Hedgehog mites are fairly common and can be painful for you and your tiny pet. These tiny parasites can trigger skin inflammation as well as affect their spines (quills) and hair. They can spread from one infested hedgie to another quite easily and cause it to fall sick. So, you must take immediate steps to remove mites if your hedgie has them.
However, mites are not an untreatable problem and the course of action for treating them is pretty simple. In this article, we put together all stuff that helps you to understand hedgehog mites and how to treat and prevent them.
What are Hedgehog Mites?
Like spiders and ticks, mites are tiny red or black arachnids (have eight legs) that bite and trigger skin irritation, hair damage, and quills loss to your hedgie. These small parasites can spread from one animal to another. So, they make their way to your hedgehog quite easily.
In the wild mites as well as other parasites like ticks and fleas can infect the hedgehogs. However, domestic pet hedgies are generally prone to only mite infestations.
You know that hedgehogs have several species (know more about their background and lifestyle). Similarly, mites have several species that can infect hedgehogs. The pain and irritation (of different degrees) they cause to your hedgie depend on the type of mite. Their species include:
This is the most common type that affects hedgehogs. Generally, they are oval-shaped and will trigger patchy skin and a bit of scabbing in your pet. This kind is not bothering for human beings.
This kind of mites is very small and difficult to spot and can affect cats, dogs, and hedgehogs. It can also affect humans every so often more than any other type. Generally, they cause scabies and an allergic reaction.
Many animals and humans may carry these oblong-shaped mites as part of a healthy, normal skin biome. If a hedgehog, human, or any other animal suffers any type of immune deficiency, these mites may cause problems for them otherwise they are harmless.
This is the most serious type of mites, also know as scabbing mites. They find existing skin imperfections and scabs and reproduce underneath instead of excavating into the skin. Luckily, they are far less common in pet hedgehogs and other domestic animals.
How to Spot Mites on a Hedgehog- Possible Symptoms
Hedgehog owners may or may not be able to see the mites physically. However, they will perhaps notice the damage they cause to their pet. Skin irritation and hair loss are some obvious symptoms that you should look out for.
Other hedgehog mites symptoms include:
- Concentrated and abnormal quill loss commonly on the back, outside the quilling period (that happens a couple of times in their life when they normally shed few spines).
- Low Appetite, weight loss (Anorexia), lack of interest in food and drink.
- Not as active and playful as normal, fatigue, and low energy (lethargy).
- Dandruff, very flaky skin, redness, and baffling scabs.
- Grumpier mood than usual, Hedgehog scratching, chewing, licking, biting, or otherwise rubbing itself along its cage and enclosure.
Quill loss is a solid indicator (a big red flag you should not ignore) of mites. Although some of these symptoms may be overlap with other maladies affecting your pet. From there, it is recommended to examine your pet by a veterinarian. A vet does a skin scrap to identify and confirm the presence of mites before begging any treatment. A skin scrap is not 100% accurate every time but usually uncovers their presence (if there is a big problem of mites) on the hedgehog.
How Do Hedgehog Get Mites- Common Causes
Hedgehogs can be contracted by mites from various vectors. Some mites like demodectic are present all the time and typically harmless. Here are some common causes of mites infestation:
Contaminated bedding or infested cage accessories are the most common source of mites. It is important to provide clean bedding to your hedgie because mites are attracted to smell and waste. They thrive in dirty bedding.
Natural items like food and substrate are potential carriers of mites that are then introduced to your hedgie and cause an invasion.
Many hedgehogs get mites from the pet store when place next to an infected pet (hedgehog or other animals). These tiny critters have great jumping ability and easily find their way to your pet.
If your hedgie has a stronger immune system, mites remain dormant on its skin. Stress surpasses the immune system that can cause mites to get active and trigger an infestation.
How Do I Get Rid of Mites on My Hedgehog- Treatment Options
Luckily, mites have a short lifecycle (no more than few a weeks). However, it is important to get rid of them as soon as possible. You may not be able to treat mites by yourself because there are no hedgehog-specific drugs, lotion, oils, or creams for treating mites.
Treatments made for felines and dogs are generally safe but avoid using any treatment without vet approval. Some hedgehog mite treatment options are:
- Use anti-parasitic drugs prescribed by the vet.
- Use Revolution™ (selamectin or ivermectin) orally or applied on the skin to kill mites (within 24 hours). It also prevents future outbreaks for 30 days.
- Any other decision suggested by the veterinarian.
Aside from hedgehog treatment, treat their environment (clean their bedding and other accessories) as well to reduce the risk of another attack.
Other Things You Can Do
This section covers some extra stuff you can do to make your pet a bit comfier if they suffer mites. Never use these things in place of treatment or consulting a vet.
Give Them a Nice Bath
An oatmeal bath is a great way to make them feel better and reduce itching, scratching as well as heal their skin. A good bath is effective for a month but waits for at least 2 hours if you applied Revolution™ on them. We recommend using Aveeno wash to give them a fully effective bath.
Aveeno Gentle Bath Wash with Natural Oat Extract
- Gently cleanses without drying skin and hair
- Nourish and soothe delicate skin and leaves a fresh, light fragrance
- Natural oat extract formula is tear-free, paraben-free, phthalate-free, soap-free, and hypoallergenic-free
- The dermatologist-recommended brand having a 4.8 out of 5-star Amazon rating (9000+ reviews!)
Must Wash Their Stuff!
You should wash everything in their habitat (cage, wheel, toys, and any hard surface) to be safe. This process works great to make sure the mites don’t come back. Here is a link to cleaning wipes we recommend:
Nature’s Miracle Small Animal Cage Scrubbing Wipes
- Extra thick wipes remove stubborn caked-on cage debris
- Deodorizing formula eradicates tough cage and pet waste odors
- Best selling formula with 4.7 out of 5-star Amazon rating (900+ reviews!)
- Free of any chemical that is harmful to your hedgehog
How Can I Prevent Mites in the Future?
“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!”. Fortunately, you can avoid mites by practicing smart prevention habits. You can take the following steps to reduce the mites risk:
- Always wash your hands after handling any hedgehog or animal before touching another one.
- Freeze the newly purchased bedding and food package for 24 hours (low temperatures can kill mites) before putting them into the cage.
- Give them regular baths to prevent hedgehog mites. You can use a couple of drops of olive oil. This smart hack not only good for hedgehog dry skin but also helps to avoid the spread of hedgehog mites.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Can humans get mites from hedgehogs?
Qualified No!!! Mites are fond of furry skin and don’t like to live on human skin. So, you don’t worry about mites because you and your family are safe.
Q: What do mites look like?
Hedgehog mites are tiny arachnids (like spider and ticks) just look like red, black, yellow, grey, or brown moving dots to the naked eye.
Q: Do hedgehogs scratch themselves?
Yes!! Hedgehogs scratch themselves normally now and then while waking up, roaming around, and even looking for food. However, if they are scratching too much, it may be due to hedgehog mites or dry skin.
Q: Can hedgehogs get lice?
Yes! hedgehogs can get lice. Hedgehog fleas are common in wild hedgehogs, but lice are far less common in wild as well as pet hedgehogs.
Q: How often should I bathe a pet hedgehog?
Proper hygiene keeps your pet safe. They don’t require frequent baths. The best approach is bathing pet hedgehogs no more than once a month.
Hedgehog mites are not fun and should be treated fast. They do not only make your poor little pet bumpy but can also lead to serious problems and illness.
We hope this article helps you to prepare for a case of mites. And you know what to do quickly for your hedgie!