If you're unfamiliar with hedgehog habits when you adopt one, you might not know what accommodations you should make for him. For instance, you may wonder if you should provide a swimming pool for your spiky little friend. It would give him a place to get some aquatic exercise and to groom in if he wants to take a bath. Don't spring for the ultra-deluxe pool just yet. Your hedgie doesn't require one.
Hedgehogs can swim and actually are good swimmers, according to ARKive. Although ones found in the deserts of Africa might not get many chances to swim, the prickly little fellows that come from the lowlands in western Europe, which have marshes and ponds, do have the opportunity to swim now and then.
They Don't Need To
Although your hedgehog can hold his own in the water, he won't fail to thrive if he doesn't get his daily swim. He can go his entire life without having to swim if the opportunity never arises. However, if you do allow your hedgehog to swim, always supervise him and make sure he has an easy way out of the water. If he can't get to dry land, he could drown when he becomes too tired to continue treading water.
Baths Not Necessary, Either
Since hedgies don't need to swim, you may wonder if bathing them is necessary. For the most part, your hedgehog will keep himself clean with no water required, just like your cat does. There are times, once or twice a year at most, when your hedgehog will get into something messy or dirty or might even develop a strong odor. Those are the only times when a bath is required.
If He Gets Wet
If your hedgie takes a dip, whether on purpose or by accident, take care to dry him thoroughly afterward. Angela Pham of Small Animal Channel recommends drying a wet hedgehog off with a fresh towel still warm from the dryer. It can take up to 45 minutes to entirely dry your hedgehog after a bath, but it's worth it. If you don't take the time to do a complete job, you'll have to keep him out of drafts until he is entirely dry to ensure he doesn't become sick from catching a chill.
- ARKive: Hedgehog
- SmallAnimalChannel: Hedgehog Grooming Basics
- SmallAnimalChannel: Small Animal Grooming Guides
- Exotic Pet Behaviour: Birds, Reptiles And Small Mammals; Teresa Bradley Bays, et al.
- Hedgehogs; Sharon Lynn Vanderlip, D.V.M.
- The Alternative Kitchen Garden: An A-Z; Emma Cooper
- Exploring Mammals; Marshall Cavendish
- John Foxx/Stockbyte/Getty Images