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Are Hedgehogs Territorial? (And Do They Fight?)

Are Hedgehogs Territorial? (And Do They Fight?)

The purpose of this blog is to share general information and is written to the author's best knowledge. It is not intended to be used in place of veterinary advice. For health concerns, please seek proper veterinary care.

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Raising a hedgehog can be an excellent decision for novice owners, but there are a few things that you need to take into consideration if you’re raising this little and unusual pet.

Luckily, hedgehogs are easy to care for and don’t require much training. All you have to do is to pick the proper enclosure for your pet hedgehog, set it up with the right bedding material, and it will be good enough to keep it comfortable and warm.

But are hedgehogs territorial? Can you keep more than one hedgehog in the same enclosure? Should you get your pet hedgehog a new friend that it can play with? The answers to all these questions can be found in this article, so keep on reading.

Are Hedgehogs Territorial?

If you’ve been watching hedgehogs in the garden, you might have encountered some of them fighting and pushing each other. While this interaction can be fascinating and intriguing, it might be alarming if you’re a pet owner and want to decide on the best setup for your hedgehog.

Hedgehogs aren’t territorial and typically won’t engage in fierce fights over their territory. However, they have their own home range that they like to keep to themselves and might try to push another hedgehog away if they feel threatened.

The spines on the hedgehog’s back work for defense but not so much for attacking other animals. When the hedgehog feels threatened, it transforms itself into a prickly ball to protect itself, but it can’t use these spines to hurt other animals, including other hedgehogs.

Hedgehogs also have weak claws and teeth. They use them to eat and navigate their area but will use them to attack other hedgehogs in rare situations.

In the wild, multiple hedgehogs might share the same area and look for food at night, but these are solitary animals, and they appreciate the space given to one another. If a hedgehog comes too close, the other one might fight it off just to keep it away from its private area. They don’t fight over territory, but they do over personal space.

Also, hedgehogs don’t bond for life or have a group hierarchy, which is the main reason why other animals fight. They’re solitary animals and don’t live in groups.

The male and the female don’t mate for life or raise their litter together. In some cases, male hedgehogs might engage in fights because they’re fighting over a female.

Can I Keep Two Hedgehogs in the Same Enclosure?

Because hedgehogs are solitary animals, they prefer living on their own. Once you’ve set up the right housing and bedding material for your pet hedgehog, it will enjoy living on its own and won’t feel lonely.

In some cases, you can introduce another hedgehog to the enclosure, especially if you want to breed hedgehogs, but it’s not recommended.

You can keep two hedgehogs together by following these tips to make sure that they don’t fight.

  • Before introducing another hedgehog from the pet store, keep it quarantined for a month to prevent transferring diseases to your pet.
  • Set up two cages or enclosures in the same room and allow the hedgehogs to watch each other from a distance. After a while, bring the two enclosures closer and keep an eye on your hedgehogs’ reactions.
  • Move some of the bedding material from one cage to another. This will help the hedgehogs get used to each other’s scents.
  • Bring both hedgehogs out of their cages and let them get to know each other in neutral territory. Watch how the hedgehogs play or interact with each other, and remove them away from one another if you notice that they’re starting to fight.
  • Make sure that there’s enough space for both hedgehogs in the enclosure. A minimum of a 2 by 4 feet enclosure would be suitable but go for something bigger if you can, as this will reduce the likelihood of fights between the hedgehogs.
  • Set up the new shared cage with enough bedding material, toys, sleeping spots, and litter trays for both hedgehogs so they don’t compete. Provide an adequate amount of food and water regularly to keep them well-nourished.
  • Pairing a female hedgehog with another female of a similar age usually works better than pairing a female with a male. You shouldn’t pair a pregnant female with a younger female because it might get aggressive.
  • Sister hedgehogs that belong to the same mother are more likely to live happily together since they’re already used to each other’s presence since birth.
  • Consider pairing a younger hedgehog with an older one. Older hedgehogs can be more tolerant of younger individuals, regardless of their gender.
  • Avoid pairing two male hedgehogs together. This is the most unsuccessful pairing, as the males are likely to engage in dominance fights that can lead to serious injuries. However, if these two males have been together since birth, they might live in harmony, although one of them might perform courting rituals to attract the other male.
  • Avoid pairing a male with a female unless you’re planning to breed your hedgehogs. Short playtime usually results in a pregnancy and might lead to a big fight between the hedgehogs.
  • Keep an eye on your hedgehogs after putting them in the same cage. Some touching and frequent squealing can be tolerated, but make sure that they’re not hurting each other.
  • Watch the weight of your hedgehogs. If you notice obesity in one while the other is getting thinner, this might indicate a problem. You can also watch the fecal output of both hedgehogs to see if one of them is taking all the food for itself.
  • Make sure that you have an extra cage for emergencies. For example, if one of the hedgehogs gets extremely aggressive or if they start fighting non-stop, you need to separate them immediately to avoid fatal injuries.
  • After the separation, watch your hedgehogs for a while. Some hedgehogs get accustomed to companionship and might suffer from separation depression if they have to spend time on their own.

When Should I Separate Hedgehogs from Their Parents?

Hedgehogs don’t mate for life, and the male doesn’t raise the babies with the female. As a matter of fact, in the wild, the male is likely to mate with several females during the same breeding season and sometimes even on the same day.

It’s quite common for pet owners to confuse mating for fights, but if you notice aggression between a male and a female, you should separate them.

Once the mother hedgehog has given birth, it will solely take care of the babies. The young hedgehogs can stay with their mother for several weeks, but no other adult hedgehog should be in the enclosure, as the mother can become quite aggressive while defending her young.

Young hedgehogs usually tolerate their siblings and prefer to sleep together during the first months. After the babies have been weaned at the age of two months, you can start separating the hedgehogs and moving them into separate cages. If you choose to keep some of them together, you can keep one of the younger females with the mother or two sister hedgehogs together.

How Should I Prepare the Cage for My Hedgehogs?

In their natural habitat, hedgehogs spend a significant amount of their time looking for and compiling bedding materials to build their nests. When you’re keeping a hedgehog as a pet, you can provide these materials and let the hedgehog build its bed on its own.

Dry leaves and hay make the cage feel more natural to your hedgehog, so it will help it get used to its new environment. You can also add shredded paper, shredded newspaper sheets, wood pellets, and wood shavings. Avoid cedar shavings because they can be irritating, and choose dust-extracted hay to make your pet hedgehog more comfortable.

You should also provide a hiding place where the hedgehog can feel more private and safer. If you’re keeping two hedgehogs in the same enclosure, provide both hedgehogs with their own private hiding spots.

A PVC tubing, small wooden box, or a semi-inverted flower pot will work as it gives the hedgehog the chance to avoid the light and other hedgehogs if it needs to.

In the winter months, provide your hedgehog with some extra warmth by introducing warm fleece fabric into the nest. Make sure that there are no frayed threads that can harm the hedgehog’s small legs if they get entangled.

Final Thoughts

Hedgehogs aren’t territorial, but they’re solitary. They won’t engage in fights unless they’re competing for food and space in the wild because these little creatures enjoy and appreciate their privacy.

When kept as pets, it’s best to keep each hedgehog in a separate enclosure. However, some hedgehogs can tolerate companionship, especially female hedgehogs that have spent most of their lives with their mother and siblings.

If you’re planning to introduce another hedgehog to your current pet’s cage, do this very slowly and keep a close eye on them. Avoid pairing adult males together, and make sure that each hedgehog has enough space, food, and water.

If you notice any excessive fighting, then it might be better to separate the hedgehogs temporarily or permanently to avoid serious injuries.

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Gary Turner

Thursday 28th of July 2022

While I applaude your effort to share information, I would take issue with some of your terminology. Refering to hedgehogs as pets and giving them enclosures, is surely sending the wrong message? Hedgehoga are endagered wild creatures and while we can assist them to survive and even thrive, we should not try to constrain them, unless they are injured and in need of care. We are visited by a hedgehog every evening, he started coming last summer and we left food and drink for him every night. We set up a hibernation box for him but he was not interested and when he stopped coming in late September we thought that was the end to a lovely little adventure. The hedgehog seems to have other ideas and has started visiting again this summer, we are delighted to see him and to share with him, but we would never presume to call him a pet or try to constrain him. I shall provide a hibernation box again this year, but if he doesn't like it, we will just look forward to seeing him again next year.

Last night we had 2 hedgehogs visit - we think for the first time - my reason for looking at your blog was to try and find out if they will co-habit or are they likely to fight?