Handling & Grooming
Hedgehogs handling and grooming are very important for your pet given the fact that the animals themselves are fastidious groomers. This is seen by the fact they regularly use saliva to anoint their quills. Although the animals can bathe by themselves, it is sometimes important to groom them especially when they get dirty and start stinking.
This includes simple things like picking your pet up. While picking him up, make sure you do so by scooping him gently from the belly. It is important that you avoid the quills and only feel the fur. Use your one hand to hold him and the other one to support his back.
Your pet may roll up to form something like a ball. Just relax and give it time. If agitated, he will eventually calm down and even start sniffing and exploring you.
Out of fear of being pricked by a hedgehog’s quills, some people wear gloves when handling these animals. However, the truth is that, deadly as the quills may appear, they can’t harm you. It is important to get the animal to be used to your smell, and hence become comfortable when around you.
Although hedgehogs don’t crave attention, they should still be caressed and loved. There are those that will not mind handling at all while others are indifferent and others abhor being handled. Study your companion and know what he or she likes.
Naturally, hedgehogs are very clean animals. Therefore, they will work hard so that they remain clean. If you can manage to keep a tidy cage for the animal, you will hardly need grooming it.
There are occasions when bedding or dirt becomes entrapped in the animal’s quills. Also, the animal could just be dirty and therefore requires bathing. Things you need are toothbrush, towel and a sink. Although you need not necessarily use shampoo, you could just use some drops of shampoo for cats should it be needed.
Add roughly an inch of warm water to your sink. Make sure that the water level in the sink is not so deep as to drown it. Also, double-check the temperature of water to make sure that it is not too hot. Parts such as eyes, face and ears should not be wet.
Using a toothbrush, gently scrub the quills from front moving backwards. Use your hands to wash its underbelly. Drain the sink and refill it with clean warm water that you should now use to rinse the pet.
After bathing it, remove it from the sink and put it in the towel. Dry it gently while removing all the water from its fur. In case your towel becomes too damp, you may need to use a second towel. Only return your pet to its cage after completely drying it.
A hedgehogs handling and grooming also include caring for its nails. The nails may become very long and sharp if not trimmed.
Make sure you don’t clip the nails too deep when cutting them. Cutting the quills may lead to the pink area of the nail being filled up with blood. In case there is any accidental bleeding, you can always use styptic pencil, corn starch or floor to curb the bleeding.
Hedgehogs are naturally clean animals. Therefore, you should help them to get clean. The above are the basics when it comes to a hedgehogs handling and grooming.