How to Gently Pick Up Your Hedgehog Without Fear

Pick Up a Hedgehog

Hedgehogs have become increasingly popular as pets due to their unique appearance and curious nature. However, these adorable creatures require specific handling techniques to ensure their safety and comfort. This article provides an in-depth look at the proper ways to pick up a hedgehog, incorporating expert advice and proven methods to foster a positive relationship between you and your prickly friend.

Understanding Hedgehogs

Physical Characteristics: Hedgehogs are small mammals distinguished by their spines, which are sharp but not barbed, allowing for safe handling when done correctly. They have a soft belly and can curl into a ball when frightened.

Behavior and Temperament: Hedgehogs are nocturnal, so they are most active at night. They can exhibit a range of behaviors from curiosity to cautiousness, and understanding these can greatly improve the handling experience. They may puff or hiss as a defense mechanism, which is normal and should not be interpreted as aggression.

Preparing to Pick Up a Hedgehog

The Importance of Hygiene: It’s crucial to wash your hands before and after handling to protect both you and your hedgehog from potential bacteria.

Creating a Calm Environment: Ensure the area is quiet and approach your hedgehog calmly to avoid startling it, as they are sensitive to loud sounds and sudden movements.

Getting the Hedgehog Accustomed to Your Scent: Place a piece of clothing or fabric with your scent in their cage to help them become familiar with you, making handling easier.

The Safe Handling Method

Approaching the Hedgehog: Approach slowly and let them become aware of you to reduce stress.

The Scoop Method: Place your hands on either side of the hedgehog, scooping them up from underneath to lift them. This method supports their body weight and is comfortable for the hedgehog.

Alternative Methods: If you’re uncomfortable using your hands directly, you can use a towel or thick fabric to gently scoop up the hedgehog. This can also be helpful for hedgehogs that are not yet accustomed to being handled.

Holding Securely but Gently: Keep a firm, yet gentle grip, ensuring not to squeeze. Tilt your hands slightly downward to encourage the hedgehog to uncurl and feel secure.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

  • Forcing the Hedgehog to Uncurl: Allow them to uncurl on their own terms; never force them open.
  • Picking Up by the Quills: This is uncomfortable for the hedgehog and can cause them distress.
  • Overhandling: Be mindful of your hedgehog’s mood and give them space as needed, especially if they seem uncomfortable or stressed.

Bonding with Your Hedgehog Through Handling

Bonding with your hedgehog involves patience and understanding. Regular, gentle handling can significantly improve your relationship, but it’s important to read their signals and respect their needs. Let them adjust to handling at their own pace, and use bedding or soft materials to assist in picking them up if they seem wary.


Properly picking up and handling a hedgehog is essential for their well-being and your mutual enjoyment. By following the safe handling methods, such as the scoop technique, and understanding hedgehog behavior, you can ensure a rewarding experience for both you and your hedgehog. Remember, handling should always be gentle, patient, and respectful of the hedgehog’s comfort and boundaries.

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