Hedgehogs are notorious for the quills on their back and their insect-eating habits. These tiny mammals make great companions for anyone looking for low-maintenance pets. Hedgehogs love to run around and explore and are quite active at night. But are hedgehogs intelligent or not?
Hedgehogs are intelligent when you consider their size and compare them to similar animals. However, hedgehogs are not as smart as other pets.
You cannot teach hedgehogs tricks like you would a dog. But many people have observed that hedgehogs are responsive to their names and voices. Moreover, they are even known to have expressed emotions such as love for their owners.
Do Hedgehogs Recognize Their Owners?
When you bring your hedgehog home, it may take some time to warm up to you. Hedgehogs are solitary animals by nature and prefer to be alone. Hence, new owners are sometimes worried if their hedgehog acts aloof or indifferent.
Hedgehogs tend to feel nervous or stressed in a new environment. It takes time for hedgehogs to be comfortable and develop trust. Hence, you should be patient. There have been accounts of hedgehogs recognizing their owners.
This happens especially during threatening situations. For example, your hedgehog may look for you or run to you during its visit to the vet.
Do Hedgehogs Have a Good Memory?
Hedgehogs may not be considered intelligent as monkeys or dogs, but they have a good memory. There have been instances where researchers have tamed their hedgehogs to perform tricks such as rolling over, and they have worked.
Pet owners have observed that hedgehogs can distinguish them from other people. Hedgehogs have a remarkable memory, and they remember places especially well. It is often a common misconception that hibernation affects a hedgehog’s memory.
However, when a hedgehog is done hibernating, it will wake up and know exactly where to look for food. Hedgehogs that have been housed and litter trained also know where the litter box is.
When it comes to memory, sight is usually the most important sense. However, hedgehogs have terrible eyesight. But their excellent sense of smell makes up for it. Hedgehogs recognize and memorize scents.
This is one reason why it is recommended to leave your shirt in the cage, so your hedgehog is aware of your scent.
Since hedgehogs have a good memory, they might even miss their owners and get excited to see them. Of course, this also depends on how close you are to your hedgehog and how strong your bond is.
Do Hedgehogs Have Instincts?
All animals are born with instincts that tell them about their situation, and so does a hedgehog. A hedgehog’s instinct will help it realize if it is in danger of being threatened. Hedgehogs express their fear and stress in various ways.
If you see your pet hedgehog displaying these behaviours, you know that it is not comfortable.
If your hedgehog feels that it is in danger, it may run behind you to feel safe. When hedgehogs are in the wild, they turn into spiked balls to protect themselves from any danger. Female hedgehogs may eat their babies if they feel that they are in danger.
In short, these instincts are present in the hedgehog, which shows that these small mammals are not given enough credit for their smartness.
Do Hedgehogs Show Emotions?
Hedgehogs have been known to show emotions, and pet owners have observed that. Many owners found that after leaving their hedgehog for some time or coming from a vacation, it has ignored them. The hedgehog would refuse to be picked up and would bite their owners.
Hence, hedgehogs possess the ability to display their positive and negative emotions.
Are Hedgehogs Affectionate?
It is a fact that hedgehogs tend to show emotions, and affection is one of them. Although hedgehogs are solitary animals, they can still love their owners. How loving your hedgehog depends on its personality. There are multiple ways that your hedgehog may try telling you that it loves you.
You should monitor your hedgehog’s behaviour and see how it responds to your presence. Hedgehogs tend to remember their owner’s voice. Try talking to your hedgehog so it can memorize your voice.
You may notice that your hedgehog will come out of its hole as soon as it hears you. If your hedgehog loves to snuggle, it will display its affection for you by sniggling against you. It can also do this by laying flat and in a relaxed position.
If you are strict on following routines, then your hedgehog may be used to a certain schedule. It is rare, but your hedgehog may wait for you near its cage if you play with it at the same time every day.
Some hedgehogs are big cuddlers! If you are lucky, your hedgehog may attempt to cuddle against you and sleep. The quills will lay flat, and your hedgehog will be in a comfortable position. This shows that your hedgehog trusts you.
Once you develop a bond with your hedgehog, it will show affection towards you.
So, are hedgehogs intelligent animals? Hedgehogs are not at the top of the intelligence spectrum, but they are smarter than people give them credit. It would be unfair to compare a hedgehog’s intelligence to that of a cat or dog.
These tiny mammals do have great memories. Hedgehogs have been known to recognize their owners in a situation such as at the vets. Researchers have even taught hedgehogs to learn tricks such as rolling over.
Moreover, hedgehogs that are litter trained are also able to remember where the litter box is located.
Like all animals, hedgehogs are born with instincts. When hedgehogs are in a stressful situation, they run to their owners and attempt to hide behind them. In the wild, hedgehogs turn into spiked balls so no predator can harm them.
Many hedgehogs are affectionate towards their owners and show their love by nibbling them or responding to their voices. Hedgehogs also love to snuggle and cuddle. If your hedgehog’s quills are relaxed, that means it trusts you.