Can Hedgehogs Hurt You?

When you think of hedgehogs, their sharp quills may come to mind. Unfortunately, a hedgehog may look intimidating because of its appearance, which is why people are often hesitant towards keeping them as pets. But can hedgehogs hurt you?

Hedgehogs will not hurt you. If you are afraid of their quills, you should know they do not hurt much; instead, they feel like prickly toothpicks.

If your hedgehog has its quills standing upright and is curled into a ball, it can hurt you. In these scenarios, hedgehogs are usually stressed, scared, or feel threatened. Therefore, you should not engage with your hedgehog in this position. 

Instead, wait for a while until your hedgehog becomes calm. In addition, a hedgehog’s quills are in the direction of its tail, so ensure that you do not put it in the opposite direction.

Moreover, hedgehogs are often confused with porcupines because of their quills. However, these two animals are completely different from each other, and hedgehogs make wonderful pets.

What Happens If a Hedgehog Pricks You?

There may be times when you have no choice but to handle your hedgehog, even if it is stressed or nervous. For example, a hedgehog may feel stressed due to loud noises or because of a new environment.

In this case, a hedgehog’s quills will stand upright and hurt if you touch them.

Hence, you may prick yourself while handling your hedgehog. Although the chances for your hedgehog to prick you are slim, it can still happen. A hedgehog pricking you will feel like a small needle jab.

Most often, you will not bleed as hedgehogs do not have barbed quills. Nevertheless, you can still wash that area and disinfect it. Other than this, you do not have to do anything else.

Therefore, hedgehogs pricking you is not something to worry about. If you handle your hedgehog well, you can avoid any incidents altogether.

Can hedgehogs hurt you by pricking you? It’s unlikely to hurt!

Can a Hedgehog Kill You?

Unfortunately, as much as hedgehogs make adorable pets, research shows that they can be harmful to humans. Hedgehogs are carriers of many diseases which can be parasitic, bacterial, viral, or fungal.

Hedgehogs can carry parasites that transfer through water. Therefore, it is important to keep your water and your hedgehogs clean. You can also boil your water before drinking it to ensure that any harmful bacteria are killed.

If you do not have time to boil water, you can get bottled water from the store for you and your hedgehog.

One common disease that is common in hedgehogs is salmonella. Hedgehogs carry salmonella and can transfer it to humans as well. To avoid getting salmonella from your hedgehog, ensure that you constantly wash your hands.

Moreover, you can prevent your hedgehog from getting salmonella by boiling any human food that you give it. If you have salmonella, you will suffer from vomiting and diarrhoea. It is best to get in touch with a doctor if you experience these symptoms.

Most of the diseases that hedgehogs carry are found in the wild. Your pet hedgehog will rarely have these diseases. Therefore, you do not need to stress yourself about this. There have been no cases where hedgehogs killed their owners.

Can a Hedgehog Stick You?

Hedgehogs and porcupines share one similar characteristic, which is their quills. However, a hedgehog’s quills are quite different from a porcupine.

When porcupines face a predator in the wild, they will shake themselves, and their quills fall out and get stuck to their predators. However, with hedgehogs, their quills cannot fall, and they do not shoot quills.

Hedgehogs do not have barbed quills. So, if you accidentally ever prick yourself, the quill will not get stuck to you.

A hedgehog cannot stick you. This small mammal only has one defence mechanism, curling itself into a ball and raising its spikes.

How to Handle a Hedgehog

If you are a new pet parent, there is a lot of trial and error involved when dealing with hedgehogs. These spined animals are nervous creatures, and it can take some time before your hedgehog feels comfortable in its new surroundings.

When you bring your new hedgehog home, ensure that its cage has been placed in a quiet place. Hedgehogs do not like loud noises, and any noise can make them feel stressed.

Your hedgehog must be relaxed; otherwise, if it feels scared of threatened, its quills will stand upright, or it will curl in a ball. With a stressed or nervous hedgehog, you will be unable to handle it.

Before picking your hedgehog, you should look at its quills. If the quills are relaxed and flat, you can easily pick your hedgehog up and maybe even cuddle. However, if the hedgehog’s quills are upright, they can harm you if you touch them.

Therefore, it is best to leave the hedgehog alone until it calms down. Moreover, even if the quills are flat, you must ensure to never pet your hedgehog in the opposite direction of its quills, or it will hurt.

If your hedgehog is curled in a ball and you must handle it, you can still do so. With the help of a thick towel or gloves, you can pick your hedgehog or move it around if need be.


Hedgehogs appear to be intimidating to many people because of their quills. More so, a hedgehog’s quills are one reason why people refrain from keeping them as pets. But, can hedgehogs hurt you is often asked? The good news is that a hedgehog will not hurt you.

If you are dealing with a hedgehog whose quills are in action, you may prick yourself. You can disinfect the area immediately. There is no reason to worry, as a hedgehog’s quill does not usually pierce the skin.

A hedgehog will not kill you. However, research indicates that many wild hedgehogs are carriers of dangerous diseases such as salmonella. Therefore, it is best to keep hygiene in check and constantly wash your hands.

You can handle your hedgehog when it is relaxed with its quills down. You can use a thick towel or gloves to deal with a curled-up hedgehog.

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Hey, I'm Brian and I love hedgehogs. They're curious little animals that fascinate me. Over the years, I've become extremely knowledgeable about hedgehogs so have decided to share that knowledge here

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