Hedgehogs and Sleeping: Habits and Patterns of Sleeping Hedgehogs

Hedgehogs have a lazy reputation because of their unusual sleep cycles but hedgehogs and sleeping go deeper than taking naps all day! They are great pets if you need a buddy for the graveyard shift or someone to start your morning with. 

Hedgehogs are nocturnal mammals and they spend up to 18 hours of their day sleeping but they are also cuddly too! Take them out of their cage and they are more than happy to cuddle up and take a nap right on your chest! 

Hedgehogs are perfect for an owner with a love for staying up late and unusual sleep schedules! Check out this article to learn more about hedgehogs and sleeping whacky hours: 

Hedgehog Sleeping Habits  

Hedgehogs are nocturnal creatures which means they sleep during the day and scavenge for food during the night. Although they can sleep up to 18 hours per day, it all really depends on the weather conditions. 

Temperature Plays A Role 

Hedgehogs are very sensitive to temperature fluctuations which is why hedgehogs may be more active whereas in winter they may require more sleep so they can avoid the cold weather.

As a hedgehog owner, you should be prepared for your little friend to have a strange sleep schedule and prevent hibernation at all times. 

Vitals For Sleeping Hedgies

A sleeping hedgehog should have a warm belly and a resting heart rate of around 140-150 beats per minute! Ideally, their cage should be between 72°F-80°F and they should have a normal body temperature of around 98°F.  

Hedgehogs And Their Sleeping Patterns  

Most hedgehogs are nocturnal which means they will stay up all night and sleep the next day. Hedgehogs are awake for roughly 6-8 hours every night, depending on the season. 

Seasonal Changes In Hedgehogs’ Sleeping Patterns

Hedgehogs love their sleep and they are always nocturnal animals, however, as the seasons change, the number of hours your hedgie sleeps will change too. For instance, during the colder months, your hedgie sleeps roughly 16-18 hours per day.  

Given your hedgie has access to cool temperatures (air conditioning, fans, etc.), your hedgie can reduce its need for sleep to 14 hours during the summertime! That means you and your hedgehog will have up to four additional hours of bonding time all summer long! 

Are Hedgehogs Noisy at Night?

Hedgehogs do a lot of different activities throughout the night which can get pretty noisy. That is why most hedgie owners urge against putting their cage in your bedroom. 

I suggest finding a place for your quilled bestie that you can visit every day that will not disturb you or your housemates.

Also, consider this spot should be quiet and dark during the day so your hedgehog can get good rest during the day! 

Constant Sleeping – Why Is it Important?

Hedgehogs love their sleep and will do so all day long! They do not just love their sleep because it is a relaxing way to pass the time. In fact, hedgehogs sleep for several important reasons.  

Some of the reasons your hedgehog sleeps are normal, like how sleeping encourages brain development which they need for constant growth in the early years.

They also utilize sleep strategically in the form of hibernation when they believe their lives are threatened.  

Hibernation takes a great deal of energy and can be life-threatening if prolonged which is why it should be avoided at all costs.  

In any case, you should always pay attention to your hedgie’s sleep schedule even if it is out of your own. 

Hedgehogs And Their Sleeping Positions 

There are many amazing things you probably did not know about hedgehogs and their fantastic sleeping positions, like how two friendly female hedgehogs will curl up together at night or the way a hedgehog lying on its back while it sleeps is a sign of trust for its owner. 

A hedgehog’s sleeping position says a lot about their personality, health, and even what they think about you! 

No matter what, hedgehogs are prey and have the instinct to retreat automatically when woken up without warning. 

Hedgehogs do not like to be woken up while sleeping so unless it is absolutely necessary, you should avoid waking up your hedgehog or moving your hedgehog in the middle of the day. 

Moving a sleeping hedgehog will likely startle your little prickly pet and will make gaining their trust more difficult. So, just leave them alone while they sleep! 

Hedgehogs Sleeping Curled Up 

Hedgehogs often curl up when they sleep as a defense mechanism.

Sleeping is a hedgehog’s most vulnerable state and not to mention they do it during broad daylight. That is why a hedgehog’s natural instinct is to bare their spines while they sleep so they can repel curious (or hungry) predators. 

Luckily, as hedgehogs get comfortable with their owners and grow more accustomed to their life in captivity, they lower their defenses! 

Hedgehogs Sleeping on Their Backs 

Hedgehogs will sleep on their backs and stomachs when they are comfortable with their surroundings. This tends to happen in their adult years after they have familiarized themselves with their owners and their enclosure!  

Sleeping on their backs is a clear sign that they have accepted you and trust that you are not a threat to them. Take this as a true sign of endearment, if you will!  

Hedgehogs and Sleeping Locations 

Interestingly enough, hedgehogs are known for sleeping in different places almost every night. They aren’t really territorial and therefore not attached to a specific place. Each hedgehog has their own bedding preference, and they never get tired of one place soon enough! 

Hideaway for Hedgehog

Hedgehogs love to make nests inside hideaways but that does not mean they will stay there each night! They want something fresh and new which is why having plenty of bedding options is essential! 

A proper hideaway for your hedgehog should be 3 x 4 inches. Anything other than 3 x 4 inches or size “small” at your local pet retailer, is inadequate for your hedgehog.

They may feel unsafe in something that is too large and may not even fit inside a hideaway that is too small! 

Hedgehog Sleeping In the Open 

If your hedgehog is sleeping in the open, this is a clear sign that something is wrong.

Hedgehogs do not typically sleep in the open and this is showing an immense level of vulnerability. Take your hedgehog to the vet immediately if you notice this and get them evaluated for illness.  

Hedgehogs and Sleeping Location Problems 

Sleeping problems are a common occurrence especially after every weekly (or every other week) cage clean. They can also be issues when introducing new hedgies to your environment! 

Blocked entrance 

If you like to move your hideout around, you might accidentally block their door which prevents them from getting inside. Just find the issue and unblock it.  

Remember, in the future, always double-check that everything is available to your hedgehog. That means access to the entrance of their den and much more! If they cannot get to their home, this can easily set off their sleep schedule and cause great distress 

Territory Issues 

Similarly, if you added a new hedgehog to their environment, you should monitor your hedgehogs closely to see if there are territorial issues. Sometimes, one hedgehog drives the other out of the hideaway.  

This is not always true since hedgehogs have their own preferences. Watch their behavior in passing and determine whether they are friendly and solitary or combative and in need of separation!  

Temperature 

Hedgehogs like to sleep wherever they can protect themselves, so it is not unusual to find them curled up in unusual places. An insulated shoe, next to a cold water bottle, on the granite countertop, so forth.  

If your hedgie thinks it is a great spot to keep their temperature balanced, they will utilize it. But when you see them out in the open that is an obvious indication that something is wrong!

Hedgehogs never let themselves be vulnerable. This vulnerability can be a sign that they need help, and are in pain. Essentially, they are crying for help! 

Uncomfortable Environment 

In other cases, you might find your hedgie in peculiar spots like their litter box and this may be because they do not find their cage comfortable. 

To help your hedgehog build a more comfortable den you can try giving them materials like clothing scraps and newspaper clippings. Or you can go ahead and redesign the interior of their hideaway yourself.   

No matter what, it is important to find the right bedding for your hedgehog and get them to the right comfort level temperature-wise and with their house! 

Hedgehogs and Sleeping Problems 

There are many sleep problems that your precious, prickly pet can be experiencing. If they sleep through the night, you should pay close attention, because being nocturnal animals, they really should be active at night.

Nighttime is your hedgehog’s stay awake time to “hunt” so when they aren’t awake at night, your first call should be looking to their food dish for any signs of not eating.  

Hibernation 

If your hedgie is sleeping through the night, this may be the sign of it going into hibernation and you should work to find the cause immediately.

The most common cause of hedgehogs going into hibernation is low temperatures. Check the temperature of your cage and see whether it is adequate for your hedgehog.  

Excessive weather conditions like low temperatures are life-threatening to a hedgehog, which is why they go into their defensive hibernation state. Noticing this in its early stages like sleeping through the night is a good sign and can help save your hedgie! 

Hedgehogs and Other Hedgehogs 

Hedgehogs do not typically get along with one another. In fact, these spiky little mammals are solitary animals that do not mind spending all their time by themselves. By themselves with a loving owner, that is!  

When it comes to other hedgehogs, there really is no reason to bother trying to introduce two hedgehogs together. Hedgehogs have difficult times forming relationships and most of the time the results do not meet our expectations for a number of reasons. 

Hedgehogs Sleeping in Groups 

Hedgehogs sleep in groups when housed together, however, hedgehogs prefer to live alone. Some hedgehogs actually don’t like sleeping in groups at all.

If your hedgies play during the day but sleep separately at night, that is completely normal and does not mean there are any sort of territorial issues happening. (Or that they just had an argument).   

All hedgies have their own sleeping preferences and whether they have company or not, your hedgies would still sleep according to their own comfort.

The togetherness of your hedgehogs can depend on the season, which may call for more warmth and thus more huddling together.   

Q&A 

Can I Sleep with My Hedgehog in My Bed? 

Sleeping in bed with your hedgehog is a great bonding opportunity! You can keep your prickly friend warm using your body heat and it is a cuddly experience for you! Do note, however, that hedgehogs are nocturnal and sleep during the day.

Can I Change My Hedgehog’s Sleeping Pattern? 

No! Never try to change your hedgehog’s sleep schedule! Altering the sleep habits of nocturnal animals for your own benefit is extremely harmful to their health. 

Can I Still Play with My Nocturnal Hedgehog? 

Yes! Hedgehogs are active from the late evening to the early morning hours. Pick a consistent time each day during the evening for bonding with your hedgehog. 

Do They Sleep Underground in The Wild? 

Some hedgehog species build dens underground to avoid predators while they sleep and hibernate. This is not true for every hedgehog though. In fact, some hedgehogs find bushes and grass sufficient! 

How To Know If It Is Sleeping or Hibernating? 

Start with the temperature of your hedgehog’s belly but be careful, they bite when startled! If their belly is cold, they are likely hibernating and if it is warm then they are probably just taking a nap. 

Conclusion 

Hedgehogs make great pets but their nocturnal habits can be problematic for some owners who may have a more active daytime lifestyle and expect their pets to be the same way.

If you are someone who has a nocturnal lifestyle similar to hedgehogs, these pokey pets might be a great choice for you.  

Hedgehogs are unique and unusual pets that sleep for nearly 20 hours a day and make great napping partners. In fact, they can even take a snooze with you right on your chest!