How To Pick Up a Hedgehog Without Getting Pricked

holding a hedgehog

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The best way to pick up a hedgehog is with two hands by cupping your hands around the chest and lifting. The body of the animal should be supported by your two hands under their body and slightly around their waist.

A hedgehog is a spiny, small mammal that can be found in Europe, Africa, New Zealand, and Asia.

They are not aggressive animals, but they do have sharp quills on their backs which may prick you if you try to pick them up incorrectly.

I will discuss the best ways to pick up these little critters, so they don’t get hurt or sting you with their quills.

holding a hedgehog

How To Pick Up a Hedgehog Without Getting Pricked

Hedgehogs are actually quite easy to hold because they’re not nearly as spiky as you’d think, and if you approach them the right way then it won’t hurt at all.

Step 1: Make Them Feel Comfortable

Hedgehogs can be shy so it’s best to start by petting them before trying to pick them up. If he’s a little scared, then your hedgehog may curl into a ball and roll away from you when you touch his quills which aren’t fun for either of you.

Instead, stroke the back or side of his body so that he feels more comfortable with you before trying to pick him up.

Before picking up your hedgehog let the hedgehog sniff your hands for a few minutes before you try to pick it up. Hedgehogs have a very good sense of smell so they will know who you are next time you try and pick them up.

Step 2: Pick the Right Time

Hedgehogs are relatively easy to handle, but before you pick up a hedgehog, it is important that it is in the right mood.

Hedgehogs tend not to appreciate being picked up or handled when they are feeling shy, threatened, or have just woken up, so try and choose a calm moment during which your hedgehog isn’t feeling threatened to pick it up.

Step 3: Position Yourself

When trying to reach out for your pet, try not to disturb it too much, or else it might get frightened, and then you wouldn’t be able to catch it easily!

The best way is to make sure that the animal sees you first before trying to pick them up, this way they have time to relax and know that they won’t get harmed.

If you try to reach out for your hedgehog and it runs away from you, don’t chase after it because this might make them even more scared and escape faster.

Instead, let it calm down first before trying again.

It’s best if the hedgehog is in a relaxed state so that picking it up will be easier. Also, try to reach out for your hedgehog in the morning or late at night when they tend to be awake and not sleeping.

Step 4: Picking Up Your Hedgehog

When it comes to picking up a hedgehog, make sure that your hands are clean, so that any dirt or germs on them won’t be transferred to your prickly friend.

If not, then their quills might also pick up some debris and this will cause discomfort for the animal. Additionally, try to make sure that they are dry.

Using both of your hands, gently but firmly put your hands under the hedgehog’s belly and scoop it off the ground.

You can also use this method if it’s just a baby hedgehog since they are smaller in size. With this method, you can keep your hands away from its face, even if it tries to get out of your grip.

Your hedgehog will likely struggle at first but should quickly become calm if you remain gentle and keep your movements slow.

You can use a towel to pick up your hedgehog. The best way is by slowly putting the towel over the hedgehog’s body and then picking it up from its middle, making sure that you have a firm grip on it so that it doesn’t slip away.

With this method, place yourself in front of their face and make sure that you don’t put your hands or the towel too close or over their face.

Step 5: Holding Your Hedgehog

After you have picked up your hedgehog, don’t put them down right away. Instead, just let the animal rest on top of your hands for a few minutes so it can calm down and get used to being with you.

You might also want to pet their head or back slowly since this will help them feel more safe and secure.

If you try to hold a hedgehog but it tries to chew on your fingers, then just let them bite!

This might sound counterintuitive since their teeth are quite sharp however this is actually the animal’s way of showing that they are scared so don’t push them away from you or pull your hand back fast or else they will get a fright.

When holding a hedgehog, be sure to support their body weight with both hands at all times.

While your prickly friend might look slow and docile, they can suddenly dart off in the blink of an eye if startled or scared so take extra caution when dealing with these spiny creatures.

Step 6: Give them time

The first few times may require a lot of time and patience. The hedgehog may feel vulnerable, so it is important to give them the space they need to get comfortable with their surroundings before you can touch or pick them up.

The first time you try to pick up a hedgehog, they might be pretty scared. They have probably never been handled before so give them some space and let them get used to your presence for a little while before you try and pick them up.

holding a hedge hog
Using something soft can help not to get pricked

What to Do if You Get Pricked by Your Hedgehog

While it is very unlikely that you will be extremely hurt by a hedgehog, there are some precautions and ways to help ease any possible pain or discomfort should the worst happen.

If your hedgehog does manage to pierce your skin with its sharp spines, stay calm and try not to overreact as this may frighten your hedgehog.

If you are unable to remove the quills at home, then it is best that you seek medical assistance in order for these spines to be removed properly by a professional.

It should also go without saying that if you have any allergic reactions or start showing signs of infection after being pricked, then it is best that you go and see a doctor as soon as possible.


When trying to pick up a hedgehog, be sure that you are not too rough or aggressive. It is important to move slowly and quickly at the same time since they can easily become startled if picked up in an abrupt manner.

When your hedgehog squirms around during this process, try putting them down instead of pulling them closer.

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