Hedgehogs are small creatures with cone-shaped faces. They have tiny legs and porcupine like quills covering their bodies. Hedgehogs and porcupines are not related despite the similarity of their physical appearances. If you have a hedgehog as a pet you must have observed that it looks like a needle cushion.
Why My Hedgehog Balled Up ?
Your hedgehog will most likely curl up into a ball. It may take some time for them to relax and return to their normal posture. Nevertheless the question remains why do hedgehogs curl up in a ball? Their pointed spines rise straight in the curled-up shape. Meanwhile the rest of its body is hidden.
Hedgehogs do this for is for their protection. Just like how snails pull their appendages into their shells when they feel threatened. Hedgehogs hide within their spines in case they are scared of something and seek protection.
Their instinct makes it easy for them to react immediately in case of danger. Hedgehogs will roll into a ball when they are scared or annoyed. This way a predator is forced to leave the hedgehog alone as the sharp spines may hurt.
Hedgehogs Curl Reflex
Hedgehogs contract two muscles that pull in opposite directions when they are threatened. When the muscles are pulled in different directions the hedgehog curls up. When the hedgehog’s muscles contract they pull on the ball-like base of its spine pulling it from a relaxed state to a standing position.
The muscles crisscross and form a nearly impenetrable barrier by pulling distinct spines. The muscles of the belly and back of the hedgehog help in tucking its legs, tail and head inside the spines. The resulting ball shape of the hedgehog appears to be extremely compact.
Hedgehog’s Curling Up Protection Method ?
When a hedgehog is curled up his enemies find it difficult to assault as they are scared of its spines. Most hedgehogs on the other hand do not react in this way. Hedgehogs usually try to flee first but the only option is to curl up into a ball when all else fails.
Hedgehog owners are normally familiar with their reactions. There can be a variety of reasons for a hedgehog to be terrified. However, as they become more comfortable with you and they feel no threat they’ll stop curling up into a ball so often.
Curling up of hedgehogs is a natural phenomenon. So you should not be too concerned about their reaction. When your hedgehog has rolled into a ball it is important to stay away from it. As this is an indication that it does not feel safe around you. So you must not disturb it.
This shows that the hedgehog is visibly disturbed and requires some alone time. Instead of bothering your hedgehog even after it has curled up you should be patient while dealing with it. You should let it feel comfortable around you for you to touch it. You can still handle your hedgehog in these situations. Do not hold them for too long when it is in this position. Recognize and respect their emotions. And carefully place them in their cage.