Are Hedgehogs Fast Runners? Find Out Here…

If you own a pet hedgehog or even if you are simply curious about wild hedgehogs, it ‘s interesting to know if hedgehogs are actually fast runners.

In this post, we’ve taken our time to do all the research needed as well as collect some interesting data to give you some fascinating comparisons and ultimately show you how fast hedgehogs really are.

So are hedgehogs fast runners? Hedgehogs can run at a top speed of around 4 mph. This is actually considered quite slow when compared to other animals of a similar size. Hedgehogs can be slightly faster or slower than this depending on their individual size, weight and genetics.

Read on to learn…

How Fast Can Hedgehogs Run? (More Info)

As we mentioned above, hedgehogs can run at a top speed of around 4 mph. 

The experts at veteriankey also suggest hedgehogs can run up to 2 m/second which works out at 4.4 mph.

With all things considered, most experts state that the average speed of a hedgehog is 4 mph.

This top speed will vary slightly depending on the age of the hedgehog as well as some other limiting factors such as gender, size, weight and overall genetics.

Hedgehogs don’t usually reach this top speed unless they need to and prefer to move slowly with waddling posture as they forage and explore their environment.

Here’s a video of a hedgehog running at full speed…

When compared to other small animals of a similar size the speed comparisons are very interesting and we have collected some data that we can look at now…

How Fast Are Hedgehogs Compared to Other Small Animals?

We’ve collected data for some of the most common and easily comparable pocket pets to hedgehogs so you can see how fast they are compared to these other animals.

As you can see from the table below, hedgehogs are bottom of the list with their average top speed of 4 mph.

Hedgehogs Vs Other Animals | Who's The Fastest?

AnimalTop Speed
Chinchilla15 mph
Mouse8 mph
Gerbil6.8 mph
Guinea Pig6 mph
Hamster6 mph
Hedgehog4 mph

Do Hedgehogs Run Far?

Even though hedgehogs aren’t considered fast when compared to other pocket pets of a similar size, they do actually run far and cover a lot of distance during a day in the wild.

The Wildlife Trust suggests that wild hedgehogs can cover up to 2km per night foraging for food and looking for mates.

They also state that this can lead then to run across many housing estates and neighbourhoods, 

We’ve actually done some research, collected some data and put together a pretty cool and fascinating table that shows how far a hedgehog runs.

For the comparison, we’ve used famous landmarks, cities and even tourist attractions!

So if a hedgehog ran 2km per night as the data shows then this is how long it would take them to run across, up through or around these famous places…

How Long Would It Take a Hedgehog to Travel Around Famous Landmarks?

(Scroll to See Full Table on Mobile)
Famous PlaceHow Long to....DistanceHow Long?
Rome ColosseumWalk around the famous tourist attraction in Rome 545 Metres Circumference4 times per/night
Mount EverestClimb to top of the highest mountain in the world8848 Metres High8 1/2 days
New YorkWalk from one side of NY to the other33.6 Miles27 days
River NileWalk the entire length of the famous river Nile 81.84 Miles66 days
Orient ExpressFollow to the exact journey of the legendary train 1890 Miles4Y, 4M, 14D

Is Running Important For Wild For Hedgehogs?

Running is important for wild hedgehogs for many reasons. One of the first and most obvious reasons is to escape from predators.

It’s always helpful for a small animal to be able to run to have the ability to hide under rocks and other hard to reach hiding places where larger predators can’t reach them.

Obviously hedgehogs have a great advantage over most of the animals that are of a similar size to them as they can protect themselves with their quills when curling up into a ball.

This could possibly be the reason why they aren’t as fast as the other animals in the table we provided, as they simply don’t need to be as fast, however, there’s no scientific evidence to prove this even though it does make an interesting theory.

Running is also an important ability for hedgehogs to use when finding food.

Hedgehogs are known to not just eat worms and insects in the wild but can also eat frogs, birds, mice and are even known to eat small snakes. Source:

This means they need to be sharp on their toes and have a turn of pace when needed.

Is Running Important For Captive Hedgehogs?

Running isn’t something that’s only important for wild hedgehogs. It’s also just as important if not more important for captive hedgehogs too.

In captivity, pet hedgehogs often don’t get the kind of exercise that they do in the wild.

This can leave your pet hedgie to slowly become obese and this is actually a common problem with domesticated hedgehogs.

Hedgehogs are by nature quite athletic animals according to the experts at Vetmed.

Allowing your hedgie to run on a daily basis gives them a regular platform to keep fit and healthy.

The activity of running isn’t just good for fitness though, it’s actually one of the best activities a hedgehog can do to provide mental stimulation.

Again, in captivity, hedgehogs generally don’t live a life that is full of excitement like they would in the wild.

Wild hedgehogs are constantly having to forage for their next meal and escape predators.

While it’s great that domesticated hedgies are fed daily and safe from danger, without regular activities to keep them mentally engaged there’s not a great deal for them to do.

We’ve actually written a post that shares if hedgehogs get lonely? And you can check it out here…

Let’s not take a look at how you can easily provide your hedgehog with a space to run…

How Can I Provide My Hedgehog With a Place to Run?

The easiest way to allow your hedgehog to run and run fast is to provide them with an exercise wheel.

Veterinary websites such as Pet-MD recommend that all hedgehogs are provided with a smooth-sided wheel to run on.

Exercise wheels are great for hedgehogs because they allow them to run any time of night or day without you having to do anything once they’re installed. 

Hedgehogs can actually run more on exercise wheels than they do in the wild and this is great for both mental stimulation and maintaining a healthy weight as mentioned earlier.

It’s important that you choose a good quality wheel that meets some certain criteria in order for the wheel to be both safe and practical for you.

A poor quality wheel will be noisy, can keep you up all night and can also be difficult to clean when your hedgie poops in it.

Here’s a list of things you need to look out for when picking a good quality exercise wheel…

  • Silent running 
  • Smooth sides
  • No wire
  • Big enough for your hedgehog
  • Ideally, no centre bar if possible
  • Easy cleaning

We’ve recently researched dozens of exercise wheels and given our No.1 recommendation in this post here so you can save money and hours of  time searching for a wheel that fits your hedgies needs.

Adam Woods

Hi, My name is Adam. I'm the main author of Pocket Pets Forever. I'm a pocket pet enthusiast and I love sharing my knowledge and passion for these amazing animals. Thank you for supporting us on our journey as we continue to publish content with the aim of helping owners care for their pets in the best way possible!

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