If you plan to get yourself a new companion and have your eyes set on a hedgehog, you may want to learn a few traits about it. Hedgehogs, like all pets, come with a lot of strange habits. So why do hedgehogs spit on themselves?
It is common for hedgehogs to spit on themselves to mask their scent, in the same way they rub poop on themselves.
Hedgehogs are prey animals and have hence developed self-defence mechanisms. By foaming at the mouth and covering themselves with their spit, hedgehogs will blend into their surroundings and mask their scent.
It is also believed that hedgehogs have toxins in their saliva that keep predators away.
Why Do Hedgehogs Lick Themselves?
New owners may have seen their hedgehogs lick themselves and become worried as this is an odd activity. Self-anointment is common in a lot of animals, and hedgehogs are one of them.
When getting a hedgehog, it is important to learn this behaviour to get to know it better.
When hedgehogs decide to self-anoint, they will randomly start licking themselves and their spines. Hedgehogs foam around their mouth when they are doing so, and they attempt to spread this foam all over themselves.
These spined animals get heavily involved in the process, and it is best not to disturb them when they are busy self-anointing.
Although there has not been a clear reason that has been discovered as to why hedgehogs lick themselves, the process is triggered by scent.
Any changes in the owner’s scent or their surroundings can cause hedgehogs to lick themselves. This is because hedgehogs want to blend into their surroundings. New hedgehogs will often lick themselves until they become accustomed to their environment and owners.
If you introduce a new hedgehog to your existing one, it can be followed by a self-anointing process.
Baby hedgehogs are most often seen anointing themselves as they are still trying to get used to their new surroundings.
There are two reasons why hedgehogs may lick themselves, using their spit to mask their scent. First, in the wild, hedgehogs will foam on themselves to hide from their predators. Second, at home, any loud noises can trigger your hedgehog to feel threatened and lick themselves.
Another reason why hedgehogs may lick themselves is to create a coating with their toxic saliva. Through this toxic protective layer, hedgehogs protect themselves from predators. Since hedgehogs eat toxic animals such as toads, they can produce toxic saliva to protect themselves.
What Does It Mean When a Hedgehog Foams at the Mouth?
If you see your hedgehog foaming at the mouth, do not get startled. Foaming comes naturally to hedgehogs as they are prey animals who spread this foam to mask their scent.
Through masking their scent, hedgehogs can hide from their predators. In addition, as hedgehogs are one of those animals that can consume toxic animals in the wild such as toads, their saliva might have toxins that protect them from other animals.
However, if your hedgehog is foaming but not spreading it and licking itself, there might be an issue with it. Hedgehogs that have a mouth disease or any dental problem can sometimes foam at the mouth.
If your hedgehog has been consistently foaming, it is best to get it checked at the vet. Another reason why your hedgehog might be foaming at the mouth is if they have kibble or food stuck to their mouth.
You must observe your hedgehog’s behaviour and learn about self-anointing. This process is accompanied by foaming and licking. However, if your hedgehog has been foaming consistently, it can be due to health issues that should be checked by your vet immediately.
Is Hedgehog Anointing Bad?
When your hedgehog anoints for the first time, it can be a scary experience for you. However, over the years, the habit of self-anointing has been passed, and it is still present even if your hedgehog is a house pet.
Hedgehog anointing is not bad, and it is a natural occurrence that you should not stop. As hedgehogs have poor vision, they heavily rely on their sense of smell and want to immerse themselves in new scents.
Therefore, anointing is not dangerous for your hedgehog. On the other hand, an anointing hedgehog is a sign that it is perfectly healthy.
Despite being in captivity, your hedgehog will continue to anoint because it is an inherent quality. If you find hedgehog anointment uncomfortable, you can limit it by being careful about introducing new scents to your hedgehog.
You can remain consistent with what scent you chose to wear and ensure that you do not use any soap or soap with a new scent before handling your hedgehog.
It is best not to worry about your hedgehog anointing because that is just how it is. All hedgehogs tend to lick themselves, and through this self-defence behaviour, they can feel safe and protected. Moreover, self-anointing can also be a way to display excitement for any new scents or objects that you introduce to your hedgehog.
Many pet parents are unaware of hedgehogs and their behaviours, and therefore when hedgehogs anoint, they become worried. Hedgehogs lick themselves to mask their scent from predators and preys.
Hedgehogs will foam from the mouth and spread it all over themselves by licking. Although pet hedgehogs remain in captivity, they still self-anoint because this is an inherent quality. Baby hedgehogs self-anoint a lot because they are getting used to their new surroundings.
While foaming is common in hedgehogs, you should still observe your pet to see if they are foaming consistently without licking. Hedgehogs that have a dental problem or infection will sometimes foam.
Moreover, if there is kibble stuck to the roof of your hedgehog’s mouth, it may also foam. Nevertheless, if there is excessive foaming with no self-anointment, you should consult your vet.
Apart from this, hedgehog anointment is not bad, and you should not stop your hedgehog from doing so. A self-anointing hedgehog is a sign that it is healthy.