Yes, they do bite. How hard and how often will depend on the individual hedgehog and how well it is socialized, as well as how good you are at washing that yummy smell off your hands (be sure to use unscented soap). Most hedgehogs don’t bite or don’t bite often and the more you socialize your hedgie, generally the less it will bite. Basically there are 2 types of bites:
- The “you smell tasty” bite: This is usually, but not always, preceded by a few licks. If your hand smells like people food or hedgie food, there’s a chance you’ll get a nip.
- The “I’m unhappy” bite: Because hedgehogs can’t talk, they may use a nip or a bit as a form of communication. This could mean “put me back in my cage, I’m tired”, “quit holding me, I want to run”, “you woke me up and I’m upset”, or a million other things.
My babies are held on a daily basis once they reach ten days of age, so they are used to being held and enjoy it. If you continue to hold and play with your hedgie daily, your chances of getting bitten are slimmer. Most of the bites I’ve gotten were from pet store hedgehogs and rescues, but that’s not to say that your hedgie will never bite.
If he does bite, blowing in his face will discourage him from doing it again. Remember to wash your hands with unscented soap before you pick him up and that should cut down on your chances. You will get bitten at some point, but don’t be discouraged, because that’s just part of owning a pet.