Can Hedgehogs Die From Stress? 10 Shocking Truths! [2024]



Can Hedgehogs Die From Stress

Have you ever wondered if your spiky friend can get overwhelmed by stress? Like many creatures, Hedgehogs are not immune to the heavy weight of anxiety. This article dives into the signs of distress and the potential health risks that can arise for hedgehogs dealing with stress.

Discover how to keep your hedgehog happy and healthy—read on!

Signs of Stress in Hedgehogs

When hedgehogs are stressed, they may exhibit signs such as loss of appetite, lack of energy, breathing difficulties, inability to curl into a ball, shivering, unusual noises, and changes in bladder and bowel movements.

These signs can indicate potential health risks that need to be addressed promptly.

Loss of appetite

Hedgehogs usually love to eat, so it’s a big red flag when they stop. Stress can hit their hunger hard, especially if something in their home changes. Think about how you feel during a move or renovation – it’s like that for hedgehogs too.

A sudden drop in eating could cause them to feel anxious or, worse, get sick. Hedgehogs risk developing metabolic bone disease if they don’t get enough high-quality food.

Now imagine your little spikey friend not munching on his favorite snacks. It’s more than just pickiness; he might be facing serious health issues like infections or even cancerous growths.

They need to chow down regularly to stay healthy. Suppose your hedgehog isn’t gobbling up food with gusto. In that case, it’s time to take action and maybe get some veterinary care involved before it’s too late.

Lack of energy

A hedgehog that’s low on energy might not eat much and could lose weight. This is more than just feeling tired—it’s a sign something deeper could be wrong, like stress or sickness.

Chronic stress wears them down, making it hard for these little creatures to feel lively and active.

In severe cases, illnesses such as Wobbly Hedgehog Syndrome can hit hard. Affected hedgehogs may end up paralyzed and unable to muster energy. It’s heartbreaking when these tiny animals don’t have the strength to move or play.

If you notice your spiky pal isn’t his perky self, he might need a vet’s help immediately.

Breathing difficulties

Hedgehogs can get breathing troubles if they’re very stressed. Mites may be part of the problem, causing their noses to run and making it hard for them to breathe. They might sneeze a lot or have a stuffy nose and eyes.

You could even hear them wheezing or coughing if an infection hits their lungs. It’s like having a nasty cold that just won’t go away.

Always keep an eye on your spiky friend for any signs of respiratory issues—it’s one-way stress creeps up on these little critters. If you notice anything off with their breathing, it’s time to talk to a vet who knows about exotic pets like hedgehogs.

Quick help can make all the difference in getting your buddy back to health without worsening things.

Inability to curl into a ball

When stressed, hedgehogs may struggle with their natural defense mechanism of curling into a ball. This inability to curl up can be a sign of distress. It should be addressed promptly to ensure the well-being of the hedgehog.

Stress in hedgehogs can manifest as an inability to roll into a tight ball when feeling threatened or scared. This behavior change is significant because it indicates that the hedgehog cannot engage its normal protective response, potentially leaving it vulnerable and exacerbating its stress levels.


Hedgehogs can shiver when they’re stressed or unwell. Constant shivering may suggest that your pet is experiencing distress, which could stem from environmental factors or underlying health issues such as illness or pain.

Monitoring and promptly addressing any signs of shivering in hedgehogs is crucial to ensure their well-being.

Constant chills in hedgehogs usually signify a problem – stress, discomfort, or sickness. Keeping an eye on these behaviors will help you recognize and act on potential sources of unease for your hedgehog.

Unusual noises

Hedgehogs may make alarming noises when stressed, such as screaming, huffing, puffing, hissing, or snorting. These sounds can signal distress and reflect the animal’s reclusive and depressed state.

When hedgehogs make strange noises, it might mean they’re stressed. This change in behavior needs attention. The noises show they’re upset and might need help immediately to feel better.

Change in bladder and bowel movement

Bladder and bowel changes can signal a stressed hedgehog. Green poop indicates stress, as food moves too fast. Hedgehogs are prone to internal issues related to their bladder and bowels, including obstructions and constipation.

Stress in hedgehogs may lead to altered urine and feces characteristics. Clinical signs of stress include variation in bladder/bowel movements. Bladder/bowel changes are important indicators of the hedgehog’s health.

Health Risks of Stress for Hedgehogs

Stress can lead to cardiac complications, a weakened immune system, and an increased risk of tumors and cancers for hedgehogs. To learn more about the health risks involved, keep reading.

Cardiac complications

Stress can lead hedgehogs to develop cardiac complications, increasing the risk of sudden death.

Weakened immune system

weakened immune system in hedgehogs can lead to increased vulnerability to illness. Chronic captivity stress or hibernation suppression can compromise their immunity, making them more susceptible to infections and diseases.

Tumors and cancers

Hedgehogs are susceptible to cancer, particularly oral squamous cell carcinoma in those over three years old. Additionally, they can develop neoplasia and dental disease, including squamous cell carcinoma and calculus.

Mammary cancer can also lead to self-inflicted injuries, as hedgehogs gnaw at their chests when affected.

How to Comfort a Stressed Hedgehog

Creating a stress-free environment, bonding with your hedgehog, and providing proper care and nutrition are essential for comforting a stressed hedgehog. The key is to ensure that your pet feels safe and secure in its surroundings, which can help alleviate stress and promote overall well-being.

Creating a stress-free environment

To create a stress-free environment for your hedgehog, prioritize providing a spacious, quiet living space. Hedgehogs thrive in an area with adequate room to explore and hide. Reduce loud noises and sudden disturbances to allow for peaceful rest periods.

Ensuring their habitat is enriched with hiding spots and comfortable bedding can aid in maintaining their sense of security.

Also, make sure the temperature where they live stays between 75-80 degrees Fahrenheit (24-27 degrees Celsius), like their natural habitat. This helps them stay comfortable because hedgehogs don’t like being too cold.

Also read: Hedgehog Care Guide

Bonding and socialization

Bonding with hedgehogs requires patience and gentle interaction. Handle your pet often, ensuring a stress-free environment to build trust. Negative social interactions can amplify the negative impacts of stress on hedgehogs, so focus on creating a peaceful and secure bond through regular handling and positive experiences.

Practice gentle and consistent socialization methods, allowing your hedgehog to acclimate at its own pace. Avoid sudden movements or loud noises, which may induce distress in hedgehogs.

Adequate care and nutrition

Regular check-ups with the veterinarian are important for keeping hedgehogs healthy. This includes looking at their diet, teeth, and weight. It’s also crucial to know how to take care of them properly, like what to feed them and how to set up their cage, to keep them happy.

Making sure they have a calm environment helps keep them healthy and reduces the chance of them getting sick from stress. Knowing how to feed them right and keep their surroundings interesting can also help prevent health issues.

Can Hedgehogs Die From Stress?

Hedgehogs can succumb to heart complications brought on by stress, potentially leading to sudden death. While it’s not an immediate outcome, persistent and intense stress can have severe consequences for hedgehogs, including physiological responses that may result in death.

Additionally, prolonged heightened stress levels can trigger a severe reaction in these animals, increasing the risk of accidents that may lead to fatal outcomes.

Understanding the impact of stress on hedgehogs is vital due to potential cardiac issues and other physiological responses leading to dire consequences. Owners and caregivers must provide these animals a calm and secure environment to mitigate the risks associated with stress-induced health complications.

How fast can hedgehogs die from stress?

Severe stress can lead to rapid death in hedgehogs. The acute form of capture myopathy, caused by heightened stress levels, can be fatal. Stress-induced health issues may result in euthanasia or death during treatment, indicating the serious impact of stress on hedgehog well-being.

Physiological stress is a likely cause of fast deaths from capture myopathy and severe injury complications.


In conclusion, understanding the health risks of stress in hedgehogs is crucial. Hedgehogs can indeed suffer from severe consequences due to stress, including illness and even death.

It’s important to recognize signs of stress and provide a comforting environment for these adorable creatures. By being attuned to their needs and taking steps to minimize stress, we can help hedgehogs live happier and healthier lives.


  • Can stress kill a hedgehog?

Yes, stress can be very harmful to hedgehogs. It can cause health issues like depression and restlessness and even make them more likely to get sick from things like fleas or tapeworms.

  • What are the signs my hedgehog is too stressed?

If your hedgehog is acting shy, has a runny nose, or starts self-anointing more than usual – that could mean it’s stressed out. Keep an eye out for any strange behaviors!

  • Do things other than stress affect my hedgehog’s health?

Certainly – besides stress, there are physical risks like hibernation dangers and illnesses such as salmonella, which they need protection from.

  • How do I prevent my pet hedgehog from getting too stressed?

To keep your pet happy and healthy, give it a calm environment away from loud noises and predators (like a guinea pig friend). Watch for unusual habits – if you spot something off, it might need help from a vet!

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