Hedgehogs are remarkable animals that also make great pets. The most notable feature about hedgehogs is their quills and their defence mechanism. However, hedgehogs are so much more than their sharp quills. Let’s start with the basics: Do hedgehogs have ears?
Yes, hedgehogs have small ears that help them hear.
Although hedgehogs have small ears, they have a good sense of hearing. Since hedgehogs do not have great eyesight, they rely on their ears. As a result, hedgehogs pick up important sounds, and their ears are sensitive.
With sensitive ears, hedgehogs hear sounds with higher tones. There are also long-eared hedgehogs that are found in deserts. Nevertheless, a hedgehog’s ears are its most important asset alongside its sense of smell.
Do Hedgehogs Have Big Ears?
As most domesticated hedgehogs are African pygmies, they have small ears. However, there are species of a hedgehog with big and noticeable ears.
The long-eared hedgehog is found in Central Asia in deserts and rocky areas. Some regions home to the long-eared hedgehog are Egypt, Northern Russia, Pakistan, and China. These hedgehogs prefer to dig and live inside burrows. The long-eared hedgehog has a more pointed face and longer ears.
These hedgehogs are also more active than African pygmies and better at climbing. The small mammals are also very fast. If you plan on getting a long-eared hedgehog as a pet, you must have a proper wheel installed to fulfil its exercise requirement.
However, it would help if you had patience and experience when dealing with a long-eared hedgehog. Long-eared hedgehogs are more aggressive and do not have a calm temperament as opposed to African pygmies.
These hedgehogs rely on insects, worms, and cockroaches. Long-eared hedgehogs also do not require much human interaction, even less than African pygmy hedgehogs.
Do Hedgehogs Have Good Hearing?
Hedgehogs are born blind and deaf. With time, hedgehogs gain vision and their sense of hearing. However, a hedgehog does not have the best vision. To make up for the bad vision, hedgehogs have sharp hearing skills.
Even though hedgehogs have small ears, they are positioned in such a manner that they can hear important sounds.
Since hedgehogs have sensitive ears, they hear high-pitched sounds better than low pitched. Hedgehogs have a frequency range from 250 hertz to 45,000 hertz. Therefore, hedgehogs cannot hear low-pitched sounds well.
As a point of comparison, humans can hear low pitch sounds starting from 45 hertz.
What Do Hedgehogs Use Their Ears For?
Good earing is vital to the survival of hedgehogs in the wild. Since hedgehogs have poor eyesight, they are dependent on their hearing and sense of smell.
Good hearing and sharp ears serve useful for hedgehogs when hunting for food. Hedgehogs can hear high-frequency sounds. The ability to hear high-frequency sounds enables the hedgehog to detect any prey or potential predators as it hunts.
If a hedgehog hears an unfamiliar sound in the wild, it will quickly become alert.
An alert hedgehog can protect itself from any predator by getting into a defensive position. With good hearing, hedgehogs can also perform tasks such as crossing the road. Furthermore, when hedgehogs move, the sound of their quills can distract them from hearing.
Hence, to hear even better, a hedgehog will stop and listen intently.
Can Hedgehogs Get Ear Infections?
If you are a pet parent and have a hedgehog to take care of, be wary of ear infections. Since hedgehogs rely on their sense of hearing, your hedgehog can become upset if it develops an ear infection.
Your hedgehog can behave normally, eat and drink as per usual and still have an ear infection. Hedgehogs are known to hide diseases and show them later. Hence, it is best to keep a regular check on your hedgehog’s ear to catch an infection before it worsens.
What Are the Symptoms of Hedgehog Ear Infection?
If you are a new pet parent or your hedgehog has never experienced an ear infection, you may have difficulty detecting one. However, there are some symptoms that you must check for to see if your hedgehog has an ear infection.
Most hedgehogs scratch their ear because of dryness. Therefore, if your hedgehog has been scratching its ear, then it is not something to worry about. However, if the ear-scratching is accompanied by other symptoms or is too excessive, it may be an infection.
Your hedgehog can have tattered ear edges and may have difficulty maintaining balance.
Other symptoms of an ear infection include your hedgehog shaking its head like a dog, walking in circles, unable to run, or leaning more towards one side. These symptoms indicate that your hedgehog may have an ear infection.
You must consult a vet immediately before your hedgehog’s condition worsens. Please ensure that your vet is experienced in dealing with exotic animals like hedgehogs.
There are some types of infections that you can find in your hedgehog’s ear. Your hedgehog may be suffering from a mite infection. If your hedgehog has tattered ears, it is the consequence of mite infection.
If you leave an ear mite infection without any treatment, it can turn into a bacterial infection.
Hedgehogs also get fungal infections in their ear. This infection is caused by moisture found in wood shavings used for the hedgehog’s bedding. Fungal infection is dangerous because it eats away the hedgehog’s ears until they reduce to nubs.
Ear infection found inside the ear and middle will cause discharge. In this case, your hedgehog may walk in circles or lose balance.
Hedgehogs may have poor eyesight, but they have a great sense of hearing.
Hedgehogs have small ears that are positioned to pick up important sounds. There are also long-eared hedgehogs that are found in the desert areas of Central Asia. Hedgehogs rely on their hearing to hunt and detect potential predators and prey from far.
If you have a pet hedgehog, check their ears as they can develop ear infections. It is best to consult your vet immediately in case of an infection.