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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Out of all the different kinds of pets that people can love and appreciate, there are some that are going to be a lot less common than others. For instance, some of the most common pets include cats and dogs, with birds, lizards, and rabbits following close behind.
Beyond this, some people might own more exotic animals, or animals that are not as commonly found as house pets.
Because these animals are not as common and popular as the usual pets that people have, it can become quite a bit more difficult to know the best way to care for those pets. After all, knowing what kind of food a cat or dog needs is fairly common knowledge, but the mobility of a hedgehog is something that very few people know.
Whether you are trying to make sure that your property is suitable for the local hedgehogs in your area, or you want to make sure that your home environment is perfect for your hedgehog to experience, there may come a time when you begin to wonder exactly how mobile your hedgehog is.
Despite looking relatively oversized and being somewhat slow creatures, you might be surprised to learn just how mobile the average hedgehog is.
With that being said, before you can have a good idea of whether your hedgehog is going to be able to climb the stairs of your home, there are a few things that you will need to learn about first.
A good place to start will be learning the anatomy of a hedgehog, which will help you get a better understanding of why hedgehogs might be able to climb some types of stairs and not others.
Once you have a good understanding of how hedgehogs can get from place to place, you will then have the resources to either make sure that your hedgehog can safely climb the stairs inside your home, or you might know what to do to ensure that any unwanted hedgehogs will not be able to climb up the porch of your home.
How Do Hedgehogs Get Around?
First things first, you are going to want to begin by learning about the standard anatomy of your typical adult hedgehog.
While hedgehogs have a tendency to look overweight and oversized, a lot of their extra mass is a combination of volume created by the hedgehog’s soft fur and long spines that it uses to protect itself. On top of that, most hedgehogs have a curious amount of loose skin on them.
This means that the actual body of a hedgehog is usually going to be quite slender and light, meaning that their bodies are more mobile than they initially come across as. What this means for your hedgehog is that, even if it moves slow while walking, it can easily climb up surfaces that mesh well with the hedgehog’s claws.
Speaking of the claws of a hedgehog, hedgehogs tend to be a bit different than other, seemingly similar animals in its group. Squirrels are often compared to hedgehogs, as they are both found in the same type of territory. What this means for your hedgehog’s paws is that the effect of climbing might wear them out more often.
Rather than having two feet and two hands like most other animals in the category of the hedgehog, the hedgehog actually has four feet. While this allows the hedgehog to swim easily and get across flat lands in a quick and timely manner, the fact that a hedgehog’s feet are all feet rather than hands can make it more complicated for the hedgehog to get from place to place.
As with most animals that need to climb at some point in their lives, additional mobility and grip can go a long, long way to get the job done. When a hedgehog does not have “hands” to properly grip onto a surface, it is going to make climbing that surface in particular a lot more difficult.
In the end, what this means for your hedgehog is that it highly depends on the type of stairs you have in your home that you are questioning whether your current hedgehog can climb.
How Do Hedgehogs Climb?
To get a better sense of whether your hedgehog will be able to climb the stairs in your house, you are going to have to have a better understanding of how exactly climbing works in the body of a hedgehog.
Already, as a hedgehog, you do not have a dominant set of “hands” to work with in the same way that people do. This means that hedgehogs will have more trouble than anyone when it comes to climbing, whether that involves gripping onto a surface to pull yourself up, or whether that means that your hedgehog is going to be slower overall at climbing.
Hedgehogs do have claws and little fingers on each of their feet that provide some assistance in terms of gripping surfaces. Unfortunately, a hedgehog is not built to climb anything, no matter how stubborn your hedgehog might be about reaching a new destination.
This means that even if hedgehogs have sharp claws to hold on to surfaces with, there is a chance that the hedgehog may not have the grip strength to carry onward toward its designation.
Surfaces that are rough to the touch, or at least have some sort of foothold for the hedgehog to hold onto, is going to be one of the most difficult things to find if you are worried about a family member’s latest mobility.
A hedgehog can usually scale a pile of stonework that is either cut or uncut, but in other situations, a hedgehog is not going to be able to climb a smooth and soft surface.
Whether your hedgehog is going to be able to climb your stairs is going to depend heavily on the type of stairs you have. If you have stairs that are made entirely from treated and laminated wood, then there’s a very good chance that the hedgehog will not be able to climb those stairs at all.
On the other hand, if your stairs are lined with rug or carpeting, this may provide enough of a foothold for your hedgehog to be able to climb the stairs effectively. More often than not, stone stairs will be one of the easiest materials to work with if you want your hedgehog to be able to learn how to climb from a young age.
The Problem with Hedgehogs and Climbing
If you own a hedgehog or you have been keeping up with people who own hedgehogs, you will quickly notice that there is some degree of correlation between hedgehog distress and hedgehogs who climb.
This is because, for as smart as hedgehogs tend to be, they will often climb themselves into situations that they physically cannot get out of.
Take the stairs as an example again. As long as the stairs have some form of covering on them that offers footholds for the hedgehog to make use of, your hedgehog will be able to make it up to the top of the stairs with minimal motivation. However, this then presents the problem of how the hedgehog is going to climb back down.
Hedgehogs can use their claws and weak grip on fibers and other footholds to haul themselves upward to a destination, such as a treat at the top of the staircase.
With that being said, many hedgehogs are going to have some degree of trouble getting back down from a location that they have climbed up to. They only have the finesse and ability to pull themselves up with their relatively weak grip.
In other words, they cannot support their bodies while trying to climb down toward a location, and will often end up slipping and falling. When you are hanging out with your hedgehog on the stairs, a fall from the second story of your house down to the ground level can be devastating for such a small animal.
Because of this, it is incredibly important that you make sure that you can either carry the hedgehog down the stairs or you take the proper precautions to block off the staircase so that it does not attempt to make the climb down.
When all is said and done about hedgehogs and their ability to climb, hedgehogs do certainly have some degree of ability when it comes to climbing. On surfaces that a hedgehog can get a foothold on, hedgehogs are surprisingly fast climbers and can reach the desired location faster than you might imagine at first.
Unfortunately, hedgehogs are not able to climb smooth surfaces that do not have some form of a foothold to latch onto.
A foothold on the scale of a hedgehog can easily be the grooves and patterns in rocks that are set beside your home for decorative purposes, but completely smooth and wooden stairs are not going to be optimal for your hedgehog to try and work with, as they may try and climb down, hurting themselves in the process.
Being aware of these aspects will help you tremendously when you are in the process of making sure that your home is suitable for a pack of hedgehogs.
Whether you want to keep hedgehogs out of a certain area of the house, or whether you want to create a fun obstacle course to keep your hedgehog’s mind stimulated and entertained, it is always crucial to know what your hedgehog’s limits are going to be in terms of what it can and cannot climb.
What About the Bars of a Cage?
While some people are comfortable letting their hedgehogs out of their cages for supervised playtime across the span of your whole house, there are going to come times when you need to leave your hedgehog in its current cage where it can rest and relax as it needs to.
The bars of a cage are a completely different type of material than a carpeted stairway rug or a completely sleek wooden staircase, so you are going to want to take some precautions to ensure that your hedgehog cannot get out of its cage.
One of the best things that you can do for yourself is going to be to see where the entrance, or the entrance that you use most frequently, is on the cage and determine whether your hedgehog is the type of hedgehog that would cause trouble by trying to get out of its cage through one of those openings.
More often than not, when you have owned a hedgehog for more than a year at this point, you will have a good sense of what your hedgehog’s personality is like. This plays a massive role into whether you are going to have to be careful about your cage, especially when you open and close it to feed your hedgehog friend.
If your hedgehog is the type of adventurous hedgehog that will stick its snout out of its cage at any passing movement, then it may be worth going through the hassle and making sure that the cage that you have set up for your hedgehog has exactly what any hedgehog would appreciate so that the hedgehog can live a happy and peaceful life, even if it cannot explore the entirety of your house to its heart’s desire.
If your hedgehog is one of the more laid-back types of hedgehogs that will simply just sit and wait for you to be done working on whatever project you may have going at the time, then you might slowly get the chance to be able to reach out and pet your hedgehog at any time of the day without having to worry about the possibility of your hedgehog being interested in getting out of its cage.
Do keep in mind that as long as the bars of your hedgehog’s habitat are close enough together that your hedgehog may very well be able to climb up the walls. However, most hedgehogs do not have a need to climb and will therefore not climb very often at all, so you won’t need to worry about that.