Every hedgehog owner wants their hedgie to be both healthy and happy too. This often leads them to ask if hedgehogs can get lonely?
This is a great question so we decided to answer this by collecting the thoughts of various authorities including vets as well as giving our opinion from our own experiences.
In this post, we’ll cover all scenarios so you’ll know if your hedgehog can get lonely and if so what to do about it.
First, let’s cover the main question briefly in a couple of sentences…
So can hedgehogs get lonely? Hedgehogs are not known to get lonely as they are naturally solitary animals that don’t need the company of others. Hedgehogs need mental stimulation from toys and activities rather than a cage mate as this can cause territorial and dominance issues.
Read on to discover…
Do Hedgehogs Get Lonely? (More Info)
Before we dig deeper into the different scenarios your hedgehog will face in captivity and if these can lead them to become lonely, first let’s take a look at the natural personality of a hedgehog and see if they are actually destined for the solitary life.
In the wild, hedgehogs are fully independent at around 6-8 weeks old.
After this point, they will be totally on their own and won’t need the help of their mother or company of siblings.
Hedgehogs love a solitary life in the wild and are happy to do so. They have plenty of mental stimulation foraging for food and keeping out of the clutches of predators.
Depending on which part of the world the hedgehog is from, they will also be busy building a nest ready for hibernation throughout the winter.
Hedgehogs seem to love a busy and solitary life in the wild and the only time they seek another hedgehog is when mating.
But without the busy life they lead in the wild, do captive hedgehogs get lonely? Let’s take a look at the different scenarios and see…
Do Hedgehogs Get Lonely Without a Cage Mate?
Hedgehogs in captivity aren’t much different from those in the wild. They are still by nature solitary animals that prefer their own space.
Hedgies in captivity don’t crave a companion and adding another hedgehog to the cage can cause many problems.
This is backed up by many vets and experts in hedgehog care such as Vetmed who state that hedgies should be housed singularly, especially due to males who fight.
Hedgehogs can become very territorial and even fight for dominance when forced to share a living space with another hedgie.
This can lead to stress, intimidation, decreased appetite, fights and worse.
You may see the odd video where somebody has successfully housed two hedgehogs together but this is not recommended at all and really shouldn’t even be attempted in our opinion.
Right now you may be wondering if hedgehogs can be housed with other pocket pets such as guinea pigs?
********Well here’s a post that shares if hedgehogs and guinea pigs can live together or not?********
Do Hedgehogs Get Lonely Without a Room Mate?
Hedgies are perfectly fine without a roommate or a playmate of any kind.
We know it’s tempting to want to bring home more hedgehogs to give your little pet some company but the truth is that they are still more than happy on their own.
This doesn’t mean that you can’t have more than one hedgie but it does mean that you shouldn’t own more than one just through fear of them getting lonely.
Having two or more hedgehogs in one room or in contact with each other even if it’s not in the same cage can still cause territorial and dominance issues so you need to be careful.
You should always have a second room available to house your second hedgehog just in case they don’t accept each other in the same room.
********If you are curious if hedgehogs and hampers can live together in the same cage or even in the same room then check out this post here as the answer may actually shock you!********
Do Hedgehogs Get Lonely Without Human Interaction?
Hedgehogs don’t get lonely without human interaction, sadly we need their company more than they need ours.
This, however, doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t pick them up and give your hedgie some love and attention.
Interaction with us humans and other forms of mental stimulation is extremely important for captive hedgehogs but it’s important to understand that it’s nothing to do with being lonely and all to do with stimulation.
Later in the post, we will cover mental stimulation and why it’s so important for domesticated hedgehogs.
When you first bring your hedgehog home they are likely going to be very hard to interact with as they are naturally shy and timid animals.
Expect them to curl up into a ball and be very defensive until they understand you mean them no hard and feel more comfortable with the situation.
Vetmed says that time and patience are key to earning the trust of your hedgehog.
Do Hedgehogs Get Lonely Without Mental Stimulation?
Hedgehogs won’t actually get lonely without mental stimulation but they will get bored.
This is, without doubt, one of the most important sections of this entire post.
It’s important to point out that if a hedgehog doesn’t get enough mental stimulation and therefore becomes bored, adding another hedgehog to the home won’t help matters.
In fact, adding another hedgehog will only provide a platform for many of the problems that we talked about earlier in the post.
In the wild, hedgehogs, like all animals, are constantly mentally stimulated due to the fact they have to forage or hunt while keeping a close eye out for predators.
Giving your hedgie the same amount of stimulation in captivity isn’t as easy and it’s up to you as an owner to get creative.
It’s recommended that you provide your hedgehog with a selection of toys to keep them busy. Source:
We’ve listed some great toys, activities and simple things below you can do to keep your hedgehog active and stimulated so they won’t get bored in captivity.
How to Provide Mental Stimulation For Your Hedgehog
Here’s a list of our recommended toys, activities to provide your hedgie to keep them stimulated on a daily basis.
*********We’ve included our main recommendations, however, if you want to see our full list of recommended hedgehog toys and activities then you can check them out here*******
The picks below will keep your hedgie buys and stop them from getting bored…
1. A Large Cage
We’ve listed this one first as it’s often overlooked but a large cage alone can be the difference between a hedgehog that’s constantly bored or enthusiastic and curious.
The minimum cage size requirement will differ depending on what country you live in but experts all seem to agree that bigger is better.
Many of them recommend a minimum of 2ft x 3ft and encourage sizes of around 3ft x 4ft. Source
The bigger the living space the more they have to roam, burrow and explore.
Hedgehogs can cover up to 1-2km in a single night in the wild according to the wildlife trust so it only makes sense to allow them as much room as possible.
********If you’re not sure how big the cage should be or even what the best kind of cages are then we’ve researched and listed the best cage options and placed them in one easy to follow guide here********
2. An Exercise Wheel
An exercise wheel is probably the most important toy you can invest in for your hedgehog.
Many vets and experts recommend getting an exercise wheel for your little friend.
Hedgies in captivity are known to become overweight very easily due to being far less active than their wild counterparts.
An exercise wheel will not only help to keep them in shape but it will also help to keep them mentally stimulated.
The great thing about installing a wheel in the cage is that your hedgie can use it any time they want without you having to do anything.
They can literally use it 24 hours a day 365 days per year. This, however, does pose another problem being that your hedgehog can use it in the middle of the night and keep you up all night as they can be noisy.
But don’t worry, there is a solution, we highly recommend you get your hedgie a ‘silent runner’ wheel as these wheels are specifically made to run without making a sound and allow you to get a good night’s sleep.
********Here we show you exactly which silent runner we recommend and the best place to get it from.**********
3. An Igloo
An igloo isn’t exactly a toy or an activity but hedgehogs love spending time in them and it’s part of their natural behaviour.
Hedgies love to hide out and pull bedding into their igloos and this keeps them stimulated.
You should always have an igloo in your hedgehog’s cage and on our toys and activities page on our site we show you 3 cool and very different igloos that your hedgehog will love.
4. A Play Ball
A simple ball can make a great play toy for a hedgehog to have lots of fun with.
They love pushing bright and colourful little balls around the cage or playpen and it gives them yet another thing to keep them stimulated
The great thing is that you can pick these up for next to nothing in pet stores or from online stores such as Amazon.
********Remember to check out our toys and activities page where we go over some great toys and unique play ideas. You can check out the page here.*********
5. Feeding Insects/Worms
Another great activity that’s often overlooked is feeding your hedgehog insects.
In the wild, they spend most of their time foraging for insects and worms and this is one of the very activities that stimulate them the most.
If you’re not keen on the thought of handling live worms then offering even freeze-dried worms or crickets is better than nothing.
Adding some mealworms to a bowl and letting your hedgie eat them is a nice treat as well as a good activity too.
*******Check out this page where we’ve already done the hard work and picked out the right bowls to use and listed the best places to buy live, freeze-dried and even canned insects.*********
6. Bedding to Burrow
It’s a well-known fact that hedgehogs love to burrow both in the wild and captivity.
They will spend a large portion of their time burrowing and generally being busy with their bedding.
The fact that they’re busy displaying natural behaviour means that they’re not bored by default.
This means that you should provide them with bedding that allows them to easily burrow and stay active.
*********There are lots of different types of bedding that you can use but the only one we personally recommend is Carefresh and we tell you exactly why here.***********