If you're considering adding a pet hedgehog to your family you may be wondering if you'll need more than one. A lot of animals need social interaction for both their mental well-being and general health.
This may actually be the question we get asked most often by prospective hedgehog owners. Because of that I'll be sure to address all your questions and concerns below, but let me first give you the quick answer:
Hedgehogs are generally solitary animals by nature and prefer to be alone. They do not need companionship in captivity to lead happy and healthy lives. Housing multiple hedgehogs together may even be dangerous as they may fight for dominance.
Are Hedgehogs Solitary or Social?
Many animals like sugar gliders and ferrets are incredibly social and need socialization for both their mental and physical health. We as humans are also incredibly social beings and tend to automatically apply this trait to all animals.
This is known as anthropomorphism and is our tendency to apply human emotions, traits, and behaviors to animals. Because of that we tend to automatically think our animals need a friend or need companionship to be happy. However, that is very much not the case.
Hedgehogs are naturally solitary animals, tending only to socialize for breeding. After breeding, male hedgehogs leave the mother alone to care for the babies throughout the weaning period. Even the babies tend to fully leave the nest at 6 - 8 weeks.
Can Two Hedgehogs Live Together?
Due to their solitary nature you'll want to completely avoid housing multiple hedgehogs together. Not only do they prefer to live alone, they could also end up hurting each other.
Male hedgehogs especially, should never be housed together as they will eventually fight for dominance and could end up seriously injuring one another.
Others have had success housing multiple female hedgehogs together, but some adjustments would need to be made. You'll want to provide extra space, add additional hides, and a second wheel.
Females are also generally far less aggressive towards one another and personally we've never had an issue with two females fighting. However, as a general rule we would recommend you house each hedgehog individually.
When Do Baby Hedgehogs Leave Their Mother?
Hedgehogs begin to develop their teeth around the 3 week mark. This is when mom starts naturally wean them due to those sharp new teeth. Over the next few weeks they begin to get more and more independent.
In general, by the time they're 6 weeks old they are fully independent from their mother and fully leave the nest. This can take as long as 12 weeks in the wild, but we begin to separate them from mom at 6 weeks.
Do Hedgehogs Fight?
Whether your hedgehogs will fight with one another will greatly depend on gender. Males are the primary aggressors and can absolutely not be housed together. They will eventually fight for dominance and can cause serious injuries to one another.
Females are far less aggressive towards one another and many have housed them in pairs without any issues. I still tend to caution people against cohabitation completely so there's no possibility of fighting. They are not social animals and housing them together introduces a risk we don't feel like taking.
I know it may sound weird that hedgehogs prefer solitude, but that's where they thrive. We humans tend to assert our own behaviors and characteristics on our pets, but they're very different from us.
Hedgehogs can and should be housed alone. They will live perfectly happy and healthy lives without another hedgehog to keep them company. In fact, they'll probably be happier alone..
Now if you do end up deciding to house two hedgehogs together, it's important to remember this can only be done with females. Males can never be housed together and will end up fighting eventually.
After you've done all your research and decided to add a hedgehog to your family, check out all our available hedgehogs here.