Hedgehogs make great pets, but you won't be able to enjoy you're hedgehog fully, if you don't bond.
Bonding with your hedgehog will make you love your pet more and your hedgehog love you.
Imagine sitting in a room with a complete stranger, you wouldn’t be comfortable, but once you get to know each other, you become to enjoy their company. The same goes with you and your hedgehog.
Bonding with your hedgehog takes time and effort, but the results are worth it.
How Long To Bond With Your Hedgehog?
You should aim to bond with your hedgehog for at least an hour every day. Each hedgehog is different, while some hedgehogs bond quickly; others could take up to a year. Give your hedgehog the time it needs. Now the question is:
How To Bond With Your Hedgehog?
1. Bonding Through Scent
Hedgehogs have poor eyesight, so you need to use your hedgehog's other senses to bond efficiently. Since hedgehog's have a strong sense of smell, using this sense to bond is an excellent idea.
One of the best methods to bond through smell is to put one of your shirts (one that you have worn for at least a whole day) in your hedgehog's cage or you could drape it over the cage. Your hedgehog will begin to associate your scent with home and safety.
If you use fleece instead bedding you can sleep with the fleece for a few days before putting it in your hedgehog’s cage.
(We have fleeces with extraordinary designs in our shop. Go check them out.)
If your hedgehog sleeps in a sleeping bag, you could also sleep with that before giving it to your hedgehog.
Beware of new scents from lotions and perfumes, these can disguise your original scent and confuse your hedgehog. Your hedgehog may not recognize you.
You should also avoid air fresheners. If you really need to use it, spray only a little and far away from your hedgehog’s cage.
2. Bonding Through Cuddling
This is my favorite bonding method. It is very easy. Have your hedgehog sit on your lap while you’re watching TV, using your computer, or doing your homework.
Pick up your hedgehog and set him/her in your lap for about an hour. Let your hedgehog sleep in your lap. It is OK if your hedgehog curls into a ball when you pick her/him up. Your hedgehog should uncurl in a few minutes and begin to explore.
Once your hedgehog is comfortable and relaxed, they will walk around on your lap and explore. Let your hedgehog explore freely.
A great way to bond through cuddling is to hold your hedgehog in your hands and against your chest to hear your heart beats. Let him/her fall asleep on you. This is one of the best ways to bond with your hedgie.
However, there are some hedgehogs that will only sleep in there cage. That’s OK and doesn’t mean your hedgehog doesn’t like you.
You can carry your hedgehog in a sugar glider bonding pouch or a soft carrier bag.
Always wash your hands and avoid putting on lotions and perfumes before picking up your hedgehog.
Petting Your Hedgehog
Always pet your hedgehog from front to back in the direction of the quills. If your hedgehog is frightened, the quills will be lifted and sharp. Let your hedgehog relax before attempting to pet him/her.
Some hedgehogs don’t like being petted until they are completely comfortable with their owner. Respect your hedgehog’s wishes and don’t try to pet them if they’re uncomfortable.
3. Bonding Through Play
To bond with your hedgehog through play, find a hedgehog safe room and let your hedgehog run around while you sit on the floor. Don’t attempt to touch your hedgehog, just watch. Let your hedgehog get to know you in its own way. That also means letting it climb all over you, if it wants.
When your hedgehog is relaxed, its quills will be down and it won’t get scared every time you move. You can then put your hand several inches away from your hedgehog and let it come you and sniff it and maybe even climb on to it.
Some hedgehogs might be annoyed by something in the environment, like a certain color (maybe a yellow shirt). Notice the small behaviors of your hedgehog to ensure s/he is completely comfortable.
4. Bonding Through Sound
Like other animals, hedgehog can get used to your voice. Talk to your hedgehog whenever s/he is in your lap. Talking to your hedgehog during enjoyable activities such as bathing and cuddling will help your hedgehog associate your voice with enjoyment.
Hedgehogs are very sensitive to sound and are scared of loud noises. To get your hedgehog used to the normal house noises, try having a radio on constantly next to them when you are out.
Music is soothing to hedgehogs; you can turn music on next to your hedgehog. But remember not to keep the volume too high.
If you hedgehog is used to silence, the normal house noises, such as the sound of dishes in the kitchen or the sound of a closing door, can be frightening. Keeping a radio on is a great solution.
Introduce new sounds gradually; too many new sounds can overwhelm your hedgehog.
How To Know Your Hedgehog Likes You
When your hedgehog trusts you, its quills will stay down and will be easy to pick up, pet and scratch. (Note that some hedgehogs don’t like being petted at all.)
If a hedgehog is comfortable in your lap, you may be able to hear it purr.
Hedgehogs, when they are comfortable with you, will run up to you, fall asleep on your lap and cuddle with you.
All these are certain tellers that your hedgehog trusts you.
You may also like to read How To Handle An Aggressive Hedgehog.
If you have any questions or comments, tell me in the comments section below. I’d love to hear your thoughts.
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