The African pygmy hedgehogs are naturally odorless animals. They have an organic scent that neither smells nice nor bad. However, hedgehogs can smell due to environmental factors or other naturally occurring reasons.
All factors constant, hedgies will not smell, which is a great advantage because it means low maintenance. However, they can produce a stink once they poop or urinate in their cages or even on themselves. Without constant cleaning up after them, there will be a nasty cumulative scent.
Learning about this exotic animal smell can be very interesting. If you want to know what makes them smell and how you can control it, take a look at this article and learn all there is to know about it.
Do They Produce a Bad Smell?
No. Hedgehogs don’t have a bad scent, nor do they produce any bad smells like a skunk or a ferret. This is because they don’t have scent glands that lots of pets and animals do. Therefore, they don’t have body odors that could cause them to stink.
However, due to multiple factors, they can smell pretty awful because of their poop and pee. Other environmental issues may also cause the hedgehog to stink. Therefore, if your hedgie stinks, it probably just needs some cleaning up.
What May Make Them Smell?
There are several reasons why the hedgehog can be stinky from time to time. Here are the causes.
The most prevalent reason why your hedgie would be smelly is that their cage is dirty or full of poop and urine. Their waste (feces and urine) produce a very unpleasant smell as any other excreted waste and since the animal is not self-cleaning, the smell builds up over time making them stink.
Occasionally, hedgies poop and pee on themselves as they run on the wheel or even pass through their waste unbothered. The waste can easily stick in between their quills also making it necessary for you to clean them. The scent can be worse for a male hedgie since their urine is more pungent than that of females.
Therefore, if you notice any strong scents from your hedgie, it’s most probably their neglected cages.
Sickness or Infections
Hedgies are also very prone to diseases and infections. From intestinal cancer and tumors, skin disease, dental issues, appearances of bald patches on their backs. These are just some of the common diseases they may have.
If their bad scent isn’t emanating from them and their habitat, they could be sick and needing medical attention. Well, it’s not an emergency, but there could be something wrong with your hedgehog biologically. The smartest thing you can do is to call in for a check-up or visit the veterinary clinic.
The presence of excess proteins and fatty foods results in excessively smelly feces. Without vital nutrients found in fruits and vegetables, the hedgie will be emitting pungent waste and gas. Therefore, check on the hedgie’s diet to ensure they don’t lack nutritional value, aren’t overly fatty, and are taking in a balanced diet with the right foods.
Also incorporate water as it also plays a vital role in avoiding pungent scents from the animals waste.
How to Ensure They’re Smell-Free
Reading from the causes above you can already guess the number of steps and measures you can take to ensure your pet is scent-free. Below are four vital steps you can take.
Give Them The Right Foods
First off is proper dieting. If you want the hedgie to give off less smelly waste, then you have to offer the right types of foods essential for that purpose. This means high in nutrients and fiber, moderate carbs and proteins, and lots of water. Yoo many snacks and treats will only make the poop smell stinky.
Healthy foods will also improve their metabolism and lifespan in the long run. If you’re unsure about what to feed your hedgie or what are the right foods to feel them, you can easily find a guide on that. Place a keen eye on dairy products as well such as yogurts and cream. Even with moderation, they can greatly affect their waste.
Clean Their Cage Regularly
As you have read above, a dirty habitat greatly affects any scents the hedgehog gives off. Therefore, you need to regularly clean their cages right from their bedding, toys, water bottle, and litter box if they have one. The hedgie will more often than not have excreted on either or all these items. So it’s prudent to clean them all up.
Regular cleaning doesn’t necessarily mean two or three times a day, but spending just 15 minutes a day doing cleanup daily, will go a long way. Remember pooping and peeing are daily occurrences, hence, if you neglect for even three days, there will be a build-up of scent. One quick tip is to use vinegar, its acidity will aid in cleaning, disinfecting, and reducing the overall scent.
Your main area of cleaning should be the wheels and eating utensils. These should be cleaned daily, ideally during the daytime. You wouldn’t want your pet getting ill after ingesting his or her poop. Even if you don’t actually see dirt or pee, ensure you wash them thoroughly. If that will be too much work, invest in multiple wheels where you simply interchange during cleanup.
You can also do a weekly thorough cleanup where you take out and replace the bedding, clean and disinfect their toys, change their litter box. Again, avoid harsh chemicals when cleaning as they can upset or even harm your hedgie.
Lastly, try using bedding that has high absorbency materials that will sink in the urine to curb even more scent from emanating the cage. Don’t forget to ventilate the cage during cleanup so the scent doesn’t stick around even after cleaning.
Give Them A Bath
After you have cleaned their habitat, you should equally clean them. If they don’t have bits of pieces of waste on their feet, it’s probably in between their quills. So take some time and clean your hedgie at least once a week so they can also feel healthy and comfortable. It’s also a good idea to wash them up so as to remove any lingering scents they may have.
Do note that cleaning/ bathing your hedgie may not be such an easy task as some of them don’t enjoy contact with water. In such a case, a foot bath is enough or alternatively, wet a bath towel, and let the hedgie walk all over the towel in an effort to remove any waste they might have stepped on. Using a soft brush, gently remove excess gunk from their feet.
This will go a long way in ensuring your hedgie remains clean and scent-free. If you opt to bathe your pet, avoid harsh chemicals that could adversely affect them. Don’t use overly soapy water to avoid dry skin. Instead, just clean water will do.
Try Litter Training
Litter training is where you try to teach the hedgehog to go to the bathroom at a particular place in the cage. Similar to potty training a baby. However, this process is very difficult as the hedgies more often than not never follow instructions.
However, it is worth a try and if the hedgehog adapts the system, then it can make a huge difference in terms of smell control and even making it easier for you as you clean up. However, don’t entirely depend on this process.
Do Hedgehogs Poop a lot and is the Poop Smelly?
Yes, hedgehogs poop a lot most especially young ones. Young hedgies tend to poop just about anywhere and anytime. While they play, outside, during bath time, as they run on their wheels, and even just roaming around. It’s just how they are. however, once they grow up, they can easily hold their need to urinate and poop often.
This is also the best time to litter train them as they might have a better understanding of what they are been taught.
Secondly, their poop also stinks quite a lot. Because they aren’t as conscious about their poop, they will walk all over it, time and time again until the poop gets stuck on their feet and quills. The reason why their poop stinks as much is greatly contributed to their diet. Since they eat wholeheartedly and under multiple group foods, their poop is guaranteed to smell.
To control the scent, simply follow the guidelines above on how to curb the scent.
Does a Hedgehog’s Pee Smell?
Yes, a hedgehog’s pee smells because of the presence of ammonia found in its feces and urine. It may not have a really pungent smell, but neither is it odorless. The pee is what majorly contributes to any bad odors the pet may have.
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