How Can You Tell If a Hedgehog is Dead?

When hedgehogs are scared or feel threatened, they’ll curl themselves up. Hedgehogs also curl themselves in other situations such as hibernation. When people spot hedgehogs curled, they often assume that they are dead. So how do you tell if a hedgehog is dead or not?

You can tell that a hedgehog is dead by looking out for breathing and movement. If a hedgehog is hibernating, it will still be breathing.

When you find hedgehogs curled for a long time, it can be due to hibernation or feelings of threat. For people unfamiliar with a hedgehog, it can seem like it is dead. However, if you look close enough, the hedgehog may take small breaths indicating that it is alive.

How Can You Tell If a Hedgehog Is Hibernating?

It is important to distinguish a dead hedgehog from a hibernating one so you know what to do with it. There are multiple signs in a hibernating hedgehog that you should look for before declaring it dead.

Hibernation is a state when hedgehogs sleep for a long period, preserving their energy. Suppose you come across a hedgehog and are unsure if it’s dead or hibernating; look closely to see if it breathes. A hedgehog who hibernates will take small and slow breaths.

Moreover, when a hedgehog is hibernating, its heartbeat becomes slow. Also, the temperature of a hibernating hedgehog drops low.

Hibernating Hedgehog

If you encounter a hedgehog that is curled and not moving, it is most likely to be hibernating. You can touch the hedgehog’s spines gently; however, it will not wake up. The hedgehog, however, will let out a shudder and will huff and puff.

Do Hedgehogs Act Dead?

When hedgehogs face a dangerous situation, they have a defence mechanism to help them. This defence mechanism comprises curling into a spiked ball. When a predator approaches a hedgehog or feels threatened in any way, it will curl and stay still, almost as if it acts dead.

Hedgehogs come equipped with this defence mechanism, and it is more about protecting themselves than playing dead. Moreover, hedgehogs also curl into a ball when they hibernate.

Hedgehogs also curl for long periods if they are stressed. For example, if you bring a new hedgehog home, you will notice it will curl because it is anxious about the new environment.

If you have a pet hedgehog that has stayed in a curled position for a long time, it is not playing dead. The chances are that your hedgehog is trying to go into hibernation mode. Any drop in temperature can trigger hibernation mode in hedgehogs.

However, be careful and get your hedgehog checked by the vet immediately. While wild hedgehogs have enough fats to hibernate, pet hedgehogs do not. Hibernation for pet hedgehogs is fatal to them.

Do Hedgehogs Curl Up When They Die?

When hedgehogs curl up, it is a sign that they are trying to hibernate. Hedgehogs do not die a natural death curled up. Instead, if the temperature falls below 75 degrees, hedgehogs begin to hibernate. If your pet hedgehog has been curling up, touch its stomach.

A cold hedgehog stomach is an indication that it was trying to hibernate.

You will need to keep your hedgehog warm if it has been trying to hibernate. A heating pad is a great way to provide warmth to your hedgehog. You can place the heating pad below the hedgehog’s cage to increase its body temperature slowly.

You can also put your hedgehog inside your shirt and give it skin contact for warmth.

How Do I Know If My Hedgehog is Dying?

It is best to monitor your hedgehog and observe its behaviour so you are always on top of its health. There are many signs that you should be looking for which indicate that your hedgehog is dying.

Hedgehogs are active animals that love to explore and sniff around. However, a dying hedgehog will be lazy and have limited activity. This is an unusual sight because hedgehogs run and make a lot of noise. If your hedgehog has been diagnosed with a tumour or other life-threatening disease, then you know that its life is coming to an end.

Other symptoms of hedgehog dying are in there is blood in its poop and pee. Moreover, coughing, sneezing, and a wheezing hedgehog are also at the risk of dying. When hedgehogs are close to death, they also become weak and lose weight.

If your hedgehog is sick, you will need to give it the best possible care. A sick hedgehog does not have the energy to consume food, so you need to feed it with a syringe. Moreover, you will always need to ensure that your hedgehog remains warm and comfortable.

It is best to prevent any loud noises so your hedgehog does not feel nervous and stressed.

However, if you feel that your hedgehog is in great pain, you also have the option of euthanizing it. Euthanasia is a tough decision and one that you should make after a lot of thinking.


People unfamiliar with hedgehogs and new owners often get scared when they see their hedgehog curled up. A hedgehog who is curled looks dead because it barely moves. However, you can tell that your hedgehog is alive or dead by its body.

A hedgehog does not die naturally curled up.

If you come across a curled-up hedgehog, it means that it is hibernation. You can tell that a hedgehog is hibernating because it takes slow breaths. Moreover, touching the hedgehog will give it a shudder, and you will hear some huffing and puffing.

You can tell if your hedgehog is dying if it becomes lazy, has lost weight, and is experiencing blood in poop and pee. Hence, must take care of your hedgehog by feeding it with a syringe and keeping it warm.

profile photo

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

[the_ad id="1296"]