Introduction: How To: Pick Up Your Hedgehog
These are three ways you can pick up your hedgehog!
Step 1: Wake Your Sleepy Hedgie
If Mr. Prickles is far off in dreamworld it may take some TLC to get him out of his house and into your hand. If you have a hedgehog house or another form of shelter, chances are that's where sleeping beauty is. Otherwise she or he might be snuggled under pine shedding or a blanket. Gently lift his house or untangle him from the nest he has made. His quills will probably go up. He might sniffle, snort, or even bark. They also might make fast little popping movements.This can seem daunting to new hedgie owners. Remember what its like for you after a summer of sleeping in when your alarm goes of at 6:00am! Do not be afraid of your popping hedgehog! Now that hedgie is slightly awake there are three ways you can go from here.
Step 2: Pick Up Way #1
Use a towel to pick up your hedgie. This is the least scary and easiest way for new hedgehog owners. With a towel you can gently grab him from the top or scoop him from the side. Use a thicker towel or fold your towel in half for more protection. Quills can easily pierce fabric!
Step 3: Pick Up Way #2
This is called the lift and flip. Its perfect for sleepy hedgehogs as they can stay in their ball shape. First lift your hedgie from above or the side. You can use either your bare hands or a towel. I suggest using a towel because hedgie's quills will be directly on your hand. Gently pick him up from his back like Step 2. Then flip him over so his face is up towards you. Some hedgies might not like this position because they feel vulnerable and will wiggle and flip over onto their bellies. As scary as a wriggling hedgehog might seem, be cautious and don't let them fall by putting one hand on either side of him or her.
Step 4: Pick Up Way #3
Using your bare hands. If you are new to picking up hedgehogs, this may seem scary. But using your hands will let hedgie smell you better which will calm him down quicker. The more your hedgehog smells you the quicker and easier you will bond over time. To pick up your hedgehog with your bare hands, cup your palms on either side of him. It's easier to use two hands at first, though you can advance to just using one. Then, wriggle your fingers or the sides of your hands under him and lift.
Step 5: Tips!
If your hedgie really pops, snarls, or barks at you when you try to pick him up, you may not have bonded with him enough or your hedgehog may be too wary of his environment. All of those self defense tactics are natural for stressed, scared, or new hedgehogs. Here are some things you can do to put your stressed hedgie at ease.
1. Put one of you worn shirts (preferable not one you care about) in his cage. Put it where he is likely to snuggle into it such as his house or a corner. Constantly smelling you will make him bond with you more.
2. Keep him somewhere away from loud noises. You have probably noticed the way his quills go up when he hears something loud. Being in his cage should be relaxing not stressful so put him somewhere quiet.
3. Keep your hedgie away from pets. If you have him in your room, close the door. You may trust your other pets but animals do strange things when they encounter hedgehogs. Your other pet could be injured from hedgie's quills as well.
4. Hedgehogs should not be kept in the same cage. If you have more than one they should be alone unless it is a mother with hoglets or you are in the process of breeding.*
*If you have a female hedgehog, be wary for signs that your hedgehog is pregnant. She may have been mistaken for male and housed with other males or may have bred with one of her brothers. Pregnant moms are less friendly.