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Are Hedgehogs Mean? If So, Why? (Important Facts)

A friend of mine recently purchased a hedgehog at the local exotic pet store; days later, he noticed that his hedgehog showed aggressivity behavior, so he asked me why are hedgehogs mean?

As a general rule,  hedgehogs are naturally shy and reclusive. They can be easily startled by loud noises or sudden movements. This can make them seem mean, but it’s just their way of protecting themselves.

If you want to win your hedgehog’s trust, take things slowly and give them plenty of time to get used to you.

That is one reason why hedgehogs seem to be mean. In fact, there’s a lot more to know about these fascinating creatures.

In this article, we will explore the reasons behind your hedgehog’s mean behavior and offer some tips on how to deal with it.

Why is my hedgehog so aggressive?

On average, aggressive hedgehogs may be exhibiting dominance behavior to establish their place in the pack or hierarchy. Or, they may be feeling threatened and feel like they need to act aggressive to scare away potential threats. Some hedgehogs may also simply be naturally more aggressive than others.

But also, there could be a few other reasons why your hedgehog is mean. So let’s have a look at those too.

  • Mating season. The mating season for hedgehogs usually falls between late April and early May. During this time, male hedgehogs become more aggressive as they compete for mates. If you have a male hedgehog, this may be the reason behind his increased aggressiveness.
  • Your hedgehog may be feeling sick. If your hedgehog is acting out of character and suddenly becomes aggressive, it may be a sign that they are feeling unwell. If this is the case, take them to the vet as soon as possible for a check-up.
  • Your hedgehog may be in pain. Hedgehogs are good at hiding when they’re in pain, but sometimes their behavior can give them away. If your hedgehog is biting or lashing out when you try to pick them up, it’s possible that they’re injured or in pain. Again, take them to the vet as soon as possible for a check-up.
  • Your hedgehog may be stressed. There are a number of things that can cause stress in hedgehogs, including changes in their environment, loud noises, and being handled too much. If your hedgehog is stressed, it may become aggressive as a way of dealing with the situation.
  • Your hedgehog may be unhappy in its environment. If your hedgehog doesn’t have any place to hide or isn’t given enough toys to play with, it may become irritable and lash out at people.
  • Naturally grumpy. Some hedgehogs are just more aggressive than others, and there’s not much you can do about it.
  • Your hedgehog may not be getting enough exercise. A lack of exercise can lead to a lot of pent-up energy and aggression. Try giving him a calming toy to play with or putting him in a quiet place where he can relax.

In cases like this, it’s best to try and keep your distance and avoid handling them too much.

Most of the time, your hedgehog needs to burn out energy in order to feel relaxed, so giving him some toys to play with may be a good idea.

Usually, people give hedgehogs toys such as the hamster ball to play with but avoid this as hedgehogs can easily get stuck inside and hurt themselves. In fact, there are other alternatives to help your hedgehog burn energy so that it can feel more relaxed. In a recent article, I talk about it in more detail.

Click the link to learn more.


How do you deal with an aggressive hedgehog?

When you are first starting to handle the hedgehog, always do it over a soft surface like a towel or pillow. Gently pick up the hedgehog and support its body with one hand, using your other hand to cup and pet its head. Talk softly to it and offer small treats like crickets or berries.

If the hedgehog starts to squirm or tries to bite you, put it down immediately and start over again when it’s calm. Never try to force the hedgehog into a position it doesn’t want to be in.

This will only make it more aggressive. As with all animals, patience and kindness are key when working with an aggressive hedgehog.

Also, If you think your hedgehog is acting aggressively because they’re feeling sick, in pain, or stressed, the best thing to do is take them to the vet as soon as possible. They will be able to give you a more accurate diagnosis and offer advice on how to best deal with the situation.

Why is my hedgehog so hyper?

Your hedgehog is probably feeling a bit distressed due to all the changes in its environment. It’s new to your home and is still getting used to its surroundings. As a result, it’s exhibiting what we would call “hyperactive” behavior.

There are a few things you can do to help your hedgehog feel more comfortable and less stressed in its new home. First, try to create a safe space for it to explore and get acquainted with its new surroundings.

Put some of its favorite toys and snacks in its enclosure, so it has something familiar to cling to.

Secondly, avoid handling your hedgehog too much for the first few days or weeks.

Let it approach you on its own terms when it feels comfortable enough to do so.

And lastly, try to keep the noise level down in your home and avoid making any sudden movements around the hedgehog. All of these things will help your hedgehog feel more relaxed and less stressed in its new environment.

If your hedgehog isn’t getting enough exercise, you can try to take him for a walk outside in his harness and leash.

Note: If he’s not being given enough attention, you can try spending more time with him and playing games that he enjoys, such as  ping pong balls, lattice bird or cat balls.

These might seems like small things, but they can make a big difference in your hedgehog’s overall mood and behavior.

Why is my hedgehog hissing at me?

There could be a few reasons why your hedgehog is hissing at you. It could be that your hedgehog is feeling threatened or nervous and is trying to warn you to back off.

Hedgehogs are also known to hiss when they’re in pain. In fact, it is usually very difficult to detect if your hedgehog is in pain as they are very good at hiding it.

So it’s important to keep an eye on your hedgie and make sure he isn’t injured in any way.

Also, if your hedgehog seems to be hissing frequently or for no apparent reason, it might be a good idea to take him to the vet to rule out any medical issues.


Hedgehogs also can also be mean when they are scared of things, like sudden movements or loud noises. If you think your hedgehog is being mean because it’s scared, the best thing to do is to try and make its environment as safe and calm as possible.

That being said, I have a recent article that goes more in depth about some of the things that scare hedgehogs and that can turn them from peaceful pets to very aggressive ones.

Click the link above to learn more.

How do you calm an angry hedgehog?

As a general rule, you should avoid handling your hedgehog when she’s angry. If you absolutely must, wear gloves and use a soft, calm voice. Try offering her a treat, like a piece of fruit or vegetable. If she still seems angry, put her back in her cage and give her some time to calm down.

If the hedgehog is still feeling threatened, you may need to gently scruff it. This involves grasping the loose skin on the back of its neck and holding it for a few seconds until the hedgehog relaxes. If done correctly, this should calm an angry hedgehog down enough for you to safely put it back in its cage.

If your hedgehog is acting aggressively on a regular basis, there may be an underlying medical condition causing the aggression. Contact your veterinarian to discuss possible causes and treatments.

How do you tame a grumpy hedgehog?

Hedgehogs are generally very friendly creatures. However, there are always exceptions to the rule. Every now and then, you may come across a hedgehog that seems grumpy and uncooperative.

In fact, this may occur if they don’t have enough social interaction. In order to tame a grumpy hedgehog, you will need to provide it with plenty of opportunities to socialize and exercise.

Here are some tips:

  • Make sure your hedgehog has a spacious, comfortable cage with hiding places, climbing structures, and plenty of toys. This will help reduce boredom and stress.
  • Handle your hedgehog frequently, offering treats as rewards for good behavior. This will help it get accustomed to being handled and realize that it’s not something to be afraid of.
  • Provide your hedgehog with opportunities to exercise by letting it roam around your home or taking it for walks outside.
  • Take your hedgehog to the vet regularly for checkups to ensure that there are no underlying health issues causing the grumpiness.

With a little patience and effort, you should be able to tame even the grumpiest of hedgehogs!


In this article, we learned about hedgehog personalities and some of the reasons why your hedgehog might be acting mean. We also learned about how to calm an angry hedgehog and how to tame a grumpy hedgehog.

While this aggressive behavior can be off-putting at first, it’s important to remember that hedgehogs are generally very friendly creatures.

Hedgehogs can also show signs of aggression, such as biting, if you just brought them into a new home, so give them some time to adjust.

If your hedgehog is exhibiting any of these behaviors, we recommend that you consult with a veterinarian. to rule out any possible medical causes.

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