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Can Hedgehogs Wear Harnesses? (Plus Tips to Take Them Outside)

Can Hedgehogs Wear Harnesses? (Plus Tips to Take Them Outside)
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. In addition, as an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

YouTube is full of videos showing adorable hedgies on walks. They wear these cute harnesses in various colors sold on popular internet sites.

The harnesses are not expensive, and it looks like an excellent way to keep birds of prey from swooping down on them. But are hedgehog harnesses safe?

Hedgehogs can be harmed if put into a harness. When scared, hedgehogs curl up into a ball, and their quills stick up. If they do this in a harness, they can break their quills, and the harness might cause them to pull a muscle. Better to carry your hedgehog in a sack and supervise their outdoor play.

Hedgehogs can play supervised outdoors when the temperature is right. It is advised the area is fenced, like a tiny outdoor playpen. But hedgehogs are not fast-moving, so you’ll easily catch the critter if it tries to scurry off.

Thus, a harness really isn’t needed. But should you put a harness on your hedgie, ensure it is loose. This will reduce the chances of harm.

Should a Hedgehog Wear a Harness?

While a hedgehog can, technically, wear a harness, it is not recommended. As mentioned above, should the hedgehog curl up while wearing a harness, it can be injured.

Putting a harness on a hedgehog will not make the outdoors safer. You are the deterrent from your hedgehog being attacked, not a harness. This is why your hedgie’s outdoor play should always be supervised.

Taking a Hedgehog for a Walk

The safest way to take your hedgehog on a walk is in a sack that you are carrying. They are very vulnerable out in the open.

Nor will a harness or lead save a hedgehog from the pressure of a dog’s jaws or the mighty strength of bird of prey’s feet. So, you might win the tug-of-war, but the hedgie will still be injured or killed.

Thus, take them for the actual walk in their bag. Then, if your hedgehog isn’t a racer (most are not, but some are quick), you can set it down in a safe spot. However, you will need to be right there, hovering over it, to deter any potential predators.

You, the enormous human, are the deterrent, especially when it comes to birds of prey. So, if you are right there, most birds of prey will respect that you have claimed the “food.” But if you back off, then it appears you have no interest in the “food.” So you need to stay near your hedgie, not just keep an eye on your pet.

That said, hedgehogs are not the most appetizing to predators, aside from badgers. This is because of their tendency to curl up and be a big ball of spikes.

Lastly, remember that hedgehogs are not big on daytime activities. The nocturnal critter will probably be happier being carried in a sack so it can sleep rather than be stuck on a lead in the sunlight. Or, even better, only take it out in the early evenings.

Letting Your Hedgehog Play Outdoors

Hedgehogs do enjoy playing outdoors, but pet hedgies are not the robust critters of the wild. Thus, you do need to make sure the temperature is at least 70 F (21 C) and dry. Also, they will enjoy it more if this happens in the early evenings, not in the middle of the day.

Due to climate, most people will only be able to let their hedgehogs have outdoor time in the summer. The evenings are just too cold during other parts of the year.

However, hedgehogs do need exercise, regardless of the time of year. So do make sure you have a safe exercise wheel and indoor areas where your pet can play when outdoors is off-limits.

11 Tips for Letting Your Hedgehog Play Outdoors

Supervision is the most crucial ingredient to your hedgehog having a successful outdoor play. Hedgies are experts at escaping and hiding. Also, there are potential predators to consider.

However, we’ve put together 11 other tips to make the experience safer and more enjoyable for both you and your pet.

  • Ensure the outdoor play area is pesticide-free
  • Ensure outdoor play area is free of holes
  • Ensure the play area is free of deep standing water
  • Ensure play area is free of harmful sharp objects
  • Ensure your hedgehog can’t climb out of the play area
  • Ensure the play area is free from anything potentially poisonous
  • Feed your hedgehog before taking it outside as food can attract unwanted visitors
  • If it is daytime, ensure the play area is shaded
  • Use a “playpen” fence to keep speedy-hedgehogs from running off
  • Use a screened crate upside down if you live in an area many birds of prey
  • Try to avoid using an empty kiddie pool, as the hedgie can’t get to the grass

Things to Remember After Your Hedgehog Has Been Outdoors

Once your hedgie has a good time outside, it might have acquired some grime. Typically, it is only their feet, in which case, just letting them move around in a tub with a half-inch (2 cm) of water, will get that sorted.

Sometimes a gentle wipe with a damp cloth will be enough to sort it out. But at other times, your hedgie will need a full-on bath after a good time outdoors. A soft baby toothbrush can really help get the grime out of the toes and off the spines.

Hedgies love to nibble, chew, and taste everything. It will be fine if this is just grass or a soft stick. Nonetheless, during your hedgehog’s annual well visit, do have them take a fecal sample to check for parasites just in case it picked up an unwanted “friend.”

Final Thoughts

Hedgehogs are not well suited to being put in a harness. While there are hedgehog harnesses you can buy, they are not recommended as they can be injured. However, hedgehogs enjoy outdoor playtime when the temperatures are right. Just make sure the play area is safe, and you supervise your pet hedgie the entire time.

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