Hedgehog Exercise, Play and Handling

Being shy and sometimes defensive animals, it’s important to learn how to properly handle your hedgehog. This will ensure that you are not hurting him, he is not hurting you, and you’re giving him plenty of opportunities to bond with you.

In addition, it’s necessary for your hedgehog to get some exercise each day to keep him nice and healthy and to avoid becoming overweight. Below, we’ll discuss simple ways to play with your hedgie and allow him to get the right exercise.

How to pick up a hedgehog

With all those quills, it’s easiest to pick up a hedgehog from underneath to avoid getting poked or harming your hedgie.

Being such sensitive and shy creatures, it’s important to approach your hedgehog with a quiet voice and gentle temperament.

To pick up your hedgehog properly: 

  1. Wash your hands with a non-fruity smelling soap. (If your hands have any food on them, your hedgie may be tempted to take a bit!)
  2. Scoop your hedgehog up with both hands from underneath. Do not scoop him up roughly, but also not too slowly- use gentle yet confident movements.
  3. Ones in your hands, you can keep him in two hands, gently roll him onto one hand, or place him onto your lap.

Tips for handling your hedgehog

  • If you aren’t comfortable with handling your hedgehog and his quills yet, you can use a blanket to scoop him up.
  • Try to pick up and play with your hedgehog when he is awake, keeping in mind that they are nocturnal and typically sleep throughout the daylight hours.
  • If you just brought home your hedgehog and he seems very nervous and shy, you may want to avoid handling him too much for a couple of days until he settles in to his knew home.
  • You should handle your hedgehog for at least 30 minutes a day to ensure that he is getting socialization and has time to bond with you.
  • If your hedgehog begins to become aggressive, shaking, starts biting you, or you notice green poop, this is a sign that he’s becoming stressed and had too much handling that day.

Playing With Your Hedgehog

You can allow you hedgehog to play by ensuring that he has a wheel to run on in his cage, along with letting him explore when you take him out of his cage. Some tips for letting your hedgehog play out of his cage:

  • Always make sure your pet hedgehog is supervised when out of his cage.
  • You can get a gated play pen for your hedgehog to explore in so that you can keep a close eye on him while he has time outside of his cage.
  • You can feed your hedgie treats from your hands during playtime to help him bond with you.
  • You can also let him climb into your hands and across your lap, without trying to pick him up and interrupting him too much.
  • If your hedgehog seems shy when you take him out to play, let him snuggle on your lap for a few minutes until he’s ready to explore. He may also just want to stay snuggled on your lap for an hour or so, and that’s fine, too!
  • Some hedgehogs are very snuggly, and may prefer to simply lay on your lap during play time while you watch TV or work on a hobby.

Hedgehog Exercise

It’s very important that your hedgehog get enough exercise in order to stay healthy and avoid obesity.

Playing with your hedgehog as talked about above and letting him explore out of his cage is a great for exercise, as well as letting him run on his wheel in his cage.

We’d definitely suggest getting your hedgehog an excercise wheel. These are most hedgehogs’ favorites toy, and does a great job to keep them active. To see some wheels we suggest, click here.

Helen’s Little Critters, a hedgehog breeder in Texas, mentions that hedgehogs can even get exercise by playing with toilet paper rolls and boxes. Sometimes they’ll even play with these for hours straight!


18 thoughts on “Hedgehog Exercise, Play and Handling

  1. Pingback: Health & Fitness | tkawana13

  2. Angie parker

    I have a question about my hedgehog, we have a wheel for him but he has no interest in it. So what can I do for him so he can get more exercise? I have read that it not a good idea to get a running ball. And it seems like all he wants to do is sleep. I get him out at night and socialize with him. So what else can I do for him?

    1. Meg Post author

      Hi Angie, you may want to get a small pen that you can let him in on the floor so he can walk around. He may just have a lazy personality, so it’s okay if he’s not super active!

      1. jamye

        I have made my hedgie a “playground” in the tub of our spare bath. It’s mostly throw away things so if she soils them too much, I just toss them. An empty soft drink case – the long 12 pack kind, a round oatmeal box open on both ends, a plastic tub that had dog treats, a tennis ball, and always a couple of wads of tissue paper. She doesn’t get as much exercise as I really think she should but she’s safe and happy in there.

  3. Aubrey

    I am planning to get a hedgehog soon, but I’m worried it will keep me up at night if it runs around on its wheel. Is there anything I can do about that?

    1. Anonymous

      You can buy a silent wheel or put the cage in a different room at night. The wheels that say silent should be quieter than others.

    2. Mellisa

      Sometimes it can get loud and I’ve heard that you can put a scrunchie on the back and that helps. Also that make SILENT wheels.

    3. Kam

      Aubrey, this is not a problem. I recommend silent runner because it really works well. You should also get the bigger ones, like a 12 inch. If it’s smaller they sometimes do not like using it.


      I have a silent wheel and you will get use to him running on it and it won’t bother you. Mine like to play with his water bottle and move it around the pin. LOL Thats what usually wakes me up but he mostly does that in the morning when l am getting up

  4. Lola

    we let our hedgehog wander the house in a large hamster ball and we also brought in a baby pool which allows her to run laps

  5. Madi

    I got a hedgehog 5 days ago. At night I give her 2 mealworms and then let her run in her hamster ball. But when I try to hold her, she gets really wiggly and doesn’t let me hold her. What should I do?

  6. Gear

    I made a sleeve type of thing for my hedgehog and now they won’t leave it but i need to check on them, see if they’re healthy or not but he wont let me take him out. What should I do?

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