What do hedgehog quills feel like when they are rolled up? - Hedgehog Central Hedgehog pet care & owner forum
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Old 04-21-2012, 08:46 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default What do hedgehog quills feel like when they are rolled up?

I might add a hedgehog to my family, and although I have researched for weeks I can't seem to find what hedgehogs quills feel like when they are rolled up/in defensive position. Does it hurt when they are in the ball? Will it break skin if you balance them with both hands?
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Old 04-21-2012, 08:52 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: What do hedgehog quills feel like when they are rolled up?

Like a golf ball with needles
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Old 04-21-2012, 08:56 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: What do hedgehog quills feel like when they are rolled up?

Needles?

Do they feel like toothpicks sort of poking at you, or something like...thumb tacks?
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Old 04-21-2012, 09:02 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: What do hedgehog quills feel like when they are rolled up?

The age of the hog and how much experience you have holding them are big factors as to your perception... the newer their quills, the sharper the tips are. After handling hedgehogs for awhile, you get used to it... and your hands toughen up. When you're starting out, they might make you shy with their sharpness. They can vary from needle to toothpick, but if a hedgie is just supported in your hand, it won't hurt. If it pops at your hand, it might. You just have to handle them a lot to get used to it and toughen up your palms.
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Old 04-21-2012, 09:05 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: What do hedgehog quills feel like when they are rolled up?

It's kind of hard to describe. Lots of websites say it feels like a hairbrush but I disagree. It really depends... My hedgehog's quills have only broken the skin on my hands two or three times in the year I've had her. And it hurts more if the quills go backwards against your skin. Imagine petting a dog - head to tail is fine, but tail to head makes the hairs stick up. Petting a hedgehog tail to head can hurt lol. Kind of like sharp toothpicks?


But! You get used to it. Don't let their demeanor scare you off. Unless you are allergic to hedgehogs, your skin and your mind get accustomed to holding a ball of quills.
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Old 04-22-2012, 02:21 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: What do hedgehog quills feel like when they are rolled up?

As has been said, it depends. When the quills are fully raised and the hedgie is in a full ball, their skin drawn taut. Not only are the quills all up, they are also all crisscrossed and there is no 'give' from any angle. 5,000 extra sharp needles.

Now, in that situation you probably aren't going to get stuck too badly because you aren't going to just grab the poor thing. With experience you will know how to slide your hand under the hedgie. Unless they are in a full ball, their is no reason to get stuck at all. If in a full ball, rock it back and forth a bit until you can get your hands under. It will be sharp, but (as has been noted) you get used to it. You aren't getting hurt. If the hedgie 'pops' while you are picking it up, there will be a bit of pain, but again, you are not getting hurt.

If the hedgie is in a full ball, the priority is the hedgie and making them more comfortable with the situation. I've only seen Sophie in a full ball a couple of times and that was in the first few days of having her. She mostly doesn't raise her quills much unless being woken up. HOW you wake up or approach the hedgie makes the biggest difference in how they respond. When getting her up I'm talking to her and working toward her slowly. She only halfheartedly raises her quills and then drops them pretty easily. She might huff a bit.

If she's comfortable and I'm petting her quills, they aren't 'soft' exactly, but have a nice feel.

When will you really get stuck good? When you don't know it's coming. Maybe she'll be asleep in your hand or lap and something startles her. Then she'll 'pop' and you'll just be in the line of fire. Or maybe you forget to be careful and reach for her without warning. She'll pop hard because she doesn't know it's you.

It does not take a lot of experience to get a pretty good idea for what will hurt and what won't - how to avoid having the hedgie spooked unnecessarily - how to handle the hedgie if she is afraid. Remember, raised quills equal nervousness. If you are always thinking about what the hedgie needs, then you are minimizing the nervousness. (After that, they just have to 'get over it'.)

My only issue with getting stuck is when I've been stuck and not even known it. I occasionally have a reaction to a contaminated quill and it hurts quite a bit. It is a good idea to wash up well after handling your hedgie.

And yes, quills can be 'itchy' when you first get your hedgie. That seems to go away pretty quickly for most folks.

How sharp are they really? I sometimes use a big, heavy-duty exercise ball as a desk chair. A dropped quill punctured the ball and I had to get a new one. Grrr.
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Old 04-22-2012, 02:41 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: What do hedgehog quills feel like when they are rolled up?

You know those slicker brushes for dogs and cats?
Imagine that.
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Old 04-22-2012, 02:45 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: What do hedgehog quills feel like when they are rolled up?

It totally depends on the individual hedgehog and how big the hedgehog is. Some have quills that don't seem very sharp and even when fully quilled up, holding in our hands is not much different than holding a hairbrush. Others have quills that I swear they must spend the night sharpening and if it happens to be a larger hedgehog, it can hurt to hold as their weight pushes those quills into our skin.
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Old 04-22-2012, 03:41 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: What do hedgehog quills feel like when they are rolled up?

Gosh, a lot of information about how they feel

Simple, I'm a new owner...there sharp but you get used to it!
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