A Comprehensive Guide to Hedgehog Dying Signs

In the realm of hedgehog ownership, it’s crucial to decode hedgehog dying signs promptly. Recognizing these symptoms and acting quickly can make a big difference in your beloved prickly companion’s health.

The hedgehog dying indications described in this article can help you determine whether your favorite pet is about to die. No circumstance is more heartbreaking for a devoted pet parent, yet the day will come. If your hedgehog is dying, you should make it as comfortable for him as possible.

How do I know if my hedgehog is dying?

There are some indicators that your hedgehog’s life is about to end. You are the one who knows your pet the best, therefore even if one or more of these things happen, it doesn’t mean that they will inevitably die. Your hedgehog may occasionally be ill or have gone through a trying or stressful period. Still, going to the veterinarian is frequently the best option.

Pet hedgehogs often live for five to six years. When your hedgie hits a high age, be ready, even if some get much older. In addition, hedgehogs are vulnerable to a variety of illnesses that, if left untreated, can be lethal.

How to say if a hedgehog is dying

Being able to recognize hedgehog dying signs is as important as knowing what a healthy hedgehog looks like.

By knowing what’s normal behavior for your hedgehog, you will be able to tell when something is wrong and if a trip to the vet is required.

Here are the following characteristics of a healthy hedgehog:

  • Eyes should be open and bright
  • Since hedgehogs are typically bright and alert, their behavior should be responsive and alert.
  • When walking, your hedgehog should have a belly lifted off the ground and walk smoothly, without swaying from side to side.
  • Good appetite – Healthy hedgehogs eat frequently
  • Able to ball up completely

The hedgehog is probably dying if

  • There is an obvious sign of injury
  • It appears uninterested in the food that you’ve set out.
  • The hedgehog has a lot of flies or ticks visible on it.
  • When you approach or come into contact with the hedgehog, it does not attempt to roll up.

What to do for a dying hedgehog?

hedgehog hibernation symptoms

For any pet owner, accepting that their hedgehog is dying is very upsetting. It’s critical to treat the situation with compassion and offer consolation during these trying times. The following is a guide on how to tend to a dying hedgehog:

Consult a Professional

Make quick contact with a knowledgeable exotic animal veterinarian for guidance and possible end-of-life care alternatives. Talk about the hedgehog’s behavior and symptoms to get individualized advice.

Establish a Comfortable Environment

Make sure the hedgehog has a peaceful, comfortable, and uncluttered living area. Arrange things that are familiar to you, such as toys or bedding, to make it feel comfortable.

Provide Mild Assistance

Take great caution when handling the hedgehog to prevent needless stress.

Give your hedgehog a comfortable, warm, and soft area to rest.

Nutrition and Hydration

Offer the hedgehog readily digested and favorite foods if it is still eager to eat. Make water accessible, and if eating becomes challenging, think about providing hydration support.

Hedgehog Dying Signs

hedgehog hibernation signs

A tamed hedgehog can live for three to five years on average if given the right care and attention. Conversely, wild hedgehogs often live for two years.

There will be certain warning indications if your hedgehog is nearing the end of his life. Your hedgehog’s body will undergo some changes that will alert you to impending death.

1.   Sleeping At Night

The hedgehog lives at night. Usually, after sleeping all day, they become highly active at night. Several kilometers are run every night by a healthy hedgehog. So, there may be an issue if you are unable to hear that.

Remember that after you bring a young hedgehog home, it’s natural for him to need a few days to adjust to his new surroundings. It was also an exciting and draining adventure for him. Therefore, if he sleeps for the first one or two nights, don’t freak out.

2.   Lack Of Appetite / Weight loss

Hedgehog illness is strongly indicated by a lack of appetite. particularly if it is linked to weight reduction and lasts for a long time. About that and what to do when your hedgehog isn’t eating, I wrote a comprehensive article.

If all else fails, try giving him his favorite snacks and syringe feeding. Your hedgehogs may use it as a simple means of attracting attention. Do not hesitate to see the veterinarian if nothing helps.

3.   Lethargy And Weakness

Hedgehogs as pets are lively and inquisitive. They enjoy exploring and testing out new toys. Should all seem uninteresting to you, you ought to be worried. Nevertheless, occasionally it’s just typical behavior. Each hedgehog has a unique personality. Some people are genuine energy balls, while others choose to unwind more frequently.

In general, older hedgehogs sleep longer than younger ones. Sometimes, regardless of age, they are just worn out. Let your pet sleep for a bit and see whether it wakes up more energetic the next day.

4.   Difficulty In Breathing

You will see that the hedgehog makes a valiant effort to gasp for breath if he is ailing or toward the end of his life. They even produce sounds when they breathe.

Some of the basic clues to recognizing breathing issues are:

  • Coughing
  • Sneezing
  • Wheezing
  • Discharge from eyes, nose, and mouth
  • Breathing shortness

Hedgehogs can occasionally breathe heavily from stress or the cold. When a hedgehog seems like it may soon pass away, it will become agitated and breathe loudly, even in brief bursts.

5.  Shaking/Shivering

If you notice your hedgehog shivering or shaking, it’s not something they usually do. This could be a sign of shock, especially if it happens in a warm environment. Sometimes, hedgehogs might shake because they’re scared or stressed, especially if they’re nearing the end of their life. Even though it might be hard to accept these signs, it’s essential to be prepared.

To comfort your hedgehog, you can try wrapping them in a blanket to make them feel secure. Make sure not to wrap them too tightly; give them enough space to move around if they want. This can provide some comfort during stressful times.

6.   Tumours

Tumours are common in older hedgehogs, just like in many small animals. If you find them early, there’s a better chance of curing the issue. But it’s important to be ready for a long period of illness, and sadly, it often leads to the passing away of your beloved hedgehog. It’s a tough journey, but early detection gives the best shot at helping them.

How to treat a sick hedgehog?

Firstly, it’s important to observe your hedgehog and see if it’s showing signs of being sick. If you notice any unusual behaviors or symptoms, it’s time to take action. Keep the hedgehog warm and in a quiet, comfortable place to help reduce stress.

Ensure your sick hedgehog is eating a well-rounded diet that includes high-quality foods and essential vitamins. Make sure it has access to clean water to stay hydrated, which is crucial for its recovery.

Seek professional help from a vet who specializes in exotic pets. They can provide expert advice and diagnose the issue properly. Follow the vet’s recommendations for treatment and medication to address the specific health concerns of your hedgehog.

Maintain a clean environment at home to prevent infections from spreading. Monitor your hedgehog’s progress and be ready to make any necessary adjustments to the treatment plan.

Lastly, follow any additional supportive actions or advice recommended by the veterinarian to ensure the best possible care for your sick hedgehog.

What does a dead hedgehog look like?

dead hedgehog

Certain visual clues can help identify a deceased hedgehog. First of all, it won’t show the typical indicators of vitality; instead, the hedgehog will seem dead and unresponsive. A few hours to a day after death, rigor mortis may set in, causing the body to become rigid. The eyes grow dull or hazy and lose their characteristic glimmer.

There’s no movement at all in the chest area, which suggests that breathing is not occurring. The hedgehog feels cold to the touch as a result of a reduction in body temperature. There will be no reaction from the hedgehog to any attempts to interact or stimulate it.

There are no reflex behaviors like blinking or responding to touch. Urine and feces are among the body fluids that occasionally leak out after death. Owners of hedgehogs can respond with proper care and emotional support and acknowledge the regrettable incident by recognizing these signals.

How to comfort a dying hedgehog?

You must choose between giving a dying hedgehog comfort during its final moments or euthanizing it in a difficult scenario. While it can save more suffering, euthanizing a pet is a difficult decision for many pet owners.

To reduce stress, if you decide to soothe your hedgehog, move it to a calm, dark room. Make sure it stays hydrated; if it refuses to drink, give it a shot with a syringe and think about giving it a blend of electrolytes.

Don’t limit yourself to only one of these actions but do everything at once. If you feel bad about seeing your hedgehog suffering, you can always revise your decision and ask your vet for euthanization.


Q1: What is the average lifespan of a hedgehog kept as a pet?

A: Pet hedgehogs typically survive for five to six years, but with the right care, some may live longer.

Q2: What are the signs that my hedgehog is ill or about to die?

A: Keep an eye out for symptoms such as behavioral changes, hunger loss, fatigue, breathing difficulties, and unusual skin or quill appearance.

Q3: Does a hedgehog typically sleep during the day?

A: Since hedgehogs are nocturnal creatures, they usually sleep during the day. Nonetheless, alterations in sleep habits may indicate a medical condition.

Q4: How can one tell whether a hedgehog is nearing the end of its life?

A: Nighttime sleeping, anorexia, fatigue, discharge from the eyes or nose, shivering, and tumors are some of the symptoms.

Q5: What is the best way to provide consolation to a dying hedgehog?

A: Maintain a calm atmosphere, give comfort, offer favorite foods, and engage with people gently. Think about any further helpful actions that the veterinarian advises.


Without a doubt, the saddest moment is when a pet hedgehog passes away. If you believe your little buddy will die soon, keep an eye out for the indicators listed above, but don’t panic if you only notice one. Verify that there isn’t any other reason for the circumstance. Small care modifications might sometimes remedy the issue.