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Are Hedgehogs Nocturnal? And Can They See in the Dark?

Hedgehog in the dark

Hedgehogs are often fun and playful pets that bring a lot of laughter to their owners. However, these lovable creatures are naturally nocturnal animals. Therefore, their day usually starts around the time you sit down for dinner.

Many hedgehog owners can attest to hearing their hedgehogs playing and scuttling around in their cages in the middle of the night. Since they’re nocturnal animals, many people assume that hedgehogs can see at night. However, scientists still debate this topic, so it’s not completely clear if hedgehogs have sufficient night vision. 

Keep reading for more important information that every hedgehog owner should know about the hedgehog’s nocturnal lifestyle and their vision and ability to see in the dark.

divider-hedgehogThe Hedgehog’s Nocturnal Activity

It’s not common to see hedgehogs awake during the day. In the wild, hedgehogs usually forage and look for food during the night when it’s difficult for their natural predators to see them. This natural characteristic carries over to domesticated hedgehogs. Even though they don’t have to forage and hunt for food, they’re still active at night.

Egyptian Long-Eared Hedgehog
Image Credit: AmyAlyssa, Shutterstock

What Does a Hedgehog Do at Night?

A pet hedgehog often wakes up to start searching for food. Therefore, it’s important to have fresh food available around the time a hedgehog wakes up. Hedgehogs are insectivores and enjoy munching on a variety of insects.

You can certainly feed a pet hedgehog different insects such as mealworms, earthworms, and crickets. However, there’s also nutritional hedgehog feed available. Some produce is toxic to hedgehogs, but these animals can usually enjoy many different kinds of fruits and vegetables as treats.

Here’s a non-exhaustive list of fruits and vegetables that hedgehogs can enjoy as treats:
  • Apples
  • Berries
  • Melons
  • Green beans
  • Leafy greens
  • Cucumbers

Hedgehogs will also have a lot of energy to burn after they wake up. They love to explore, especially in tunnels and underground burrows. You can mimic these natural habitats in a couple of ways.

One option is to buy tunnels and tubes. You can also make your own mazes with cardboard boxes.

Hedgehogs also like to dig around, so they can benefit from having a hideout or nest box filled with shavings that they can burrow under. They can also enjoy a fun game of finding treats inside these spaces.

Since hedgehogs are very active animals, they might also benefit from having an exercise wheel in their cages.

Are Hedgehogs Loud at Night?

In short, hedgehogs are fairly loud at night. If a hedgehog is in a cage, you’ll most likely hear rattling as the hedgehog moves around. You might also hear rustling noises if there are any type of shavings in the cage. Also, no matter how quiet exercise wheels can be, you’ll still hear some noise from them.

Hedgehogs also make various kinds of noises. When they’re happy and healthy, you can hear them grunting and snuffling as they sniff around to explore and look for food. They also tend to be noisy eaters, so you’ll hear them chomping during mealtimes.

hedgehog-pixabay
Image Credit: kerttu, Pixabay

Can Hedgehogs Be Awake During the Day?

Hedgehogs can usually sleep for 18 hours a day, so once they’re finished with their nighttime antics, they’ll be sleeping for a long time. A healthy hedgehog that gets an adequate amount of exercise will sleep through the day and wake up in the evening. However, there are some instances where a hedgehog might wake up during the daytime.

First, hedgehogs might have their sleep disrupted when there’s too much bright light around their enclosure. Hedgehogs sleep in dark places and usually burrow underground to avoid sunlight. Hedgehog owners should first check if their pet’s enclosure is in a bright location and if the hedgehog has enough spaces in the enclosure to hide themselves.

Hedgehogs will also wake up if there’s too much noise. They’re also solitary creatures, so they like to be alone. Therefore, their cages should be in a location that’s away from loud noises and action. They’ll fare better in a frequently vacant guest bedroom rather than an active living room.

Temperature also affects a hedgehog’s sleep cycle. They’ll have difficulty sleeping if the temperature is too high or too cold. Hedgehogs do best in a temperature range of 74°F-76°F.

Lastly, it’s common for hedgehogs to wake up if they’re hungry. Usually, they’ll wake up and eat some food or drink some water and go back to sleep. Therefore, a couple of dry treats should be in their enclosure in case they want their own version of a “midnight snack.”

hedgehog
Image Credit: Alexas_Fotos, Pixabay

Can Hedgehogs See in the Dark?

Hedgehogs having night vision is a topic that’s still up for debate because there’s a need for further research and evidence for this matter. Some people believe that hedgehogs can see better at night, while others believe that they have just as poor vision during the night as they do during the day.

Since hedgehogs are nocturnal animals, their eyesight isn’t too much of an issue. They do a great job of hunting and detecting insects with their ears and nose, so they don’t need to rely on their eyes to survive.

Hedgehogs also naturally live in areas with tall wild grass. They usually weave around on the base of the grass, so they can’t rely so much on eyesight since it’s obstructed in such an environment.

Do Hedgehogs Have Good Eyesight?

One proven fact is that hedgehogs have poor eyesight. They can make out outlines of objects and vague silhouettes. Therefore, they rely on their hearing and sense of smell more than their vision.

Hedgehogs are also partially colorblind, so they can’t see as many colors as humans are capable of seeing. They mostly see brown and cream colors and can also see some shades of yellow and blue.

Related Read: 35 Fascinating & Fun Hedgehog Facts You Never Knew

little-hedgehog-pixabay
Image Credit: martakrecsunne, Pixabay

divider-hedgehogFinal Thoughts

Hedgehogs can be great pets if their sleep cycles are compatible with their owners’ lifestyles. They’re very active creatures when they’re awake, and they can provide a lot of evening entertainment and share a lot of fun moments with their owners.

These pets also don’t have great eyesight, but this hasn’t stopped them from thriving and living playful lives. When their care needs are met, they can be enjoyable pets that their owners can look forward to playing with once they wake up from a good day’s rest.

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Featured Image Credit: Daniel Rodriguez Garriga, Shutterstock

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