Hedgehogs are solitary creatures and are happy with their own company. Despite their cute appearance, they’re not known for being affectionate.
Hedgehogs Affection With Other Hedgehogs
The best way to see if hedgehogs are affectionate, is to look at how they interact with other hedgehogs. For the most part, they don’t, and they are happy to live in their own space.
While many animals mate for life, the hedgehog will only find a mate for the purposes of breeding. During the mating season, it’s not unusual for them to have more than one partner in the same night, so they don’t really care too much about the others feelings. Once the mating ritual is complete, they will simply wander off and go their separate ways. The male will have nothing to do with the female pregnancy, birth or raising the young.
The female hedgehog will care for the young, and feed them but after 10 days or so, they simply wander off on their own. There is no apparent family bond to keep them together.
When it comes to affection, it can be disturbing to note that a female hedgehog can, and will, eat her own babies. This doesn’t indicate much of a maternal bond, but if the nest is disturbed, and she fears for their life, she may eat them. Some think that this way she gets the nutrients rather than the predator.
Hedgehogs and Humans
The natural instinct of a hedgehog is to avoid humans. We are, after all, very large and as far as they are concerned, we pose a threat. When they see a human, their typical behaviour includes:
- Standing still. Often if you’re out walking and you come across a hedgehog, they will just stand still. Their aim being if they don’t move, maybe you won’t see them.
- Curl up. If they feel threatened in any way they will curl up in to a ball, which is their typical defensive position. With all those spines sticking out, you’re not likely to want to get too close.
- Run away. Depending on where they are and how safe it is, they may simply run back in to cover.
Hedgehogs are cute, and you may be tempted to try to get one to come over to take food. If you call to them, like you would to other animals, a hedgehog probably won’t pay you any attention. On the contrary, they are far more likely to think of you as a predator.
If you have hedgehogs in your garden regularly you may get to sit and watch them eat, but you will need a lot of patience. You will need to sit very quiet and if the hedgehog senses danger, they may not go near you or the food. You may find one which will still come to feed, but it will concentrate on the food, not you.
When it comes to affection, it’s safe to say we show hedgehogs more than they show us. This doesn’t make them any less attractive or interesting, and we can still enjoy feeding them and hoping to catch a glimpse as they forage in the garden at night.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I stroke a hedgehog?
Hedgehogs don’t like being stroked, and if you go near one, they are likely to curl up and raise their spines. If you do stroke one, they won’t uncurl and come towards you. They are more likely to feel that they are in danger.
They also carry ticks and disease, so it’s best not to touch one with your bare hands.
Are hedgehogs territorial?
One reason why animals may not seem affectionate, is because they are territorial. Anyone or anything that enters their territory, is made to feel very unwelcome.
Hedgehogs are not territorial, and they will not attack, but they also won’t welcome you in to their area. They are simply solitary creatures and they are happy in their own company.