Hedgehogs are incredible little creatures. They have unique foraging methods and are fascinating to watch. They make for great pets, and are just overall cute!
However, as they are not your usual pet, there are many questions one might have when bringing a hedgehog home.
Do hedgehogs like water? Yes, hedgehogs like water, and love to swim for fun. Swimming is not something that hedgehogs have learned to do for survival, but instead, they do it just for pure enjoyment! There are a few things to know when allowing your hedgehog to swim.
To be able to take the best possible care of your hedgehog, and to allow them to have some fun swimming safely, here is all you need to know before letting them paddle around in the water!
Do Hedgehogs Like To Swim?
Hedgehogs love to swim and do so just for fun. A hedgehog can go through his entire life without swimming or needing to swim, but given the chance, they will happily spend time in water.
It is not necessarily important for a hedgehog to swim, and when allowing your hedgehog to swim, you need to keep an eye on them. They are tiny little creatures and can become tired very easily. You need to look for signs that they are becoming fatigued and need to be removed from the water.
Always ensure that your hedgehog can get out of the water easily so that they can climb up onto dry land when they want a break. It is safe for hedgehogs to swim as long as you provide them with a safe environment to swim in.
To allow your hedgehog to swim, you can fill a little tub with a small amount of water and place it on the floor or counter. Make sure there is a step for them to climb up on when they want to get out.
What To Keep In Mind When Letting Your Hedgehog Swim
There are certain things to remember if you are wanting to let your hedgehog swim, and you should do your best to ensure that it is an enjoyable, stress-free situation for them.
- Do not allow your hedgehog to swim in the pool water if the pool is cold. It is fine for them to swim in a heated pool, but usually pool water is just too cold for them.
- Your hedgehog might be a bit reluctant at first to get into the water. Try not to force them to get in. If they panic in the water, it might be a dangerous situation for them. Remember that swimming isn’t a survival skill, it is just for fun.
- It might take some time for your hedgehog to learn how to swim. They will probably just float around for a while before they get used to swimming and learn how to do doggy paddle.
- Always stay with your hedgehog when they are in the water, as they could become tired very quickly, and this could lead to drowning.
- If you let your hedgehog swim in the pool you should give them a little rinse in clean water to wash away any chlorine. Their skin could react badly to chlorine and you should wash it off as soon as possible.
How Deep Should The Water Be?
How deep the water will be will depend on where you are allowing your hedgehog to swim. Most people choose to let their hedgehog swim around in the sink, in the bath, or in a tub. You should fill the water until it is just deep enough for them to swim around in.
Once again, make sure that your hedgehog can easily exit the water if they need to, or be sure to keep a check on them so that you can remove them from the water when they begin to get tired.
Are Hedgehogs Buoyant?
Hedgehogs are naturally buoyant, and can usually float very well on their own. This is due to their quills, which have air-filled chambers. When in water, they just need to roll into a little ball, and then lie on their back. The air-filled chambers in their quills then allow them to float.
While hedgehogs are naturally buoyant and float on their own, you should not leave them alone thinking that they will just lay around floating. They have a tendency to panic in water, especially if they cannot get out on their own, and this could be fatal.
Can You Bathe A Hedgehog?
Hedgehogs are clean animals and spend a lot of time cleaning themselves. However, you should bathe your hedgehog from time to time, and they do end up enjoying bath time, thinking that they are having a little dip in the pool.
It is important to remember that hedgehogs are sensitive, little creatures, so you need to practice some care when you do bathe them.
How often you bathe your hedgehog will depend on how often your hedgehog gets dirty. With this in mind, you should not bath your hedgehog more than once a month, as any more might dry out their skin.
Hedgehogs only really become dirty by stepping in their own mess, so to avoid having to bath them often, you should just clean their cage regularly.
If your hedgehog does tend to get dirty often, and you think they might need to bath more than once a month, you could give them an oatmeal bath, which is gentler on their delicate skin.
What You Need To Bath Your Hedgehog
Bathing your hedgehog is a fairly simple process, and you don’t need much when it comes to bath time. As hedgehogs tend to clean themselves well, there is not much that goes into bath time.
Here is what you can bath your hedgehog with:
- Warm water – Many vets and breeders recommend that you only use warm water to clean your hedgehog and that soap is not necessary. You can just let them swim around in the warm water and then gently rinse them off.
- Tear-free shampoo – Hedgehog skin becomes dry very quickly, and is sensitive as well. Using a tear-free baby shampoo is a good option as it won’t irritate their skin.
- Pet shampoo – Pet shampoos are made specifically for pets, and to be gentle on animal skin, which is why you could consider using pet shampoo for your hedgehog.
- Oatmeal shampoo – Many reputable hedgehog breeders say that oatmeal shampoo is a wonderful choice. It is gentle, safe, and does clean your hedgehog well. It is a good choice for hedgehogs who are prone to dry skin. The oatmeal provides moisture and soothes skin.
What Temperature Should The Water Be?
Whether you are bathing your hedgehog or letting them have a little swim, you should not allow the water to be too hot or too cold.
If the water is too cold, you hedgehog could get the chills, and this could even lead to them getting sick. If the water is too hot, it could land up burning their sensitive skin.
Judge the temperature of the water the way you would for your baby or when bathing your dog. It should be at a comfortably warm temperature, but not too warm. Run the water over your wrist to judge what the water will feel like on the hedgehog’s sensitive skin.
Is it normal for hedgehogs to panic in water?
Yes, it is fairly common for hedgehogs to panic when in water. Hedgehogs often relieve themselves in water as well, but this is something that they eventually stop once they get used to a routine of swimming.
Rather get them used to swimming by allowing them to bath or swim in a small little pool with some lukewarm water. Hold them by their belly and gently lower them in the water, giving them the support of your hand while they get used to the water and relax.
How often should I let my hedgehog swim?
Just like with bathing, you should not let your hedgehog swim too often. You should allow them to swim twice or three times a month and no more.
If you let them swim too often, their skin could dry out.
How long should my hedgehog swim for?
You should only let your hedgehog swim for 10 to 15 minutes, and take them out of the water and dry them gently after this. Any longer and their skin will definitely dry out, which can be very uncomfortable for them.
Make sure the water is the right temperature, and that there are no harsh chemicals in the water.
Letting Your Hedgehog Enjoy Water
Hedgehogs enjoy water, and you should let them have a warm bath or a relaxing swim once or twice a month.
Remember that as much as your hedgehog might love swimming, they cannot do it often. Their skin is very sensitive, and too much exposure to water can dry their skin out. They can also become tired quickly in the water, which could prove fatal.
Create a safe swimming and bathing environment for them and let them enjoy it!
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