by Bryan Smith
While most people do not suffer an allergic reaction to hedgehogs, some still do and in almost all cases, it appears to be an allergy to the saliva.
There are, however, other things to watch for. If you have an allergy to a hedgehog's bedding material or to other animals, this can also cause problems since a hedgehog's quills will push the offending substances just below the surface skin on your hands and create a reaction that wouldn't otherwise occur.
As an example, if I pet a cat I have to be sure not to touch my nose or eyes, but otherwise I suffer no serious symptoms unless the room is full of cat dander. However, if I first touch a cat and THEN pick up a hedgehog, the hedgehog quills push the cat dander into my hand and my hands swell up, covered with ugly red welts.
To find out if you are allergic to hedgehogs, it is best to take a look at some hedgehogs, pick up a few nice and friendly ones and see if you have a reaction. A slight itchy feeling on your hands afterwards is ok and (dare I say it) almost normal. Just watch out for signs of swelling or red welts.