Are Hedgehogs Spiky? (Can I Handle Them?)

If you are looking forward to adopting a hedgehog as a pet, you might be wondering how hedgehogs would be around you as pets. You might want to hold your pets close and play around with them.

People who want to adopt hedgehogs often wonder if hedgehogs are spiky, and you might have difficulty holding them and playing around with them. Hedgehog owners want to know if they can hold their pet and cuddle it.

hedgehog and cactus spikes

So, are hedgehogs spiky? Can we cuddle them and hold them close easily? The answer to your question is yes. You can hold your hedgehog close and can cuddle them. But it would be best if you handled it correctly and adequately.

You do not need to worry about researching here and there about the right way to hold and pet your hedgehog. We have done the work for you. Keep reading this article to find out when your hedgehog becomes spiky and how you should be handling it.

Handling a Hedgehog:

Hedgehogs have quills all over their back. When a hedgehog is relaxed and does not feel threatened, the hedgehog’s quills are in a relaxed position. They do not rise and point towards you.

When a hedgehog is calm, the quills are observed to lie flat all along the sides and the hedgehog’s back. The quill is always pointing towards the back, that is, the rear end of the hedgehog.

It would be best if you never petted your hedgehog backward; that means that you should never pet them from the rear end to the front. It would be best if you always petted them from their head to their rear end.

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The forward motion ensures that the hedgehog’s quills stay flat while you are petting them, and they do not rise and point towards your hand. Petting your hedgehog backward can result in you poking your hand while trying to cuddle your pet.

When do Hedgehog’s Quills Rise?

Hedgehogs’ quills rise when the hedgehogs are nervous or angry. When the hedgehog feels anxious or threatened, their quills rise and point outwards. A hedgehog’s quill rises upwards when they are anxious because the hedgehogs use their quills as a means to protect themselves.

The quills are regarded as a hedgehog’s defense mechanism. They are alert and use their quills when they feel like they are being attacked or end up feeling like they have a predator.

Can I Cuddle My Hedgehog?

Hedgehogs do not have a general personality. Hence, every hedgehog likes to be petted and cuddled in a different way and different periods. Hedgehogs like cuddles from their owners only when they are familiar with their owners.

Hedgehogs are solitary animals, and they like to live alone, far away from any affectionate gesture or interaction. Initially, hedgehogs are shy and may prefer moving around and exploring away from their owners.

As they become familiar with their owners and their new lifestyle, hedgehog owners might start observing that the hedgehog might run to them for cuddles or would like to run around the house playing around them.

Spotting The Difference Between Hedgehog Quill and Hedgehog Fur:

Hedgehogs have sharp quills that cover all of their sides and their entire back. But the entire body of a hedgehog is not covered with quills. Hedgehogs have fur that covers all of their bellies.

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Hedgehogs have a relatively large number of quills present on their body. It is estimated that hedgehogs have around five thousand to seven thousand quills present on their sides and backs.

The number of spikes explains the reason behind hedgehogs being very spiky. The quills are very spiky and tend to hurt anyone who touches them.

When a hedgehog feels threatened, they point their quills out and turn into a ball. Some hedgehog owners like to call a scared hedgehog a ball of spike.

They have named a ball of spike because the hedgehogs expose their quills to anyone who touches them when they are nervous because of the way they curl themselves up in a ball. Their body is curled in a position to expose all of their quills to the outer surface. The hedgehogs do that, so they have their defense mechanism to protect themselves.


Hedgehogs are spiky, and their spikes can be painful to touch. But does this mean that you can not pet and cuddle your hedgie? Not. Hedgehogs are spiky only when they are nervous, anxious or if they feel threatened. The hedgehog’s quills act as a defense shield for them. They use their spikes to protect themselves from predators and any other being that they are afraid of.  Remember to cuddle your hedgehog only when it is in a calm mood and is relaxed enough to be cuddled. You should also ensure that your hedgehog is familiar with you so that it is not anxious or nervous around you.