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Home > Hedgehogs > Do Hedgehogs Have Fleas? The Answer May Surprise You

Do Hedgehogs Have Fleas? The Answer May Surprise You

Cute Hedgehog

Hedgehogs are popular animals in the United States, and we get a lot of questions about them from potential owners. One of the questions we get most frequently is if hedgehogs can get fleas. The short answer is yes. Hedgehogs can have fleas.

Unfortunately, fleas are a very common problem for hedgehogs, but the good news is that only a specific flea lives on them, and it is different than the one you commonly find on cats and dogs. If you would like to learn more about the types of fleas that affect hedgehogs before you purchase one, keep reading while we take a closer look.


What Are Hedgehog Fleas?

Hedgehog fleas are a small parasite with the scientific name Archaeopsylla erinacei. They have evolved specifically to live on the hedgehog, though you can sometimes find them in small numbers on other animals. The reproductive cycle of these fleas is closely related to the reproductive cycle of the hedgehog as they lay their eggs in the host’s nesting space, and they hatch to eat the remains of the birthing before they turn into full-grown fleas that live on the host. In the wild, almost all hedgehogs have these fleas, and they average about 100 per body, but some suffering animals can have many times that.

Where Do Hedgehog Fleas Live?

Luckily for us, hedgehog fleas do not live in the United States. You will only find these fleas in western and northern Europe, the Czech Republic, Croatia, Greece, North Africa, and others.

Will Hedgehog Fleas Live on My Cat and Dog?

No. Though you may find a few hedgehog fleas on your cat or dog if they are close to an affected hedgehog, they are not specialized to live there and will quickly jump off in search of a hedgehog, so there is no danger to your pets.

Will My Pet Hedgehog Catch Fleas?

It’s not very likely that your pet hedgehog will catch fleas, especially if you live in the United States. While almost all wild hedgehogs have fleas, most pets are captive-bred and will not contact the parasites. Even in areas where fleas are native, it’s unlikely that they will penetrate your home to afflict your hedgehog.

a cute hedgehog
Image by: Amaya Eguizábal, Pixabay

How Do I Get Rid of Fleas on My Hedgehog?

Most flea removal products and shampoos that we would use for cats and dogs will work on hamster fleas as well. However, we highly recommend taking your pet to the vet to ensure there are no harmful ingredients in the product you intend to use.

What Other Parasites Might Afflict My Hedgehog?

Unfortunately, a few other parasites might give your hedgehog trouble, including the hedgehog tick, another specialized animal that feeds on the hedgehog. Your pet might also have to face internal parasites like worms that can affect the digestive system and the heart. Ringworm is not a parasite but a type of skin fungus that affects many hedgehogs, so you will also need to keep an eye out for that.



While fleas are very common on wild hedgehogs, there is almost no risk you will find them on your pet, especially if you live in the United States. Most hedgehogs you can purchase are captive-bred by breeders inside the country, where hedgehog fleas are not native. Even if you lived in the European countries where they are native, your pet would be unlikely to contract the fleas because they don’t live on dogs or cats and won’t be able to find their way into your home. However, if you catch a hedgehog in the wild, it will almost certainly be infested with fleas.

Featured Image Credit: amayaeguizabal, Pixabay

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