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Spirit is currently in her cage, trying to scratch a hole to China--or at least that's what it sounds like. All my hedgehogs have done this to varying degrees, but I've never had the opportunity to ask what this behavior means, if anything.

I tend to interpret it as a sign of stress and feelings of insecurity, and some hedgehogs will stop if I give them a smaller enclosure to crawl under or darken the lighting in the room. Sometimes, however, they just keep on scratching.

Does anyone know whether a lot of scratching indicates an excessive amount of stress? Do they just need to dig to feel happy? I've heard the "It's natural to let them dig in sand or dirt"/"OMG bacteria!" argument, and have decided that I really don't need a large tub of dirt in my apartment.

Still, sometimes hogs seem quite desperate to keep digging until they find . . . something.
 

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Small strips and pieces of fleece provide a good substrate for your hedgie to dig in. I don't know how much of the digging is stress related but it is an instinctual habit.
 
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