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Hedgehog FAQ [5/7] - Care and Understanding
Section - <7.6> Basic hedgehog repertoire

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Top Document: Hedgehog FAQ [5/7] - Care and Understanding
Previous Document: <7.5> My hedgehog's gone ballistic? Is this normal?
Next Document: <8.1> What health risks should I worry about?
See reader questions & answers on this topic! - Help others by sharing your knowledge
As far as sounds go, officially, the only sounds that hedgehogs are supposed
to make is their snuffling and snorting when they are feeling threatened, and
some squeaking as babies, or during mating.  That said, I can tell you
hedgehogs have an amazing number of little sounds in their repertoire.  I
have it on good advice and from personal experience that there are a number
of other hedgehog vocalizations that occur in both babies and adults.

Most of the time, aside from the snuffling, the only sound most hedgies make
is a soft `whiffling' sound, usually as they are exploring and sniffing for
new and interesting discoveries.

One time that hedgehogs completely abandon their silent ways is when it comes
to mating.  This is particularly true of males who will often end up sounding
like a video game gone wild with an amazing series of squeaks and chirps as
they vie for the favours of the lady.

In addition, here are some comments from other people on hedgehog sounds:

    At least two of my younger ones have kept this ability [nursing 
    type squeaks] and can shriek quite loudly when startled or angry.
    This will wake the deepest sleeper.  
    -- Mike McGary

    All the hedgehogs I've known have made a quiet twittering noise when
    they were relaxed and exploring.  
    -- Nathan Tenny

I'd like to thank Mike McGary, with some commentary from Nathan Tenny and
Znofyl, for sharing thoughts on the virtuoso singing of hedgehogs here to
give people an idea of some of the extremes that can be reached.  I would
also like to note that unless a lady-hog was in his immediate company, the
loudest thing that ever came out of Velcro, other than snuffling, was a
contented slurp when he buried his nose in a container of cream.

    The books all say that hedgehogs don't make much noise.  They do squeak 
    for their mother when they are still nursing and make snorting and 
    snuffling noises as adults....one account says that they can snore quite 
    loudly.

    My young male (Adam) has been known to scream when frightened.  This
    isn't a small squeak, but a full-fledged rabbit-caught-in-a-trap
    scream.  But the real oddity has started recently.  We have one of
    those beep-beep-beep-beep alarm clocks.  We normally set it for
    6:00 am, but keep pushing the snooze button every time it goes off
    (sometimes for a long time).  After the alarm goes off, Adam starts
    to make this eeeeh-eeeeeh-eeeeeeh sound like he is imitating the 
    alarm clock.  He does it every morning and you can get up and 
    watch him....he doesn't move....he just sings.  
    -- Mike McGary

The following from Znofyl and Nathan are about as good an answer to this
mystery as we're likely to get without growing quills ourselves:

    I wonder whether the hedgie isn't responding to this alarm noise 
    thinking it is another male. My males are VERY noisy when breeding.
    -- Znofyl

    This sounds really likely to me.  My male's mating noise is a sort of
    breathy ``squeeEEEEEk-squeeEEEEEk''---is that the general tenor of 
    Adam's morning ditty?  
    -- Nathan Tenny

From my own experience, when Velcro first learned about the arrival of his
first girlfriend, Sprocket, he put on the most amazing little session of
barking and squeaking.  She, in turn, frequently squeaked, especially if she
was trying to nudge her way out from between someone's fingers to get to the
rest of the world.

We have also had the experience of Mike McGary's ``rabbit-caught-in-a-trap''
squealing, shortly after bringing home Hocus and Pocus.  The den they share
only has one entrance/exit, and apparently one of the girls was blocking the
door from the other one.  It was quite a scary sound to hear, but the girls
appeared none the worse for wear by the time we arrived seconds later, out of
breath from a mad dash.

Continuing with the `unhappy' sounds, the hissing, snuffling sound of a
hedgehog that's not happy is something almost all hedgie owners learn very
quickly.  Even the friendliest hedgehog will resort to this if you wake them
in the middle of a good dream about mealworm nirvana!  When really upset,
this takes on a growling tone, and can be accompanied by `pops' that really
indicate an unhappy hedgehog.

Recently I've had several reports of hedgehogs 'purring':

    Sonic purrs, like a cat!  He only does it when he's eating something 
    wonderful - usually a chicken or turkey stick (I always hold him when 
    he gets these) and I can hear him making short bursts (2-5 seconds) 
    that sounds and feels (the vibration) like a low cat purr.  I'm  assuming 
    this is good, since he devours the stick like he's starving, although 
    he always has dry kitten chow (yes, he eats it) in his dish.
    -- Debbie Allen

While I haven't had this experience, it certainly sounds like quite the
thing.  The closest I've come to this is to find most of my hedgies tend to
make a soft `smacking' sound, almost like a cartoon animal licking its chops.
By making this sound back to them, they seem to respond in turn, to it.  It
almost appears to be some sort of greeting, and will sometimes even bring an
irate hedgie out of a huff for me.  Either that or it sounds like I've caught
the mother of all mealworms and they want a share...

The gist of this whole section is really to let readers know that hedgehogs
are capable of making a wide range of sounds -- if and when they want.

At this rate, a hedgehog dictionary may be in line as an addition to the FAQ!

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8. *** Basic health care ***

User Contributions:

Rio
Report this comment as inappropriate
Apr 26, 2012 @ 10:22 pm
Hi, my hedgehog started running around her cage squealing so I took her out to see what was wrong. Her genital area was inflamed and she had open sores all around that area. I gave her a bath, but I'm really worried about her. Do you have any idea what this could be?
Thank you!

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Top Document: Hedgehog FAQ [5/7] - Care and Understanding
Previous Document: <7.5> My hedgehog's gone ballistic? Is this normal?
Next Document: <8.1> What health risks should I worry about?

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