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Home > Hedgehogs > How to Bathe a Hedgehog: 5 Simple Steps

How to Bathe a Hedgehog: 5 Simple Steps

hedgehog in a towel

Hedgehogs are fun, exotic pets that will endear themselves to you quickly with their cute appearance and energetic manner. They aren’t the best choice for beginners since it takes a while to gain their trust just to pick them up, let alone bathe them. That is your essential first step before you even start drawing a bath.


Before You Begin

The thing you must do before you even think about how to bathe a hedgehog is to get this animal used to being handled. That’s not a fast or easy process. You must remember that it is a prey species. Therefore, it is naturally wary of anything new in its routine, including getting a bath. You’ll want to make it a positive experience to make the second time less stressful for you and your pet.

We strongly urge you not to give your hedgehog a bath until you’ve completed this vital hurdle. Remember that this animal has sharp quills and a hefty set of chompers.

The Necessity of Bathing

The other question you must ask is whether you need to bathe your hedgehog in the first place. The two most common pet species are the Western European Hedgehog and the African Pygmy Hedgehog. Whereas the former lives in temperate regions, the latter lives in desert climates. The takeaway is that you should probably do it occasionally instead of it being a regular routine.

brushing a hedgehog
Image By: Jenn Huls, Shutterstock

divider-hedgehogThe 5 Steps to Bathe a Hedgehog

1. Get Everything Ready Before You Start

When you bathe your hedgehog, you want to focus on the task at hand. That means getting everything ready before you draw the bath. You’ll need shampoo, towels, nail clippers, and a soft toothbrush or silicone sponge. We also suggest that you clear the area around the worksite to make it easier for you if your hedgehog tries to get out of the water.

2. Draw the Bath

Hedgehogs live in warmer climates in the wild. That affects the cage setup you must have to keep them healthy. It also applies to giving your pet a bath. Warm—but not hot—water is an excellent start. You can gauge the temp by what feels comfortable to you. Bear in mind that 120℉ is the typical high setting for a hot water heater. If it feels hot to you, it will seem the same for your hedgehog.

giving a hedgehog a bath
Image By: Anca Popa, Shutterstock

3. Use a Sponge or Soft Cloth to Suds Up Your Pet

You can protect your hands from your hedgehog’s spines by using a sponge or cloth to apply the shampoo. You’ll find products formulated for these animals. Remember that this pet has sensitive skin. It can dry and crack quickly if you use something too harsh. Gently work the shampoo into your pet’s skin. You’ll likely find that it’ll enjoy this extra attention.

4. Scrub Up Your Hedgehog’s Feet and Quills

The quills have a relatively large amount of space between them where dirt and debris can collect. The same thing applies to its feet. Therefore, your sponge won’t get these spots clean, making a bit of extra work necessary. You can use your sponge or even a soft toothbrush to get the job done. Bath time is also an excellent time to get your pet used to handling. It’s also bonding time that you both will enjoy.

5. Towel Off Your Hedgehog Gently

Since hedgehogs are warm-weather animals, it’s essential to get your pet dry as possible at the end of the bath. Use absorbent towels and gently pat dry the hedgehog. Don’t rub to keep your hands safe from its sharp quills. We suggest that your pet in the warm bathroom so that it gets enough time to dry.

hedgehog in a towel
Image By: Jenn Huls, Shutterstock


Final Thoughts

Bathing your hedgehog isn’t something that you need to do often. However, it depends on that trusting relationship you’ll need to build with your pet. It’s a new experience that your hedgehog may or may not enjoy at first. The best advice we can give you is the same we’d offer when you first start handling your hedgehog. Go slow and read the signs. It’s the best way to make sure that bath time is a fun time.

Featured Image Credit: Spela Pogacar, Shutterstock

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