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Home > Hedgehogs > Do Hedgehogs Smell Bad? Facts & Tips

Do Hedgehogs Smell Bad? Facts & Tips

Egyptian Long-Eared Hedgehog

Hedgehogs have become popular companion animals. Their sweet faces and waddling gait are hard to match in cuteness. There are many factors one must consider when buying a new pet and one of those is the smell of the animal. Luckily, hedgehogs are pretty odor-free. If you remove any environmental factors that might cause them to smell, you shouldn’t smell your hedgehog at all.

divider-hedgehogThe 6 Ways to Keep Your Hedgehog from Stinking

Your hedgehog shouldn’t smell bad. Some people even find their hedgehogs to smell rather pleasant. If your hedgehog is stinky, something isn’t quite right. Many factors could cause a hedgehog to start smelling a bit funky.

Hedgehog beside the water
Image By: Nomad, Shutterstock

1. Clean Their Habitat

The most common reason for a smelly hedgehog is that their surroundings are unclean. If your hedgehog stinks, it might be a sign that you aren’t cleaning their cage often enough. This is especially true if they have a stink that seems to get worse over time progressively.

Try cleaning their cage more often. If their cage is unclean, they’ll be surrounded by increasing amounts of bodily waste. The smell of waste will stick to them despite their best efforts at keeping clean.

2. Assess Their Diet

Feeding your hedgehog an improper or imbalanced diet can influence how they smell. If you’re on top of cleaning your hedgehog’s cage, but they still smell foul, consider altering their diet to see if that helps.

Additionally, diets too high in fat content can make a hedgehog’s poop smell extra bad. So if you can’t seem to get rid of that stinky smell, see if you can alter their diet.

Hedgehog Eating
Image By: Alexas_Fotos, Pixabay

3. Bathe Your Hedgehog More Often

This may come as a surprise, but hedgehogs need baths! You should bathe your hedgehog roughly every two weeks. Hedgehogs have naturally dry skin, so you don’t want to bathe them too often, or their skin will get dry and crack.

When bathing your hedgehog, you’ll want to use a gentle soap like baby soap, Castille soap, or a mild, unscented handwash to wipe away any dirt. Hedgehogs are good swimmers and love to swim. So, you can make the bath deep enough for your hedgehog to have some fun swimming in.

4. Clean Their Exercise Wheel

The exercise wheel is often one of the hedgehog’s favorite places. They can spend hours running on their wheel easily, and the more they exercise, the more they’ll poop and pee. So, waste can get stuck or caked onto the exercise wheel and leave the whole area smelling gross.

If you’ve cleaned the rest of the cage out, try taking the exercise wheel out and cleaning that off. Better yet, get a second wheel to put in the cage so that you have more leeway with cleaning time. If you don’t have time to clean the wheel, you can take it out and store the dirty one somewhere where it won’t stink, like the garage, until you have time to clean it.

hedgehog pet_Alexas Fotos_Pixabay
Image By: Alexas Fotos_Pixabay

5. Litter Train Your Hedgehog

Some people who found that their hedgehogs were getting smelly decided to litter train their hedgehogs. Reports find that hedgehogs respond well to litter training, and most report that their hedgehogs had picked up the litter training within two weeks.

Litter training your hedgehog can help reduce smells in the cage by concentrating on the area that you need to clean. Litter training will minimize the smell of the cage; some find that litter training eliminates the scent.

6. Take Them to the Vet

A foul odor can be a sign of illness. If your hedgehog and their surroundings are very clean but still smell bad, a trip to the vet to rule out any health issues might be in order. Many infections and infestations can cause a hedgehog to start to smell bad, and veterinarians can help determine if medical intervention is necessary.

Image Credit: martakrecsunne, Pixabay


The 3 Tips for Litter Training Your Hedgehog

Litter training your hedgehog can help reduce smells and clean-up time when cleaning their enclosure. Here’s how you can get started with litter training.

1. Use Paper Litter

Fresh News cat litter is an excellent option for people looking to litter train small animals. It’s dust-free and made of pet-safe paper.

2. Designate a Corner of Your Hedgehog’s Enclosure for Their Litter Box

Make sure that their litter box is far away from their food and water. Many hedgehog parents reported that putting the litter box underneath the hedgehog’s exercise wheel helped their hedgehogs learn where to pee and poop.

3. Use Scent to Train Your Hedgehog Where to Go

Moving soiled and wet bedding from the central part of the cage into the litter box helps identify to your hedgehog that this is where they pee and poop. You’ll want to leave the dirty litter a little longer than usual the first few times to help your hedgehog learn to associate that area as the bathroom by smell.

African Pygmy Hedgehog
Featured Image Credit: szabfer, Pixabay

Other Litter Training Tips

Some pet parents reported lining the whole enclosure with paper pellets helped with litter training their hedgehog for a week. By doing so, they allowed the hedgehog to get used to eliminating on the paper pellets. They also relocated any wet litter or poop they found into the litter box so that the hedgehog would associate that area of litter with going to the bathroom.

After one week, they cleaned out the cage and left the litter in only the litter box helped the hedgehog associate the litter box with going to the bathroom by the feel of the litter and the scents.


What Not to Do If Your Hedgehog Smells

1. Don’t Use Chemical Scents to Try and Mask the Smell

Scented candles and other artificial scents can cause your hedgehog to become stressed and should be avoided when dealing with the problem.

2. Don’t Leave Windows Open

While it might be tempting to leave a window open to air out the smell, you shouldn’t leave the window open with your hedgehog in the room, especially in colder months. Hedgehogs need to be kept in warm temperatures and may become ill or die if their enclosure gets too cold.

Image Credit: martakrecsunne, Pixabay


Hedgehogs are a great pet option for prospective owners who don’t want to have a smelly pet. While some odors will be unavoidable, hedgehogs are generally clean and smell-free unless they’re ill or poorly cared for.

Whether you need to change your hedgehog’s diet or litter train them, there’s plenty of ways to neutralize any unpleasant odors that you come across. Your hedgehog will thank you for doing so!

Featured Image Credit: AmyAlyssa, Shutterstock

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