Recent statistics say that about 65% of American families own pets. While hedgehogs are not among the most popular pets, they’re not growing in popularity.
One of the reasons that people opt for petting hedgehogs is because they don’t smell like other pets do. This is one of the best traits of a hedgehog. Their skin doesn’t stink. However, they may stench if you do not provide them the right care.
It’s not that hedgehogs can clean themselves. The truth is that they have no scent glands like other pets do, which is why they do not have a strong body scent.
What contributes most to a pet’s odor is the presence of ammonia in their feces and urine. However, there’s only a little amount of ammonia in a hedgehog’s urine which is why they do not smell like other pets do.
As for the feces, the odor depends on their diet. In some cases, the feces may produce a lot of smell.
Let’s get to know more about hedgehog smells:
Table of Contents
What Could Be The Reason For The Hedgehog To Smell Bad All Of A Sudden?
There can be many reasons why your pet hedgehog has started to smell all of a sudden.
The very first thing that you should look into is the diet you’re feeding your hedgehog with. It is normal for the feces to smell if the pet is consuming a diet that lacks vital nutrients.
Another common reason for hedgehogs to smell is a lack of cleaning. If you’ve confined your hedgehog to a cage and you do not clean the cage on a regular basis then the poop and urine accumulated inside can begin to smell.
While the amount of ammonia released from their feces is less, not cleaning their shit immediately can increase the presence of ammonia and make the cage smell bad.
Once the cage begins to smell bad, so will the pet because they tend to roam around the cage and the feces/urine lying on the floor can get stuck to their feet, fur, and face causing them to smell, too.
Moreover, it’s important to note that the urine of a male hedgehog is stronger than the urine of a female hedgehog. This means that you must clean a male hedgehog’s cage more often than a female hedgehog’s cage.
What To Do If The Hedgehog Begins To Smell Bad?
The first thing you need to do is give them a bath. While they only require a bath about twice a month, you should not delay if your pet is already giving off a bad smell.
How To Bathe A Hedgehog:
Here are the steps that you must follow when bathing your hedgehog.
- Things You Need When Bathing A Hedgehog: Baby shampoo, a towel, and a toothbrush that has soft bristles.
- Prepare a small tub and put a mat inside the tub. If you do not have a tub then you can bathe them in a sink as well. Placing a non-slip mat is important because hedgehogs have sensitive skin and they tend to slip a lot. A non-slip mat will ensure that they stay in their place and do not get hurt.
- Fill the sink/tub with at least 3 inches of water. Make sure that the water is moderate. Avoid water that’s too hot or too cold. The water should only cover their feet. Avoid submerging the pet in water.
- Take a dime size of shampoo and apply gently onto the pet’s fur. Be very gentle as their pointy quills could hurt you. Form a lather and spread it to their belly, underside, back, and legs. Make sure that the shampoo doesn’t go into their eyes.
- Grab a toothbrush and begin to scrub off their skin and quills very gently. Always scrub in the direction of their quills and not against as doing so may hurt them.
- Now fill a mug or a cup with warm water and rinse your hedgehog. Make sure that no shampoo is left on their skin or any part of the body because it could cause a reaction later on.
- Now take them out of the tub/sink and wrap them in a towel. Very gently dry them off.
Note: Hedgehogs often get nervous when you try to bathe them which is why they might poop in the tub/sink. Therefore, it’s better to be patient and let them calm first. Start by pouring a little bit of warm water so that they know they’re out for a bath. If they poop, clean the area and then start bathing them.
Things To Do To Make Sure Your Hedgehog Doesn’t Smell Bad
- Train Them: When your hedgehog has spent some time with you and has adjusted to the surroundings, they’d be easy to tame. While hedgehogs and taming don’t go hand in hand, a good bond with them can help you teach them a few things.
What you do need to do is observe their routine closely. Create a schedule, i.e: give them their meal at a specific time. Now, observe their routine and calculate when they shit. It is natural for hedgehogs to follow a routine. This can help you understand when it’s time for them to shit.
Once you’ve figured out their routine, you need to be there before they poop. You can take your pet to the bathroom to poop or place a container inside the cage and hold the animal above this container so they can get it done. Repeat this for a few days and they’d get habitual of repeating the process.
This way, you won’t have to clean off the entire cage. You can simply take the container out, empty it, clean it, and place it back inside. It’s less hassle than to clean off the entire cage 4-5 times a day.
- Give Them A Proper Diet: If you want to keep your hedgehog in good health and ensure that they do not get an upset stomach that could make their feces stink badly then here are the foods you need to give them:
Their diet should consist of two things: low fats and high proteins.
- Proteins: 28% – 32%
- Fats: Less than 10%
- Fiber: More than 4%.
Opt for dry cat food instead of canned foods as the latter do not have all the vital nutrients. Moreover, steer clear from giving them fish or fish flavored foods because they could upset a hedgehog’s stomach.
Never feed raw meat to your pet even if they seem to enjoy it. Always give them roasted, boiled, grilled or cooked meat.
They love eating insects such as worms, crickets, and caterpillars. You can add insects to their diet but make sure to include other things as ell. An insect-only diet can be bad for your pet and cause them to stink, too.
Include fruits and vegetables to the diet as well. Some good options include(If you want to know more details, Click here):
Safe vegetables include:
- Cooked carrot
- Corn (small amounts)
- Green beans
- Non-spicy pepper
When you pet a hedgehog, make sure to take cleanliness seriously so that your pet doesn’t stink and succumb to diseases. Keep the cage clean at all times and give them a proper diet.
It’s easy to keep a hedgehog. You may face a bit of difficulty in the beginning but things will eventually get okay.