Due to the hedgehog’s rarity as a pet, many people are unaware of their characteristics. Therefore, before getting a hedgehog as your pet, it is best to gain insights into its eating and sleeping habits as well as its unique traits and a question you didn’t think you’d ask: Do hedgehogs eat their own poop?
Yes, hedgehogs do eat their own poop.
It may seem odd that hedgehogs eat their poop, but there is a reason behind it. If hedgehogs do not receive enough nutrition in their diet, they will proceed to eat their poop.
Hedgehogs come with a small digestive system, and they cannot digest all the food they eat. Therefore, there is a lot of undigested food in their poop if their diet has insufficient nutrients.
Why Do Hedgehogs Rub Poop on Themselves?
It comes as a surprise to many pet owners that hedgehogs rub poop on themselves. However, rubbing poop on themselves is a defence mechanism that hedgehogs are born with. When hedgehogs feel threatened and suspect a predator nearby, they will cover themselves with poop to mask their scent.
You may wonder, if there are no predators, a hedgehog does not need to cover itself in poop, right?
However, there have been instances when even domesticated hedgehogs will cover themselves in poop. This happens when you bring a new hedgehog to your home, and it does not feel safe. The hedgehog may cover itself with poop for a few days until it feels comfortable in its new environment.
Hedgehogs consider the owner as a threat which is why it follows this practice.
You can prevent your hedgehog from rubbing poop on itself by cleaning the cage regularly. In addition, it is best to avoid using new scents as they can trigger your hedgehog and cause it to rub poop on itself.
Do Hedgehogs Poop When They Run?
In addition to pooping in a stationary position, hedgehogs also poop when they run.
Running gets the hedgehog’s bowels moving, which causes it to poop. The running aspect is why hedgehog owners find their play wheel covered with poop. Hedgehogs can get messy because the poop on the wheel sticks to their feet and results in poop boots.
It is not difficult to wash away the poop, but the process can be tiresome. Instead, you can stick your hedgehog’s feet in warm water to wash the poop.
Many people believe that potty training hedgehogs can get rid of this problem. Unfortunately, potty-training hedgehogs does not guarantee that they will stop pooping when they run. Hedgehogs are animals, after all, and have little sense about these things.
While potty-training hedgehogs can reduce the problem, it is not a permanent solution. Hence, if you think about getting a pet hedgehog, you must be prepared for such incidents.
Do Hedgehogs Poop on People?
Unfortunately, hedgehogs are known to poop on their owners. These small mammals have little control when it comes to pooping, which results in pooping incidents. Any small movement can cause hedgehogs to poop.
Most of the time, when owners pick hedgehogs to cuddle them, they get pooped on.
There are specific times that hedgehogs feel an urgent need to poop. Hedgehogs commonly poop as soon as they wake up and when they eat. Therefore, be careful not to pick your hedgehog as soon as it eats or wakes up.
Give your hedgehog a little time and wait for it to finish pooping before picking it up.
If this problem bothers you, you can avoid this by giving your hedgehog a warm bath. When you give your hedgehog a warm bath, it will poop everything inside it.
If your hedgehog poops often, you should try switching to high-quality brands of food. Low-quality food will cause hedgehogs to poop often and in undesirable places.
Do Hedgehogs Poop When They Are Scared?
Hedgehogs are small animals that can get easily scared, especially if they are new pets. When something scares a hedgehog, it can react in different ways. For example, some hedgehogs turn into spiked balls while some may poop themselves.
When you get a new hedgehog, it will be scared and nervous. Hence, do not be surprised if your hedgehog poops when it gets scared for a few days. Your hedgehog will take a few days or weeks to trust you, and until then, it will see you as a potential threat.
If you want to confirm that your hedgehog is not pooping out of fear, you can check its poop. For example, if your hedgehog is pooping green, then it is pooping out of fear.
Giving a few days to your hedgehog to adjust will make it stop pooping. It would help if you also tried to bond with your hedgehog during this time. You can spend time with your hedgehog and let it explore and adjust to your scent.
Always ensure that you are gentle whenever you handle your hedgehog. Do not run after the hedgehog, make loud noises, or any quick movements; otherwise, it will get scared.
Hedgehogs are known to eat their own poop. However, many pet owners do not know why hedgehogs eat their poop. You may see your hedgehog gravitating towards its poop because it is getting insufficient nutrients from its food.
Hedgehogs cannot digest all the food they eat, which is why some of it is still in their poop.
Another hedgehog trait is that they rub poop on themselves. Hedgehogs rub poop on their bodies to mask their scents from predators. Your pet hedgehog may consider you as a potential threat and rub poop on itself until it feels safe around you.
Hedgehogs also poop when they run because running leads to bowel movements. The wheel can get dirty from hedgehog poop, hence why most hedgehogs have poop boots. A warm bath is enough to get rid of poop boots.