Mites are tiny creatures that can attack a hedgehog and cause it to fall sick. Mites can be white, red or black in color and are very tiny, hence can be difficult to spot.
They can disturb your pet hedgehogs leaving behind dark red spots and rashes. Mites not only harm their skin but also affect the spines, hair, and. Mite infestation can, in fact, cause hedgehogs to even fall sick, which is why it is important to take steps to remove mites.
Known as Actiarisis, the condition can be very serious. Almost all hedgehogs become a victim at some point in life but not all pets may show signs of an attack.
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How Do Hedgehogs Get Mites?
It is important to know how hedgehogs get mites in order to protect your pet from an attack. Here are some of the main causes of a mites attack:
Bedding: Mites are attracted to smell, dirt, and waste. This is why it is important to keep the bedding clean as dirty bedding can be a haven for mites. They thrive in it.
Hedgehogs spend a good amount of time in the bed. If the bedding is infested, the pet will surely get attacked. This is, in fact, the most common cause of a mite attack.
Stress: The truth is that mites remain dormant on a hedgehog’s skin if they have a strong immune system. This is why stress can be a problem since it can cause the pet’s immune system to weaken.
Such conditions can cause the mites to get active and attack the animal.
Pet Store: A hedgehog can get mites from an already infected hedgehog or other animals. Most of the hedgehogs get mites from the pet store, not because they are not kept clean but because they could be placed next to an infected pet.
Mites can move from one pet to another, this is why it is important to be careful.
How To Prevent Mites From Attacking A Hedgehog?
There are a few steps that you can take as a precaution to prevent mites from attacking a hedgehog. Remember that it may not entirely be possible to prevent an attack but you can take steps to reduce the risk:
Do not leave a bedding dirty: Always clean the bedding and make sure no food leftover or waste is left.
Hedgehogs love their surroundings clean but they may not be able to remove litter. Hence, make sure to do the job. Cleaning once a day would be enough in most cases.
Bath: Hedgehogs love to bathe. In fact, some may even take a dip on their own but it’s still important to give your pet a bath once a month using a proper shampoo.
Check out this guide on how to bath your hedgehog.
Freeze The Food: Believe it or not, mites may be present in pet food and the food you feed your animal. The best way to kill mites is to refrigerate the food prior to giving it to your hedgehog.
The freezing temperature will kill mites present in the food and reduce the risk of an attack.
Freeze The Bedding: As mentioned earlier, low temperatures can kill mites. This is why it may be a nice idea to freeze the bedding as well.
Keeping it in the refrigerator for about a day would be enough.
Take Care Of Other Pets: Since mites can transfer from one pet to another, you must make sure to take care of all pets you own including other hedgehogs, dogs, and cats.
It may be a wise idea to ensure your new pet is free from mites before you buy one.
How To Spot Mites On A Hedgehog
- Spine/Hair Loss: Spine and hair loss is a major sign of mite. The loss may not always be rapid, hence you must pay special attention to the hair on the body of your pet.
Moreover, spine and hair loss begins at a later stage. If you see such signs, it may mean the situation has already worsened, so make sure to be quick.
- Scratching/Licking/Biting: If you see your pet hedgehog licking, scratching and biting its skin off then it might be due to a mite attack. This is one of the earliest symptoms of a mites attack.
- Weight loss: Mites don’t just sit on the fur but burrow deep into the skin and lay eggs. These eggs can leave behind an infection that affects the hedgehog’s health and blood supply.
This can lead to digestive issues causing the animal to lose weight and appear weak.
- Dull: Hedgehogs are playful creatures who love to run on wheels, jump around, roll on their back, and play with their surroundings. However, a mite attack can cause your pet to get dull and lethargic.
If you see the pet sitting around all night, it might be due to mites.
- Bald Spots: Mites do not affect the entire skin and fur at the same time. They work on a single spot first. If your hedgehog has lost quills and hair from a specific spot then it might be the doing of mites.
The infection causes such a severe itching that the hedgehog itself might break its quills while scratching. Thus, leaving behind bald spots. If you see such issues, you must take action quickly or the pet may sustain more damage.
- Dandruff: Hedgehogs have dry skin. Mites, however, can cause even more damage, resulting in dandruff.
How To Treat Mites
You may not be able to treat the condition on your own, hence consider taking the animal to a vet.
The vet would perform a scrape test which involves scraping the skin and looking under a microscope for the presence of mites. Once you get a confirmation, you can follow various treatment options:
- Use anti-parasitic chemicals or medications on the hedgehog (recommended by the vet).
- Use revolution (selamectin or ivermectin). It can be taken orally or applied on the skin. It can be effective in killing mites. Not only that, but it may also be effective in preventing them from occurring again (for a month). One vial can cost between $20-$50 and the dosage is 1-2 drops between the shoulder blades.
- Any other option suggested by the professional.
It can take a while for miles to completely disappear and there is always the risk of another attack so make sure to take precautions.
Can Mites Invade Humans As Well?
Not really. Mites do not like to live on humans because they are fond of furry beings. Therefore, you can breathe a sigh of relief knowing that you and your family members are safe.
However, it is still recommended to not play with pets if they are under an attack as mites may cause itching and other such problems. If your house is under an attack then it may be wise to call a pest infestation company and get rid of mites.
How Do Hedgehogs Get Mites:The Bottomline
Mites do not only irritate hedgehogs but can also lead to illnesses and other serious concerns. This is why it is important to find a solution as quickly as possible. You do not want your pet hedgehog to fall sick.