Hedgehogs are exotic animals that make unique pets. Many people do not have direct experience with hedgehogs and are therefore hesitant to keep them as pets. The more you learn about the unique traits of hedgehogs, the more you can take better care of them. One aspect that often remains unclear to people is if hedgehogs rub poop on themselves?
Hedgehogs rub poop on themselves to mask their scent from predators and preys.
In the wild, hedgehogs have a lot of predators and need to protect themselves. Rubbing their poop on themselves provides a way for the hedgehog to mask its actual scent from any predators lurking by.
Hence, a hedgehog remains safe, and any nearby predator will be unable to detect its presence. Unfortunately, by masking their scent, hedgehogs can also sneak up on their prey.
Do Pet Hedgehogs Need to Rub Poop on Themselves?
Hedgehogs in the wild run poop on themselves to keep the predators at bay. However, if you have a pet hedgehog in captivity, there are no predators at home to stimulate this activity.
Therefore, when you bring your hedgehog home, it will display the poop rubbing behaviour because it will feel threatened in a new environment. However, after you give your hedgehog some time, it will adjust to its new home and realize that it is safe and will not need to rub poop on itself.
If you introduce a new hedgehog to your existing one, it may also rub poop on itself. Moreover, any new scents, such as a new hand soap, can trigger this behaviour.
You can limit or stop your hedgehog from rubbing poop on itself in various ways. The first thing you should do is to clean out your hedgehog’s cage so there is no poop, to begin with.
Since hedgehogs are sensitive to smells, it would be best to avoid any new scents. Hedgehogs have no control over their bowel movements in cases of stress, and hence, you should keep your hedgehog in a peaceful area.
Any loud noises can easily stress your hedgehog and cause it to poop and rub it on itself.
Why Do Hedgehogs Eat Their Own Poop?
Many owners have inquired about hedgehogs eating their poop. Eating their poop is common for hedgehogs, but there is a valid reason for this behaviour.
Hedgehogs eat their poop because they are unable to gain sufficient nutrition from their diet. Since hedgehogs have a small digestive system, they cannot digest food completely.
However, the undigested food, along with the nutrition, is found in their poop, and as a result, hedgehogs will eat their poop.
Eating poop may come off as unusual, but it is surprisingly healthy for hedgehogs to do so. Hedgehogs gain a lot of nutrition and proteins from their poop, as well as cellulite that has been left unprocessed.
The only thing you should look out for is that your hedgehog is not eating poop from other animals. Moreover, eating a sick hedgehog’s poop can also be harmful to your hedgehog.
Why Do Hedgehogs Foam on Themselves?
Another behaviour that hedgehogs commonly exhibit is self-anointing. Hedgehogs self-anoint when the foam from the mouth and lick themselves to spread it around their entire body.
If you have a hedgehog, you may have seen it in a unique position and licking itself. There are several reasons why hedgehogs foam on themselves.
Like all animals, hedgehogs need to protect themselves from possible threats. Hence, foaming on themselves is a way for hedgehogs to add that protective layer that masks their scent.
This self-defence technique leads the hedgehog to hide from its predator.
Another reason why hedgehogs foam on themselves is that they believe that they are applying a poisonous mix. This behaviour indicates that hedgehogs are resistant to many toxins, and their saliva contains toxins that enable them to stay safe from any potential predators.
Seeing your hedgehog foam and spread it around may sometimes worry you, especially if you are experiencing it for the first time. However, it would help if you did not worry, as this behaviour comes naturally to hedgehogs.
Most commonly, you will see baby hedgehogs foaming on themselves as they are still unfamiliar with their environment and new smells.
Why Do Hedgehogs Throw Up on Themselves?
A hedgehog’s self-anointing behaviour is often confused with them throwing up. As a result, many new pet parents, upon noticing self-anointing for the first time, may get worried and think something is wrong with their hedgehog.
When a hedgehog is self-anointing, it will have pale foam around its mouth that spreads all over its spines and body. Hedgehogs will usually display this behaviour after being introduced to a new scent or after being handled.
Baby hedgehogs also self-anoint a lot. However, there is no reason to worry; Hedgehogs are prey animals which means that foaming is a defence mechanism they use to protect themselves from potential predators.
Through foaming and covering themselves with their saliva, hedgehogs can mask their scent and blend into their surroundings. This way, any potential predator lurking by will be unable to detect the hedgehog.
One common trait observed in hedgehogs is that they rub poop on themselves. Hedgehogs in the wild have adopted this self-defence mechanism to mask their scent and hide from predators.
Moreover, by masking their scent, hedgehogs can also sneak behind their prey. However, pet hedgehogs have no predators at home and may not display this behaviour unless they are new pets, stressed, or introduced to another hedgehog.
Hedgehogs also have a self-anointing behaviour where they foam around the mouth and spread it on themselves. Foaming on themselves is also another way for hedgehogs to mask their scent.
Hedgehogs believe that they have toxins in their saliva that keep the predators at bay. Moreover, hedgehogs may also foam because they want to blend into their surroundings. Baby hedgehogs are observed foaming and hedgehogs that have been handled or introduced to a new scent.