Hedgehogs are certainly unique pets. There are some huge differences between cats, dogs and other normal pets compared to hedgehogs which is why it is important to know all there is about hedgehogs. So let’s start with the basics: Quilling, what is it and why do hedgehog quill?
Quilling is a process where hedgehogs lose their quills and grow new ones.
When hedgehogs are young, they will lose their initial (baby) quills to get adult quills. Young hedgehogs have soft quills, which fall and are replaced by stronger, adult quills. Quilling is a painful process. Like how a child loses their teeth, hedgehogs will be uncomfortable.
You must take extra care of your hedgehog during this time.
How Long Does Quilling Last for a Hedgehog?
While all hedgehogs undergo the process of quilling, they will have different experiences. How long the quilling process lasts depends on several factors. For example, the age of the hedgehog, genetics and how well they are being taken care of.
For some hedgehogs, it can take several weeks, while for another it may take around a month. You can see how far your hedgehog is into the process by observing the quills on their back. You will notice small spikes growing, and especially if your hedgehog is quilling for the first time, they will be visible.
What Happens When a Hedgehog is Quilling?
All hedgehogs will undergo this process. During quilling, hedgehogs will lose their quills, the ones they acquired at birth to be replaced by new, adult ones. The quills young hedgehogs have are soft in comparison to the hard adult quills.
Quilling is quite a slow process, and like a baby who is teething, it is uncomfortable.
When hedgehogs are quilling, they will feel irritated and moody. Quilling will lead to soreness as hard spines penetrate from the hedgehog’s skin. Therefore, it is best to leave your hedgehog alone as it probably does not want to be handled.
During the process, you can give your hedgehog a warm oatmeal bath so it feels at ease. You can give the bath when quilling is bad, and you can see the quilling getting harsh by observing your hedgehog’s skin.
When you see the thick and hard quills poking through your hedgehog’s skin, you will know. Some hedgehogs can go through the quilling process without feeling any pain, while it can be painful for some.
Hedgehogs will also go through more rounds of quilling. However, quilling is not as bad for hedgehogs as the first time. But if you notice hedgehogs losing their quills excessively and not getting replaced, it can be due to health reasons.
In this scenario, it is best to visit the vet immediately.
What Are Some Symptoms of Hedgehog Quilling?
If you are a new hedgehog owner, you must look out for symptoms of hedgehogs losing their quills. Usually, if your hedgehog is docile, it can become uncomfortable and annoyed during the quilling stage.
Your hedgehog would not want you to pick it up, and you should give it some space.
Another sign that your hedgehog is quilling is the growth of new quills. When you look carefully at your hedgehog, you will notice the growth of new, small quills. If a hedgehog is losing quills without growing any new ones, it can signify a problem.
It would help if you also looked at some of the fallen quills. When hedgehogs lose quills during quilling, you will see a bulb at the end of the quills.
How Can I Look After My Hedgehog During Quilling?
As aforementioned, you can relieve your hedgehog of some of the discomfort it faces by giving it an oatmeal bath. The bath will provide comfort, and it should be all-natural as chemicals can dry out the hedgehog’s skin.
However, it would help if you only stuck to giving baths once or twice a week as too many can be drying for the hedgehog.
Hedgehogs naturally have dry skin; therefore, the quilling process hurts more. It is best if you moisturize your hedgehog’s skin using oils like vitamin E oil. You can hold the kisses and cuddling time with your hedgehog until the quilling is over.
Most hedgehogs do not like to be held as the new quills rub against objects and therefore cause greater discomfort.
What Are Other Reasons Hedgehogs Can Lose Quills?
A hedgehog losing its quills is a natural process that all hedgehogs go through. An adult hedgehog has around 5000 quills, and almost all of them are replaced during its lifetime.
However, while quilling is natural, we do not turn a blind eye to whenever our hedgehog begins to lose its quills. It is important to track how often your hedgehog loses quills and if new ones are replacing them.
If your hedgehog is not getting new quills, it can be because of a health problem. Hedgehogs tend to hide their illnesses, and they often show up this way.
In addition, hedgehogs can also lose their quills because of mites. Other reasons for hedgehogs losing quills are hormonal imbalance, stress, and lack of nutrition in their diet.
Quilling is a natural process that all hedgehogs through. When hedgehogs are young, they will lose their quills and get new adult ones. Young hedgehogs have soft quills, while adult hedgehogs have stronger quills.
The process can be uncomfortable for hedgehogs. While hedgehogs are going through quilling, they will be irritable and moody. It can last for a few weeks or a month, depending on the genes and age of hedgehogs.
You can look out for symptoms like fallen quills or check the tip of quills to see a bulb to know if your hedgehog is quilling. However, hedgehogs can also lose quills because of stress, health problems and mites.
If quills are not growing back, you must consult a vet immediately.