Hedgehogs make different noises while carrying out different activities. For example, they make noises when they’re digging burrows. They also make noises to communicate.
Hedgehog noises are quite unfamiliar and uncommon, so you might find yourself concerned or confused if you didn’t know these noises are coming from a hedgehog.
Are hedgehogs noisy? They are! They make a wide range of different noises and sounds, even during their simplest everyday activities like eating or exploring.
Stick around to learn more about hedgehogs and their noises.
Brief Overview of Hedgehogs
Hedgehogs are little mammals that are known for their quills that cover almost all their bodies. They’re as spiky as they look, sporting between 3,000 to 5,000 spikes.
Hedgehogs can quickly roll into a ball and raise their spikes when they feel threatened. This is how they protect the vulnerable, uncovered parts of their bodies, like the head, legs, and tails.
This position also threatens, keeps away, or even hurts predators if they try to uncurl it.
Hedgehog spikes aren’t poisonous. They’re made of hard keratin and the inside is hollow and filled with air. This structure makes them light but strong.
Hedgehogs are explorers, but they have poor eyesight. They rely on their hearing and a strong sense of smell when they dig burrows and look for food. And they will make lots of noises while doing so.
Are Hedgehogs Noisy?
Hedgehogs make different noises through their active time. And sometimes even during their sleep.
They make sounds when they’re hungry, looking for food, eating, and more. It’s like there’s a whole hedgehog language.
Whether you have a hedgehog pet or they’ve invited themselves in a burrow in your backyard, you’re going to hear them a lot during nighttime.
If you have a hedgehog as a pet, it’s best to get to know these noises so you’d be familiar with your hedgehog’s needs and status.
And even if they’re an uninvited resident in your garden or backyard, you’ll need to understand their language for sanity’s sake, so you won’t be nervous every time you hear a new sound.
When Do Hedgehogs Make Noises?
Hedgehogs are nocturnal animals. This means they’re active during the night and sleep during the day.
Hedgehogs sleep up to 18 hours a day. If you have a hedgehog pet and you hear lots of noises at night, rest assured that it’s your hedgehog making these noises.
Their sounds vary from eating with a chomping noise to exploring with a grunting noise. These are day-to-day sounds, but things can go in a louder and different way.
If a hedgehog goes through any unpleasant situation or even just a little discomfort, it’ll start to make unpleasant noises that could be as loud as a scream!
Why Do Hedgehogs Make Noises?
Hedgehogs are quite vocal. They make sounds for many reasons. These spiky little creatures make sounds to communicate with each other, with other animals, and with their owners.
They also have sounds that express their state and feelings, in addition to sounds that simply accompany their daily activity.
Sounds that hedgehogs make are sometimes loud or high-pitched, and it’s surprising to know it’s coming from a hedgehog.
Most Common Hedgehog Noises
In this section, we’ll shed light on some of the most common sounds hedgehogs make during their nightly active time. These noises can be heard whether the hedgehog is a pet of yours or in the wild.
There are many words that people use to describe the sounds they hear from hedgehogs, but everyone agrees that hedgehogs have a wide range of sounds.
Some of these noises are happy ones that express their comfort and satisfaction, like chirping and grunting, or clicking kissing noises.
And other noises express their fear, pain, or distress. These noises are hissing, squealing, and screaming.
Without further ado, let’s take a look at some of the most common hedgehog noises:
1 – Grunting
This is the most heard noise a hedgehog makes. This is the sound it makes when searching for food, exploring, or just roaming around.
The grunting isn’t considered a serious sound; it’s more of a resting sound. It sounds like a pig’s grunt, and this is where the hedgehog gets its hog part of its name from.
2 – Chuffing
Sometimes described as chugging, this sound is always described as the sound of an old steam train—a small one. It’s usually heard during May or June when it’s the mating season.
The chuffing sound is made by the female hedgehog when a male approaches her. This isn’t an approval sound, but rather to send them away.
3 – Huffing and Puffing
It’s a sound that is similar to a strong release of pressured air. There are two situations where a hedgehog can be heard huffing and puffing.
The huffing and puffing noise marks the mating season of hedgehogs. They huff and puff while going around in circles.
Hedgehogs also huff and puff when they feel threatened or nervous. If you’re too close to a wild hedgehog, or if you introduce another hedgehog to your current pet hedgehog and it doesn’t feel safe, you’ll find it making such noises.
4 – Hissing
This is a sound that shows distress, fear, or pain. It means the hedgehog is scaring away other hedgehogs or calling for attention.
It’s a sound you might often hear, seeing as hedgehogs use it a lot, like a firm message to other hedgehogs, people, and other animals to stay clear.
If the hissing sound is accompanied by jumping and a click sound, this is serious. This means the hedgehog is extremely frightened and nervous.
A new mom female hedgehog uses its hissing sound for the hoglets to know where she is and reach for her belly.
5 – Clicking Kissing Sound
This is the cutest sound a hedgehog makes, and it’s more adorable to know that a hedgehog makes this sound when it’s happy and comfortable.
6 – Popping
Also described as a clicking or barking sound. This noise can be heard from a hedgehog in two situations: fear or challenge.
When a hedgehog is crossed, unpleased, or very agitated, they make this popping sound. If you hear that sound, it means you should keep your distance, or you might be attacked and stabbed with spikes.
This sound is accompanied by the famous movement of hedgehogs; balling up. The hedgehog will turn instantly to a ball of spikes, hiding its head, belly, and feet.
Male hedgehogs also make this sound like a challenge to other males, especially during mating season.
7 – Scream
Hedgehogs can’t cry. They compensate for this with a screaming sound.
This high-pitched squeal means that the hedgehog is in danger. It’s either fighting with another hedgehog, or the hedgehog is panicking as it’s in great distress or hurt.
8 – Squeal
This is different from screaming. It’s more of a happy squeal. It’s heard when the mail hedgehog is excited to meet another female one.
9 – Snoring
Hedgehogs snore when they’re sleeping peacefully. If you hear a hedgehog snoring, this means it’s feeling safe and enjoying its nap.
Snoring while they’re awake on the other hand might indicate a respiratory problem.
10 – Chirping or Squeaking
This sound is sometimes confused with baby birds’ sound. It’s also described as squeaking sounds.
If you hear this sound, there’s probably a hedgehog mom somewhere near. You can either try to help it nest by providing a cartoon box or just leave it to nest on its own.
The sound of baby hoglets is also very similar to baby birds chirping. If so, leave the hedgehog with its small hoglets alone.
It’s also the sound of male hedgehogs courting a female hedgehog.
11 – Quacking
Hedgehogs are pretty dramatic. Even when a hedgehog isn’t in serious trouble, it will make a loud duck-like quacking noise.
They would make this sound if they’re stuck for a couple of seconds or can’t go through a tunnel. They’ll also make this quacking sound if they’re simply hungry.
12 – Sleep Noises
Hedgehog’s dream, and they do so with enthusiasm. Hedgehogs move their legs and make sounds while they’re sleeping.
They make the same noises they do when they’re awake. They might actually have a nightmare and scream while they’re still sleeping.
This is nothing to worry about. They aren’t in danger, nor do they need your help or attention.
13 – Sneezing, Coughing, or Wheezing
These aren’t normal hedgehog sounds. Sneezing, if it’s only once or twice, it’s fine, and it’s the cutest thing to watch. But if the sneezing continues, you’ll need to reach out to a vet.
Dry or wet coughing, if persistent, is a serious sound to consider. An unclean cage, a respiratory infection, or simply something caught in its throat can cause the hedgehog to cough.
Sneezing, if accompanied by coughing and heavy breathing, could be a sign of a respiratory infection.
Noises Hedgehogs Make as Pets
It is important to do your research before deciding to get a hedgehog as a pet. There are safety measures and precautions that you must consider when getting a hedgehog as a pet.
Hedgehogs as pets will need to be put in comfortable, healthy, and suitable environments. A proper-sized cage with bedding, a running wheel, a crawling tunnel, and a ball.
When a hedgehog is up during nighttime, they use these items. Each comes with its own sound in addition to the sounds the hedgehog makes while using them.
A hedgehog’s cage must be covered with bedding for warmth and easier cleaning. This bedding’s material could be fabric, wood shavings, or paper-based.
Wood shavings and paper-based bedding will make soft noises when the hedgehog is actively moving around at night.
Hedgehogs need to exercise to stay healthy. If a pet hedgehog doesn’t exercise daily, it will quickly develop serious health issues.
Hedgehogs love running wheels. They spend a significant amount of time on the wheel at night.
If the running wheel isn’t of good quality, you’ll hear it spinning all night long, as well as the sound of the hedgehog getting on and off it.
The crawling tunnel gives a hedgehog the same feel as the burrows in the wild. A hedgehog uses it to hide, sleep or explore.
During their active time during the night, your pet hedgehog will be going in and out of the crawling tunnel a lot.
This activity will definitely make some noise and will be even louder if the cage is not covered with proper bedding.
A hedgehog needs exercise and entertainment. A toy ball—sometimes available with attached bells or with rattles for extra amusement—is a good way to do so.
Your hedgehog will push the ball around or just bump into them. This activity will cause some noises at night that you’ll definitely hear, but they’re happy noises.
Facts About Hedgehog Noises
Scientists believe that the range of noises that hedgehogs make isn’t to communicate with humans. Their noises have variable frequencies, of which some aren’t even audible to humans.
Humans sense sounds in a frequency range of about 20 Hz to 20 kHz. Any frequency above that is called an ultrasonic frequency.
Astonishingly, the hoglet’s clicking sound when they’re hungry, for example, reaches up to 37 kHz.
When hedgehogs’ noises were filtered to the frequency range that only humans can hear and played back to the hedgehogs, they showed very little to no interest at all.
What’s the benefit of ultrasonic frequencies to the hedgehogs?
Hedgehogs are insectivores. Meaning, they prey on insects for their basic diet. The ability to hear ultrasonic frequencies enables the hedgehogs to hear the signals of insects, which helps them locate their prey.
Not all hedgehogs have the same range of communication sounds. Different species of hedgehogs have different dialects.
They have basic sounds and signals similarities that are understood by all species. But there are other ones that are completely unknown or recognizable by other hedgehog species.
Are hedgehogs noisy? The answer is yes. Hedgehogs are vocal and quite expressive. They make a variety of sounds through their daily activities.
If a hedgehog isn’t rolling, hissing, barking, or puffing near you, this means it feels comfortable and safe. This is a good sign that it won’t hurt you in any way.
Pay attention to the sounds and noises they make to understand their expressive language and needs.
I have a bachelor’s degree in Computer Information Systems and over 10 years of experience working in IT. I have a wife and two children and love taking them to the zoo to see all the animals. I grew up with dogs and fish and now have two dogs and two cats. I’ve also played guitar for almost 20 years and love writing music, although it’s hard to find the time these days.