Hedgehog Teeth (Biting, Brushing, & Other Questions)

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Have you ever thought about a hedgehog’s teeth? While you may be tempted to assume that a hedgehog’s teeth were spiky like their spines, that’s not the case.

How many teeth does a hedgehog have, what shape are they, and how strong is their bite? Grab a bite to eat as Floofmania digs into everything about hedgehogs’ teeth!

How Many Teeth Do Hedgehogs Have?

Adult hedgehogs usually have 36 to 44 permanent teeth in all shapes and sizes.

Baby hedgehogs, however, are born with no teeth. Hoglets (baby hedgehogs) usually develop their baby teeth at about three weeks old.  

However, these little teeth don’t stick around long: hedgehogs start losing them to grow their adult teeth at seven to nine weeks old. These baby teeth are so tiny that the little hoglets usually swallow them as they fall out without even noticing!

What Kind Of Teeth Do Hedgehogs Have?

While hedgehogs can still nip your fingers, they don’t have the sharp teeth designed for gnawing through bark or grass like rodents. And since they aren’t predators, they don’t have fangs or other teeth designed to take down prey.

Hedgehogs have a mix of sharp incisors and canines upfront for grabbing and biting into tasty treats and flatter premolars and molars in the back for chewing.

This combination is ideally suited for their omnivorous diet of bugs, invertebrates, berries, mushrooms, and whatever else they can get their paws on.

In other words, hedgehogs leave the spikes on their back and keep mostly flatter teeth in their mouths!

How Strong is a Hedgehog Bite?

While hedgehogs can bite hard enough to break the skin, they rarely do. In fact, they rarely aggressively bite at all, typically only doing so if you startle them by doing things like waking them abruptly.

What Should I Do If A Hedgehog Bites Me?

If a hedgehog does bite you, it will latch on for a while before letting go. Assuming the bite wasn’t strong enough to break the skin, it is enough to wash the area with soap and water.

In case the bite goes a little deeper, wash it thoroughly with soap and water, then apply antibiotic ointment and cover the wound with an adhesive bandage.

Only in very rare circumstances will a hedgehog bite require any further medical attention.

A hedgehog bites its owner’s finger.

Why Is My Pet Hedgehog Biting Me?

If you are an owner of a hedgie, your pet hedgehog may be biting you because it’s communicating with you. It may want you to stop handling it for a while or may be showing that it is tired, stressed, or uncomfortable.

Your pet hedgie may also be biting you because it smells something interesting on your hand. Smells that entice hedgehogs to bite include food (especially garlic!) and pleasant-smelling soaps, lotions, perfumes, detergents, and fabric softeners.

How Do I Get My Pet Hedgehog To Stop Biting Me?

To get your hedgehog to stop biting you, do not hit it back, flick it with your finger, or yell at it. This will only increase its agitation.

Instead, you can carefully move your hand away or distract it with soft verbal cues. You can gently blow air at it or spray it on the face with a water mister, which will convey to your pet that what it did was not nice.

How Do I Care For My Pet Hedgehog’s Teeth?

Hedgehogs need dental care, too. Poor dental hygiene can result in some lost permanent hedgehog teeth, which will no longer grow back.

If you have an older hedgehog with missing teeth, you can help it eat easier by feeding it softer or smaller foods.

But how can we avoid letting our hedgehog lose teeth in the first place? How can you keep your hedgie’s teeth clean and strong?

How Do I Brush My Hedgehog’s Teeth?

Like humans, regular brushing is key to keeping your hedgehog’s teeth strong and healthy. 

Do not use toothpaste on your hedgehog. Instead, simply wet a Q-tip with warm water and gently rub all your hedgehog’s teeth. Pay special attention to your hog’s back molars and the sides of its teeth, and reward it with a treat after you’re finished.

Your hedgie’s gums may bleed a little the first few times as they adjust to being brushed, which is perfectly safe and regular. If there seems to be excessive blood, however, or if the bleeding doesn’t stop on its own after a while, consult your veterinarian as soon as possible.

If you notice a lot of black or brown stuff on your hedgehog’s teeth, you’re probably going to have to get your hedgehog’s teeth professionally cleaned. That is plaque and tartar, which calls for a more trained hand!

How Do I Know If My Hedgehog Has Tooth Problems?

Dental issues can either be symptoms of a more significant medical problem or the start of one. 

Keep an eye (and nose) out for these signs that signify something is wrong:

  • Swollen jaw, gums, or lips
  • Tender jaw, gums, or lips
  • Frequently rubbing jaw on the ground or with paws
  • Bad breath
  • Drooling
  • Weight loss

Additionally, you’ll know if your hedgehog is experiencing mouth or tooth pain if you notice it:

  • Grinding or clicking its teeth
  • Having difficulty chewing
  • Changing its chewing pattern
  • Stopping chewing altogether

These signs, mainly if observed over a prolonged period, indicate your hedgehog needs to see a veterinarian as soon as possible. It might mean your hedgehog has a painful chipped tooth, an infection, an abscess, or even cancer.

Remember that ensuring your hedgehog’s pearly whites are always clean and shiny is not just for vanity – it helps them stay healthier and happier for longer.

Author: Bernice Go

Bernice Go is a violinist and orchestra manager by profession but a writer by hobby. She enjoys writing about various topics, from music to animals to self-development. When she isn’t playing the violin or writing, she loves reading, traveling, playing video games, and savoring a good cup of coffee.

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