If you’re thinking of adding a hedgehog to your pet family, it’s a good idea to do your research first and make sure that every pet in your home will get along. There’s no way to know for sure how certain animal personalities will mesh, but there are some hedgehog characteristics and temperaments that can help you figure out if they might be a good fit.
They might not be as cuddly as dogs and cats (you can thank their quills for that), but hedgehogs are low-maintenance pets that usually quite enjoy spending their days alongside humans. Here’s what to know about their preferences toward other animals, as well as the personality traits that can help you determine if they’ll be a match for your current brood and vice versa.
Hedgehogs have a few unique quirks that separate them from other small pets.
For starters, hedgehogs are nocturnal, meaning they sleep during the day and are most active at night. They also take a while to warm up to social interactions, which means you’ll have to be patient—and very gentle—as your hedgehog gets used to living with you in your home.
Hedgehogs aren’t known to be aggressive, but they do have some defense mechanisms that might come into play when they feel threatened. This includes curling up in a spiky ball, or twitching and jumping in such a way that their quills can poke a potential predator.
All of this means that the temperament of your current pet(s) is going to be just as important as the temperament of your hedgehog when it comes to whether they can get along. A dog, cat, or other animal who can learn to respect a hedgehog’s space, especially when they’re on the defense, is much more likely to be a successful roommate than one who is constantly up in their business.
Hedgehogs and Other Pets
Hedgehogs certainly can get along with other pets, but it’s worth reiterating that this is highly dependent on the personalities of both animals in question. For this reason, it’s crucial that you supervise interactions closely until you can be sure that all of your pets feel comfortable with each other.
With that in mind, are there some types of pets that hedgehogs are more likely to get along with than others? Here’s the general consensus.
Hedgehogs and Hedgehogs
If you already have a hedgehog and you want another, you’re in luck. Hedgehogs seem to get along fairly well with their other hedgehog peers, though as always, personality and temperament are two major factors.
Keep your hedgehogs separated in different cages until you can be sure they get along, though do put their cages near each other so that they can (safely) start to get used to each other’s presence.
Hedgehogs and Other Types of Pets
Cats typically seem to quickly develop a healthy respect for the quills of a hedgehog, and keep a respectful distance. Dogs, too, are generally quite wary of the hedgehog's armor, though care must be taken with large, boisterous, or highly prey-driven dogs, who could quickly injure a hedgehog with rough play despite the quills.
Other small pets are usually not a problem, either. If your hedgehog seems stressed by encounters with any other pets (such as urinating or defecating in fear), then restrict contact until you can find a solution. And as a good rule of thumb, never let other pets harass your hedgehog when they’re in—or out of—their cage.
How to Introduce Your Hedgehog to Other Pets
Safety is always the first priority any time you are introducing any animal to another. Keep in mind that hedgehogs are solitary by nature, and may not be open to forming a friendship with another pet, though they may still be able to tolerate them.
Make sure that your hedgehog is comfortable with you first before opening up the introductions to other pets. This way, you’ll be able to securely hold your hedgehog in your arms during their initial meetings, which should offer both them and you a sense of much-needed security.
Start with small interactions when your other pet is nice and calm. Dogs and cats will generally be quite curious about your new friend, but a quick prick to the nose (if they get too close) should be enough to teach them a bit of respect. If your other pet is coming on too strong, or if your hedgehog seems overly stressed, cut off the interaction and try again another time.
There are some specific best practices you’ll want to follow when introducing hedgehogs to other hedgehogs.