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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Hedgehogs can make amazing pets for adults and children. These animals are fairly small, resembling a rodent. Although they are small, they make lots of noises. These noises tell others how they are feeling.
These pets are solitary animals and are content with being alone in their enclosure. In the wild, the animals only interact with one another during mating season.
Because the pets like to be alone, it can be hard to figure out what they are trying to communicate. It can also be difficult to have the hedgehog warm up to a new pet owner because they prefer to be alone. Even if hedgehogs like to be alone, they still like to make lots of noise!
The Anatomy of a Hedgehog Sound
Scientifically speaking, hedgehogs do not speak and are not very vocal. They do not use vocal cords to make sounds or to communicate with one another.
Hedgehogs are able to communicate by using their throats and tongues to click and produce other noises. Some scientists believe that hedgehogs use ultrasonic clicks as ways to communicate to other hedgehogs. This could be similar to what bats use to communicate with one another.
Why Do Hedgehogs Hiss?
Hedgehogs are defensive by nature. They are easy targets for predators out in the wild. Hissing is the best way, other than the quills, to deter potential dangers.
When a hedgehog is hissing like a snake, it is best to keep distance. The hissing means that the animal is very irritated and wants those around to clear away. They will make this noise when their nest is disturbed, if they are cornered and cannot get out, or if a predator is approaching.
Although it can be scary to hear a hedgehog hissing, it is fairly common. Hedgehogs take a lot of time to inspect their surroundings. Daily interaction is key to getting a hedgehog comfortable. Domesticated hedgehogs are known to hiss even if danger is not evident. Some pets hiss when they wake up from a nap.
It is good to note that a hissing hedgehog does not mean that the animal is violent or aggressive. It is not common that the hedgehog will go out of their way to harm the owner. Hissing is a natural behavior that is just meant to protect the animal. In other words, the pet is likely scared or a little anxious.
How to Relax a Hissing Hedgehog
The best way to relax a hissing hedgehog is to let it be. Make sure that there is no danger around the animal and then ignore the hisses. Some pet hedgehogs will always carry this behavior with them no matter what.
The hissing is a defense mechanism to intimidate predators. If a pet owner shows they are afraid of the hissing, then the hedgehog is more likely to repeat the behavior. Be sure to handle the pet with confidence regardless of any defensiveness. This shows the animal that you are not a predator.
Handle the pet every day. Start with short sessions and gradually increase the time that is spent with the pet. If the quills are poked out, then it is okay for the hedgehog to be picked up using a small fleece blanket. Gradually, the hedgehog should hiss less and less.
Hissing and Popping
When a hedgehog is hissing, a popping sound and motion usually accompanies it. This can look scary to new and even seasoned pet owners.
Popping is a natural behavior that hedgehogs do. The sound can resemble a clicking noise, similar toa tongue hitting the roof of the mouth. Hedgehogs often pop their bodies and move back and forth during this time. This is normal and it serves the same purpose that hissing does.
Hissing and popping is a way for a hedgehog to scare off predators. Even if it looks intimidating and scary to pet owners, it is nothing to be afraid of. The hedgehog is usually the animal that is more afraid.
The Many Noises of a Hedgehog
Just because hedgehogs are little creatures does not mean that they are quiet. They can actually make lots of loud noises!
Hedgehogs both wild and domestic can make a large variety of different noises. Some noises are gentle and soft while other noises are loud and can be scary. It is important to know and understand the different ways that a hedgehog is trying to communicate.
Hedgehogs can make noises no matter the time of day. These animals are nocturnal, meaning that they are most active at night. This could mean that a pet hedgehog could keep up the entire house with the noises they make.
Snoring is a normal occurrence in a hedgehog. The snoring is quiet and can be cute to hear. Usually this is a sign that the hedgehog is in a deep, relaxing sleep. However, in rare cases, snoring could indicate a health problem. If the hedgehog is snoring with their eyes fully open, it could mean that they are having trouble breathing.
Respiratory problems in a hedgehog are often caught by listening to snores. Lungworms are a common respiratory issue in these pets. If a pet owner hears snore-like sounds while the animal is awake, then it is best to have it checked by a veterinarian.
Sneezing and Coughing
Just as with humans, hedgehogs can cough and sneeze. In humans, this usually means that a person is sick. However, this is not always the case for the hedgehog.
Sneezing is normal for a hedgehog to do. Most often, the sneeze is caused by a tickle in the pet’s nose. It is nothing to be of major concern. If the sneezing is constant and is accompanied by heavy wheezing, then it could be something more serious.
Coughing is not a good thing for a hedgehog. In ill hedgehogs, wheezing and heavy coughing is a sign that there are other major issues. A dry cough could mean that their nest is dirty and filled with dust.
Simple cleaning should help the hedgehog feel better. A wet cough means that there is something in the hedgehog’s chest cavity and it needs to be looked at by a veterinarian.
The most common noise that a hedgehog can make is a grunt. These little grunts resemble a pig grunt. This is why these animals are called hedgehogs.
The grunting noise is what hedgehogs make when they are out exploring. If they are busy building their nests or searching for food, they will happily grunt.
The grunting can be very loud. But pet owners should not worry if the grunting is too loud or too quiet. This noise means that the hedgehog is perfectly content.
Just the same as a baby bird, a hedgehog can chirp. This sound is more commonly heard in baby hedgehogs. The babies chirp from their nest and call for food.
If someone is keeping an eye on wild hedgehogs, then chirping is a good indicator that the hedgehog just had babies. It is best to leave the new mother and babies alone.
Chirping is a natural indication that the babies are hungry and looking for food. Chirping does not mean that they are in pain or immediate danger.
A screaming hedgehog is not a good sign. The screams can sound similar to an upset human baby. This is why some people often compare this sound to a crying baby.
This sound means that the hedgehog is in severe distress. Whether they are in pain or experiencing an injury, they will let it be known that they need help. Hedgehogs can also scream if they are trapped somewhere and sense an immediate danger.
If a pet owner hears this sound, then they should immediately investigate what is wrong with the hedgehog. It is also important to keep an eye on the pet after the screaming stops to ensure its safety.
Talking in Their Sleep
If a pet owner takes the time to watch and listen to their sleeping hedgehog, they might be able to notice that their animals can talk in their sleep. Hedgehogs dream just the same as humans do. While the pet dreams, they can make little squeaking or clicking noises.
The noises that a hedgehog makes while they are sleeping are nothing to be alarmed about. Even if the animal sounds distressed or is making a lot of noise while they are sleeping, it is most likely indicating a bad dream.
If the hedgehog is fast asleep, it is not likely they are not in any danger.
Just the same as any other animal, hedgehogs experience gastrointestinal gas. In other words, hedgehogs fart. Their farts sound just the same as any other fart would.
Hedgehog farts can smell pretty bad. This can be especially true if the hedgehog is fed smelly foods such as fishy cat food. If the hedgehog is farting loudly, it is not something to worry about. This is a normal bodily function.
Snoring, squeaking, chirping are all normal sounds that a hedgehog can make. Even sounds that may sound scary, like hissing, are normal.
But sounds like wet coughing and screaming warrant an immediate check-in on the pet. It is in the best interest of both the pet and the pet owner to make sure that the hedgehog is comfortable at all times.