up a wild hedgehog if necessary.
  9. Monitor the hedgehog: Keep an eye on the hedgehog’s behavior and condition. Contact a wildlife rescue center for advice and assistance if it shows signs of distress, illness, or injury.
  10. Release safely: If you need to pick up the hedgehog for a specific reason (e.g., to move it out of harm’s way), release it back into the wild ASAP. Choose a safe, suitable location away from roads and potential predators, and gently place the hedgehog on the ground, allowing it to uncurl and scurry away.

Remember, the best way for most people to appreciate and help wild hedgehogs is by observing them from a distance and creating a hedgehog-friendly environment in your garden or local green spaces.

Hedgehog Handling Do’s and Don’ts


  • Approach your hedgehog slowly and calmly
  • Allow them to become familiar with your scent
  • Support their belly and keep their spines contained when holding them
  • Interact gently and speak softly


  • Handle your hedgehog for extended periods
  • Use excessive force or pressure when picking them up
  • Hold them upside down or by their spines
  • Attempt to handle a grumpy or aggressive hedgehog without proper precautions

Conclusion Handling a hedgehog, whether your pet or a wild animal in need, requires patience, care, and proper technique. Following these steps outlined in this post can ensure a safe and positive experience for you and the hedgehog. Always respect the other animal being’s boundaries and be mindful of their comfort and well-being.

holding a hedgehhog


Do hedgehogs like to be held?

Hedgehogs have individual personalities and preferences, so some may tolerate or enjoy being held, while others may not. Generally, hedgehogs are not as friendly as other pets, and they may need time to build trust and bonds with their human caregivers. Regular, gentle handling can help hedgehogs become more comfortable with human interaction. It’s essential to pay attention to their body language and stress signals to determine their comfort level when being held. Remember that each hedgehog’s trust is different, and patience is crucial when building a positive relationship with your prickly pet.

How do you hold a hedgehog without getting poked?

To hold a hedgehog without getting poked, approach it calmly and gently scoop it up from underneath, supporting its body and legs. Hold the hedgehog with its belly facing down and ensure its legs and feet are supported. When stroking the hedgehog’s belly and its quills, always move your fingers in the direction they grow, from head to tail. Wearing thick gloves can also provide extra protection from the sharp quills. Remember to handle the hedgehog only when necessary, and be mindful of its body language to ensure its comfort and safety.

Can you hold a hedgehog without getting hurt?

You can hold a hedgehog without getting hurt if you gently handle them. When picking up a hedgehog, it’s essential to approach it slowly and calmly, allowing them to become familiar with your presence. Scoop them up from underneath below, supporting their body and legs, and hold them with their belly facing down. Ensure to avoid grabbing or squeezing them, as this can cause them to curl up or extend their quills, which may result in injury. Practicing patience and proper handling techniques can minimize the risk of getting hurt while holding a both male and female hedgehog.

Are hedgehogs easy to hold?

Hedgehogs can be challenging to hold, especially for inexperienced handlers, due to their spiky quills. However, with proper handling techniques and patience, it is possible to hold them without causing discomfort to the normal African pygmy hedgehog or the person. It is important to approach them calmly, scoop them up gently from beneath, and support their body and legs while holding them. Over time, as trust builds between the hedgehog’s spines and the handler, they may become more comfortable and easier to hold.


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