One will, of course, be left wondering if their beautiful prickly cushion-like hedgehog pet loses its spines and exposes its naked skin all of a sudden. But it is natural and nothing to be worried about as they will certainly regrow them.
Do Hedgehog Spines Grow Back? Yes. Hedgehogs can regrow their spines naturally. It is a natural process for a hedgehog to lose all of its spines. They can regrow their spines naturally and certainly.
Hedgehogs can be very difficult to handle with their spiky spines. But you also would not want your hedgehog with no spines at all. It can be the case when your hedgehog is still in its early stage, and instead of worrying, you should be more sincere with its care at that moment.
Let us discuss this in detail to get a proper understanding.
Hedgehog Quilling and Regrowth
Technically, hedgehogs have spines, which can also be called spikes. But due to its defense mechanism, it is also interchangeably used with the word quills. When we talk about quills, every hedgehog, at its growing and developing stage, goes through a shedding process called quilling.
Quilling is a natural process similar to losing hair in humans and regrowing them over a period. The usual quilling process occurs in a young hedgehog at around 6-8 weeks of age. And it again happens at the age of 4 months. Shedding can also occur additionally throughout its lifespan but not in bulk. And like mentioned earlier, hedgehogs will eventually regrow their spines and replace the lost ones.
During the process of quilling, hedgehogs lose their old quills to regrow sharper and thicker spines that appear within a few days. Regrowth of spines can be a painful experience for hedgehogs. When they lose spines, it leaves behind small holes compared to the size of the thicker spines that regrow. Therefore, you might notice some behavioral changes in the hedgehog caused due to sensitivity and pain.
The second process of regrowth is usually known to be more painful because of the adult spines. Sometimes, pain can be more evident if the new spines are curved, which occurs due to the inability of the spine to pass through the small hole. At times like this, you can gently pull it out and disinfect the spine area. It is similar to humans experiencing in-grown hair.
Ways to Ensure Healthy Spine Regrowth
Regrowth is not a very pleasant experience for hedgehogs. To make it a calm process, a few solutions might help.
Providing an oatmeal bath is one of the best solutions to calm a hedgehog during its spine regrowth. Brushing and cleaning the back of the hedgehog with oatmeal soap or soak can make the regrowth of the spines a smooth and relaxing process. But brushing harshly or too much can cause irritation and discomfort.
Another way to allow the spine to regrow smoothly is using essential oils. Using oils will let the thicker spines pierce through the small holes easily, reducing the pain. It will help in softening the skin and making the regrowth process comforting.
And, of course, providing a warm environment and showing love and affection will help the hedgehog feel welcomed and relieve them of some pain.
So we can conclude that hedgehogs can regrow their spines naturally. But in case your hedgehog is not regrowing its spines within a few weeks, then consulting a professional is recommended. Sometimes losing spines can also occur due to other skin problems. So it is necessary to recognize it and allow a vet to treat the hedgehog.