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hedgehogs swollen
hedgehogs swollen  

quill loss
quill loss  
Hi laurel, please help. My hedgehog has a swollen part on his lower belly. He is making a weird noise that he hasn't mad before as well. He seems to be eating and having bowel movements. He is also experiencing quill loss, and has some inflammation around some of the spots where he has lost quills. This hedgehog as been passed around before we got him for his forever home so I am not sure how old he is. Can you help me?

Hi, Bethany:

The swollen part on your hedgehog's lower belly is his penis and penis sheath!  These parts do protrude somewhat under normal conditions.  Did you examine his belly at a time when you did not see the swelling?  (I once peeked in on a boy hedgehog who was under a blankie.  I got a look at something that appeared to be a reddish secondary leg! I was very surprised, even after I had figured out that what I had seen was normal for a boy hedgie who had apparently been masturbating when I lifted up his blankie!  Later, I saw a mating that convinced me that hedgie boys needed to have disproportionately large . . .  uh, organs!)

The quill loss makes me think of 2 things: (1) Does he have mites? and (2) If he is young enough, could he be having a secondary quilling?

You can't really see mites, but they can do a lot of harm. A fairly bad infestation can cause a hedgehog to shed most of its quills.  I just had a rescue-guy in that I was told had mites.  His butt was almost bald, poor guy.

I would say take him to a vet who is familiar with hedgehogs (or willing to learn) and have him checked for mites. If he has them, most hedgehog parents have found that Revolution works better than Ivermectin.

You can give him a bath or baths in something soothing, like Baby Oatmeal shampoo.  Aveeno Baby Wash and Shampoo is routinely available.  It's what I use.  I also give my kids a drop or several of Vit E oil to moisturize their skin.  This advice applies to both mites and quilling.

Quilling occurs as the hedgehog begins to mature.  But secondary quillings can occur about any time during the first year.

Please don't hesitate to write again.

Best of Luck
Hedgie Blessings,



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Laurel Sedgwick


Can answer care, health, & behavioral questions, as well as basic breeding questions. Can help questioner figure out if a hedgehog is the right pet for them.


Have had hedgehogs since 2001 - 16 so far. I have no experience with non-weaned babies, and limited experience with breeding and with pregnant hedgehogs. I have had too much experience with WHS (Wobbly Hedgehog Syndrome). I would rate myself "expert" at syringe-feeding, and as "advanced" at performing SubQs. Two of my hedgehogs have injured an eye to the point that it had to be surgically removed. I have had a lot of hedgehogs who suffered from cancer, some who had surgery and some who didn't. Some of my quilly kids have had abcessed teeth; one guy lost all of his teeth but one! I have had multiple female hedgehogs who suffered from bleeding, who had to have surgery for uterine cancer, which was in most cases successful. Temperamentally, I have had very timid hedgehogs, persistently grumpy hedgehogs, biting hedgehogs, and very friendly hedgehogs whom I took with me as "ambassadors" for educational presentations.

I am a Certified Judge for the IHA, and run a rescue station for the HWS. My application to be a rescue station for the IHA is pending.

I read everything I can get my hands on. Have read the best of the books, Dawn Wrobel's THE HEDGEHOG and Tig M-Burleson's THE HEDGEHOG PRIMER. I am a member of the International Hedgehog Association (IHA) and Hedgehog Welfare Society (HWS), and have been a member of various online bulletin board groups since 2002.
I have attended many hedgehog shows and have served as a judge in IHA conformation shows.

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