Do Hedgehog Quills Come Out? | Hedgehog Quills Falling Out
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You might want to get cozy with your pet. However, you must be wondering, do hedgehog quills come out? If you are new to parenting a hedgehog, your concern is valid. Most new hedgehog owners wonder if the quills can also prick and whether they are poisonous. We will try to answer all questions on hedgehog quills so you can have the best relationship with your pet.
Related: Best Habitats For Hedgehog
Do Hedgehog Quills Come Out?
The answer to this is no. The quills of a hedgehog are not barbed, unlike those of a porcupine. Hedgehog quills are also undetachable. When in danger, a hedgehog does not defend itself actively by detaching its quills as porcupines do.
However, these quills become a suit of amour and protect the hedgehog when in danger. Hedgehog’s roll into a ball, which in turn causes its quills to point outwards. There is a strong muscle on the margin of the quills and fur interface, orbiscularis panniculi, that acts as a drawstring.
The magic of this muscle is to keep the legs, head, and belly of the hedgehog well hidden within the indestructible armor of quills. This, ultimately, protects the other parts of the hedgehog with no quills from predators.
When a hedgehog is calm, the quills are relaxed and not pointing outwards. This is the best time to hold your lovely pet without worrying about pricking. Also, when you hold your hedgehog, do the petting backward, so you do not get pricked by the sharp endings of the quills.
The outer part of the quills is smooth. However, the quills are hard and robust. This makes them resistant to bending or breaking. The core of the quills has air pockets that are separated by septa and stringers. This gives the quills extra resilience.
How Many Quills Do Hedgehogs Have?
On average, an adult hedgehog has around 7,000 quills. However, a baby hedgehog will have about 150 white and flexible frickles. Also, to protect the mother during birth, a baby hedgehog is born with its quills covered in a membrane filled with fluid. The membrane will shrink and dry out within a day.
The quills of a baby hedgehog are also soft and a bit weak, but they grow stronger as the hedgehog grows older. This process will take place within a span of 6-months, and is referred to as quilling.
More than just a defense mechanism
The quills of a hedgehog are more than just a defense mechanism. They can also absorb fluids, making it possible to support up to 11% of the hedgehog’s weight when in water. The absorptions of fluids come in hand, especially when a hedgehog is “anointing” itself.
The anointing process will happen if a hedgehog comes across a new scent or taste. If such happens, you will a hedgehog producing a foam from its mouth, which it then spreads all over its quills.
Do hedgehog quills come out? If this is what is keeping you from getting this cute animal as a pet, then you can worry less and get one. Hedgehog quills do not come out. They are super strong and prick when pointing outwards. However, this will only happen when a hedgehog is in defense mode.
Do hedgehogs lose quills when stressed?
A hedgehog quills will only come out if there are certain conditions. If they are under extreme stress or are very ill then they cane become unlodged. A hedgehog will lose some but not all under these conditions
Can a hedgehog’s quills hurt you?
A hedgehog is distinguished by their quills. They are in fact not dangerous or able to inflict serious harm at all. Unlike a porcupine which will provide damage. If the hedgehog does not feel threatened there quills will be very soft to touch. if however they do get scared then it can poke you.
Hey, I’m Amy and I’m in love with my Pets! I have a diverse variety, including 2 cats, 1 dog, 3 rabbits, 2 guinea pigs, a rat and a beautiful macaw. I love writing about everything pet-related and spend as much time as I can sharing my personal experiences.