If you have seen a hedgehog curled into a ball, it looks like a cushion of pins. While most people are fond of keeping hedgehogs as pets, some are still unfamiliar with their mechanisms such as why do hedgehogs roll into a ball and what is the purpose of their quills?
Hedgehogs roll into a ball when they detect danger. They roll into a ball so that their entire body is covered in upright spikes which put off potential predators.
When hedgehogs feel threatened or notice a predator, they raise their quills and roll into a ball. If a predator goes near the hedgehog and tries to hurt it, it will only hurt itself. Therefore, the hedgehog keeps the predators at bay through its defence mechanism.
By turning into a ball, hedgehogs protect their soft underbelly that does not have quills.
How Do Hedgehogs Curl into a Ball?
A hedgehog’s back is entirely covered with quills, and it curls into a ball with the help of its back muscles. Hedgehogs turn into a ball as the muscles spread the quills out, making them sharper. Next, hedgehogs tuck in their legs and face inside and curl into a tight ball.
What Should You Do If Your Hedgehog is Rolled into a Ball?
If you think you cannot detect your hedgehog rolling into a ball, do not worry. When your hedgehog rolls into a ball, it is an obvious sight. You can tell your hedgehog is a spiked ball because it looks different from its usual state.
When your hedgehog turns into a ball, all you will see are its raised sharp quills. This is because the hedgehog takes its legs and face and hides them. So the only visible part of the hedgehog is the quills.
Most pet owners do not know how to react when their hedgehog rolls into a ball. As pet owners, you may become worried that your hedgehog is stressed or nervous. However, when your hedgehog rolls into a ball, you should not disturb it.
Often hedgehogs need time alone, and they may roll into a ball because they do not feel like interacting. Therefore, it is best to leave the hedgehog alone until it unrolls and goes back to being social.
If you come across a situation where your hedgehog is curled into a ball, and you must place it somewhere else, you can do so. However, remember that you need to be gentle with the hedgehog and carry it without any quick movements. Hedgehogs can get startled easily. Therefore, it is best to be slow and steady with your pet.
You should not hold your hedgehog for too long if it is curled up. Instead, hold the hedgehog softly and gently put it in its cage.
Why Is a Hedgehog Staying in a Ball?
As a pet parent, you may encounter a situation when your hedgehog curls into a ball and remains in that state. Naturally, it can be worrisome for a pet owner to see their hedgehog in this state. However, there can be many reasons why your hedgehog stays in a ball.
Your hedgehog may have noticed new smells around the house. Hedgehogs are sensitive to smells and can detect new ones quickly. Therefore, if there is a new smell in the house, it will be unfamiliar to your hedgehog, causing it to curl into a ball and stay like that.
Other factors also come into play when hedgehogs stay in a ball. For example, when hedgehogs encounter pets or new objects, they may curl into a ball until that object is gone. Hedgehogs feel threatened and curl into balls until they feel comfortable again.
However, you need to be careful if your hedgehog remains curled into a ball for a long time.
A drop in temperature can cause hedgehogs to go into hibernation mode. While it is fine for wild hedgehogs to hibernate, pet hedgehogs cannot do so. This is because pet hedgehogs do not have enough body fat to help them survive hibernation.
If your hedgehog is in a ball for a long period, there is a chance that it is hibernating. You must consult the vet immediately and slowly increase the room temperature, so your hedgehog wakes up.
Do All Hedgehogs Curl into a Ball?
Although hedgehogs are famous for curling into a ball, pet parents have never seen their hedgehogs do so. So, the question is, do all hedgehogs curl into a ball?
To answer the question, not all hedgehogs will curl into a ball. Some hedgehogs will feel safe and secure with their owners and will not need to curl into a ball.
While some hedgehogs may not feel the need to curl into a ball, some cannot curl. Hedgehogs are small animals who gain weight easily. Hence, if a hedgehog is not getting enough exercise or is consuming too much food, it will get fat.
Getting fat is not ideal for hedgehogs because then they cannot curl into balls.
However, if your hedgehog is not fat but is still unable to curl, then it means it has a serious medical condition. Therefore, if this happens, you must consult the vet immediately about your hedgehog.
Hedgehogs are most notable for the sharp quills on their back. Many people are still unaware as to why hedgehogs curl into a ball. Hedgehogs curl into a ball to protect themselves from predators. When hedgehogs feel threatened or anxious, they raise their quills and turn into balls.
Any predator who tries to get close to the hedgehog will only hurt itself. If you find your hedgehog curled into a ball, you should let it be. Hedgehogs are solitary animals and prefer their alone time.
Your hedgehog may stay in a ball for long if it feels threatened or detects a new scent. If other pets encounter the hedgehog, it may stay like a ball. However, hedgehogs also curl if they get ready to hibernate. Therefore, keep track of the room temperature to avoid pet hedgehogs from hibernating.