They may be unique and undeniably adorable, but hedgehogs also have a number of special care needs. If you’re thinking of adopting one of these cute critters, you’ll need to make sure you know what it takes to provide a safe, comfortable and loving environment for your newest family member.
One of the key factors you’ll need to consider is whether your hedgehog will get along with your other pets. Can hedgehogs and dogs live together? Are hedgehogs good with cats?
The answer is maybe. The relationship your hedgehog has with other pets will depend significantly on the personality and temperament of your dog or cat. Close supervision at all times is essential, while you’ll also need to carefully manage introductions between all four-legged family members.
Hedgehogs and the Art of Self-Defense
You only need to take one look at a hedgehog (or touch one) to realize that these cute little creatures are quite effective at protecting themselves. When threatened by a predator, a hedgehog will roll up into a ball so that only its sharp, spiky quills are exposed.
And those quills are certainly nothing to be sneezed at, so they’re certainly an excellent deterrent against anything that wants to do a hedgehog harm. But even with that impressive suit of armor, hedgehogs still need extremely close supervision around other household pets.
Before examining whether hedgehogs and dogs or cats can live together, it’s important to understand a little more about the temperament and care needs of these spiky little fellows.
Hedgehogs are generally quite solitary creatures and are happy spending time on their own. As a result, don’t hold out hope of your hedgehog forming an incredibly close friendship with your other pets.
At the same time, hedgehogs are not the type of pet that can just be left alone in a cage all day long. In fact, these gorgeous pets are surprisingly active and adventurous — and because they’re nocturnal animals, they like to do most of their moving around at night.
And while hedgehogs are pretty capable at self-defense, they’re not aggressive creatures. This means you won’t have to worry about them launching any unprovoked ‘attacks’ at your furry family members.
Do Hedgehogs Get Along With Dogs?
So, what does this mean when you introduce a dog into the equation? Are hedgehogs afraid of dogs?
It’s pretty common for a hedgehog to be very wary when they first come face to face with a dog. In most cases, the hedgehog will assume the defensive position and roll into a little ball. They may even stay like this the entire time the dog is around.
As for how your dog will react, that depends on several factors — but the most important thing to consider is your dog’s temperament. Some canines will be intrigued by the little ball of spikes, some will try to play with it, and some may be wary or even frightened. Extensive socialization, while your dog is still a pup, will help raise a pet who is confident and calm when faced with new situations.
You know your dog better than anyone, so you’re the best person to predict how they’ll react. But even if you think your pup will simply ignore the hedgehog and leave it alone, close supervision is essential. Rewarding your dog for calmly and gently interacting with the hedgehog, or just leaving it alone, may also help.
The main thing to remember is that there’s a risk of some dogs attacking hedgehogs. Those unpleasant spikes may deter your pup, but it’s still possible for a hedgehog to be injured or even killed.
Even a particularly boisterous or playful dog could injure your hedgehog or itself, while breeds with a high prey drive can also pose a risk to your new pet. That’s why it’s essential to monitor any interactions between your four-legged housemates closely.
Dogs and hedgehogs can coexist happily — as some truly adorable YouTube videos will attest — but they’ll need to have compatible personalities.
Do Hedgehogs Get Along With Cats?
If your furry family member is a feline, you’re probably wondering: Can hedgehogs and cats live together?
The answer is that yes, they can, but only if you’re committed to managing the introduction carefully and closely monitoring interactions between your pets. Cats are naturally playful and curious creatures, so don’t be surprised if your furry friend is fascinated by the new arrival.
If they take that curiosity a little bit further, your cat may try to paw at or even pick up the hedgehog in their mouth. This can, of course, lead to an injury for either pet, so you’ll need to be watching closely when your two pets come into contact.
The good news is that cats have a reputation for being quick learners when it comes to a hedgehog’s spikes. Once they understand the sort of discomfort those quills can cause, they’re generally happy not to push the boundaries too much.
Finally, remember to be patient when introducing your hedgehog to your cat. It’ll likely be a new and unusual experience for both animals, so don’t rush things. With a gradual, slow-and-steady approach, your two pets will have a chance to get used to one another and will hopefully be able to coexist in the same home happily.
If you’re welcoming a pet hedgehog into your family, the safest option is to keep it well away from any other pets at all times. This will ensure that your hedgehog stays safe, happy and healthy.
That said, a hedgehog can coexist in a home with a cat or a dog. However, you’ll need to closely monitor all interactions between your pets to ensure that none of them come to any harm.