How to Pick A Hedgehog up Safely: Tips for Handing A Hedgie 101




How to Pick A Hedgehog up Safely

Well, handling a quill ball can be tricky. There is always a risk of getting pricked. 

See, when the hedgehog is in a good mood, its spines lay flat. Picking it up is no big deal. However, you can still get hurt if you are not gentle and careful with your movements. 

Again, you will surely get poked if you try to grab an anxious hedgie. Curling up and straightening the needles are the ultimate defense mechanism of these creatures. 

Then, what should you do? Is there any safe way of handling a hedgie? Oh, sure, there is.

Continue reading this article to get tips on how to pick a hedgehog up safely without getting pricked. 

How to Pick up Hedgehog? 

How to Pick up Hedgehog

Honestly, handling a hedgie is not that hard. You just have to know the right technique. We will show you 4 safe ways of picking up these quill balls. Depending on your comfort level with the pet, you can choose either one. 

1. Just Scoop up The Hedgie with Bare Hands

We recommend using bare hands to pick up your hedgehogs. This way, the prickly balls can get used to your scent and bond with you quickly. To pick up the hedgie, you have to always make a scooping motion. Do as we say, 

  • Put both your hands on either side of the hedgehog. 
  • Move your hands together and place them underneath the pet.
  • Now, just scoop the hedgie up from the ground. 
  • You will be holding the quill ball in your palm in a moment. 

If you are gentle, there will be no injuries. But yes, it will be difficult to pick up the hedgie at first. As the creature is not familiar with you, it will resist your touch. 

Many keepers get scared and drop the hedgehog at this stage. It can severely injure the pet. Hence, use your bare hands to pick up the prickly pig only if you are confident. 

2. Pick Up The Hedgehog with Bedding 

Pick Up The Hedgehog with Bedding

A newly welcomed hedgie will definitely feel uncomfortable in your palm. To calm the pet down, we suggest scooping up a little bedding while picking it up. The substrates will stand as a barrier between your hands and the hedgehog. 

When buried deep in the bedding, your pet will feel less threatened, and the quill ball will soon be relaxed. Once the substrate settles down in your palm, move the hedgie hand to hand to get rid of it. The scooping motion will be the same as we discussed earlier. 

3. Sure, You Can Use Towels 

We understand your fear of getting pricked by the hedgehog quills. Trust me, we all have been in that situation. This makes us wonder how to pick a hedgehog up for the first time.

As a beginner, you can pick the hedgie up using a soft towel, thick clothing, a fleece blanket, or a rag. Just gently wrap the hedgehog with the towel and scoop it up. We recommend using thick fabric, as the hedgie’s spines can pierce through the cloth. 

We often see keepers handing their quill balls wearing gloves. Yes, gloves offer full protection against the pricks. But it has a downside, too. 

ARK Wildlife UK confirms that hedgehogs have a lower vision. So, they depend on their olfactory nerves to sense everything. As gloves mask your scent, it will delay your bonding with the hedgie. 

4. Lift & Flip Your Hedgie 

Lift & Flip Your Hedgie

Hedgehogs have a habit of curling up when sleeping as a defense mechanism. If you want to pick up a hedgie in sleep, you need to follow this Lift & Flip technique. 

The trick is to lift the pet by the side and flip it in a way that the hedgehog is facing you. As the quills are directly on your hand, you can use a towel. Once you are comfortable, you can lift the pet with bare hands. 

However, some hedgehogs might not like to be on its spikes at all. They will wiggle and flip onto their belly instantly. 

Tips for Picking up A Hedgehog 

More or less we have added all the techniques you can apply to lift a hedgie. We have a few tips that might ease the process for you. These tricks will also make the hedgehog comfortable with your touch. 

  1. As mentioned, our quill balls bond over scents. We suggest you place your worn-out old T-shirt in the hedgehog’s cage. This way, the pet will become familiar with your scent and not resist your touch anymore.
  2. Do not rush your movements, especially when dealing with a sleeping hedgehog. It will only make the hedgie feel threatened. As a result, the creature will spike up all its thorns immediately.
  3. Refrain from grabbing and picking up the hedgehog from above. 
  4. Do not pet a sleeping hedgehog while it is in your hand. This will make the pet irritated. Instead, allow the creature enough time to wake up and get used to the surroundings.
  5. We highly discourage keepers from using a kitty litter scoop to pick the hedgehog up. The less you get involved with your hedgehog, the less it will recognize you. This can backfire on your parenting in the long run.

How to Pet A Hedgehog without Getting Pricked 

How to Pet A Hedgehog without Getting Pricked 

It might seem like a hedgehog does not like to be petted. Well, that is definitely not the case. Yes, it is true that hedgies want to maintain a distance from humans. But once they bond, they get chilled and relaxed with your touch. 

So, how do you pet a hedgehog without making it uncomfortable? Here are the tips,

  • We encourage you to approach the hedgie from the front. Your hands should be below their eye level. This makes the hedgehog aware of your presence. 
  • Always stroke the hedgehog from front to back. 
  • Pick up the hedgie and put it on your palm. The pet will smell you continuously once it settles there down. Take this chance and rub the hedgehog from its nose to the head top. 
  • Hedgehogs also enjoy it when you massage the area above their nose with your thumb and pointer finger. 
  • If the hedgies are comfortable, pet them on their chins, quill lines, bell furs, and feet.
  • When stroking the quills, apply firm pressure to the hedgehog’s back. Light pressure often gives the pet a tickling feeling. 

Additional Notes:

Hedgehogs pulling their visors down or huffing and puffing on your palm indicate discomfort. Do not pet an agitated hedgie. You better leave the hedgies alone for the time being.


Picking up a hedgehog is no rocket science. All you need to do is to master the scooping motion. In the beginning, use a towel or lift the pet with some bedding. Once you become confident and the hedgie gets familiar with your touch, use bare hands to pick the pet up. 

You can stroke the hedgehog’s quills, nose, and furry belly to establish a friendship.


What is the best way to pick up a hedgehog? 

Scooping up the hedgehog is the best and safest way to pick it up. Once you have lifted the hedgehog, cup your hands so that the quill balls can not jump. Make sure that your fingers do not get in the way of their curl-ups.

Do hedgehogs like to be picked up? 

Honestly, hedgehogs avoid human touch as much as possible. So, lifting the hedgies or stroking them can make them stressed. The pets resist your touch in the beginning. But once you bond with the hedgehogs, they will play with you without any complaints.

Is it safe to pick up a hedgehog? 

Hedgehogs do not have edgy spikes like the porcupines. Instead, their quills are more spread out and less pointy. You can simply pick them up when they are relaxed. But if you are not careful, you can get hurt when picking an agitated hedgie. To be on the safe side, wear gloves when handling a new or wild hedgehog.

Where do hedgehogs like to be touched?

Hedgehogs usually do not like to be touched at all. However, once they bond with you, a little stroke on the spine will not bother them. They also enjoy it when you scratch their ears, chin, quill line, belly fur, and feet. 

How do you safely move a hedgehog?

Always wear gloves when handling a wild or sick hedgehog. Pick up the animal using the scooping notion and transfer it to a cardboard box with small holes. Lay out the bottom with newspaper for burrowing. Next, wrap the hedgie up with a towel for warmth and comfort. Now, you can transport the animal anywhere in the box. 

Can hedgehog spikes hurt you? 

Hedgehog spikes are not sharp enough to pierce through your body. Hence, you barely bleed after getting pricked by the quills. Keepers compare touching the hedgehog spikes to touching a toothpick bundle. It can be a little painful.

About the author



Susana Jean, Pocket Pet Expert and Sugar Glider Aficionado Hi everyone! I’m Susana Jean, your go-to wordsmith and pet enthusiast who has a special place in her heart for the fascinating world of sugar gliders.…Continue reading

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