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Are Hedgehogs Hypoallergenic? 5 Truths About Hedgehogs and Allergies

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Are you an allergy sufferer considering adopting a hedgehog as a pet? One of the most common questions potential hedgehog owners ask is, “Are Hedgehogs Hypoallergenic?” The good news is that hedgehogs are generally not allergenic to humans. In fact, most people can safely keep a hedgehog as a pet without experiencing any allergic reactions. However, there are still important things to consider before bringing one of these adorable creatures into your home.

In this article, we’ll explore five truths about hedgehogs and allergies to help you make an informed decision. We’ll start by taking a closer look at the African pygmy hedgehog, one of the most popular species kept as exotic pets in North America. While these creatures can be charming and not at all prickly if well-tamed, they can also carry diseases that may be harmful to humans.

We’ll also delve into the specifics of hedgehog allergies, discussing why they are generally not a problem for humans, but also examining some of the potential risks associated with hedgehog ownership. By the end of this article, you’ll have a better understanding of whether hedgehogs are a good choice for allergy sufferers and what you need to consider before adopting one.

So if you’re curious about hedgehogs and allergies, keep reading to learn more!

Are Hedgehogs Hypoallergenic?

Common Hedgehog Diseases
Photo by Ratapan Anantawat on Unsplash Common Hedgehog Diseases

The Truth About Hedgehog Ownership: Allergies and Health Risks

If you’re thinking about bringing a hedgehog into your home, it’s important to be aware of the potential risks. While these adorable animals are often considered a good option for people with allergies, they can still cause reactions in some individuals. Additionally, hedgehogs can carry infections and parasites that can be transmitted to humans, and handling them can even lead to skin issues. By understanding the risks associated with hedgehog ownership, you can make an informed decision about whether these prickly pets are right for you.

The Prickly Truth: Can Hedgehogs Cause Allergic Reactions? Uncovering the Risks of Handling Hedgehogs

Common Hedgehog Diseases- 2
Photo by Sierra NiCole Narvaeth on Unsplash Common Hedgehog Diseases

Certainly! When hedgehogs come into contact with humans, it can lead to a variety of allergic reactions. Some of the most common reactions are cutaneous, meaning they affect the skin. These can include dermatophytosis (a cutaneous inflammatory reaction), rashes, urticaria, erythema (redness), and itching.

Respiratory problems and infections can also occur as a result of handling hedgehogs, such as asthma and rhinitis. Eye infections, particularly conjunctivitis, can also be a concern.

Hedgehog quills can be another source of allergic reactions. Quills are modified hairs that protect the hedgehog’s body from external threats, and they can penetrate human skin, leading to skin allergies like hives. Interestingly, people who experience this type of reaction when handling other small pets (such as hamsters, ferrets, or mice) are more likely to have a similar reaction to hedgehogs.

Hedgehogs also have a unique behavior called self-anointing, which can contribute to allergic reactions. When a hedgehog comes across something new, such as food or an object, it will chew on it and produce a lot of saliva. This creates a foam that the hedgehog spreads on its quills, which is believed to make it less appealing to predators. However, this foam can also contain toxins and organic material that can irritate human skin.

In addition to the previously mentioned cutaneous and respiratory reactions, hedgehogs can also transmit the Trichophyton ericanei fungus to humans, causing skin disease. This fungus is present in about 25% of hedgehogs and can result in an extreme and purulent inflammatory reaction, which typically resolves on its own after two to three weeks.

Finally, hedgehogs can carry external parasites such as fleas, mites, or ticks, which can also cause problems in humans who handle them. It’s important to be aware of the potential risks associated with handling hedgehogs and to take proper precautions to avoid allergic reactions and other health concerns.

How to Determine if You're Allergic Before Bringing One Home?

If you are considering adopting a hedgehog, it is important to determine if you are allergic to them. While not everyone is allergic to hedgehogs, it is better to be safe than sorry. Luckily, there are steps you can take to determine if you are allergic to hedgehogs before bringing one into your home.

One of the best ways to determine if you are allergic to hedgehogs is to spend time with them. Contact a local hedgehog breeder and arrange to spend at least an hour with one of their hedgehogs. During this time, hold and play with the hedgehog to see if you have any skin irritation or other reactions. If after 24 hours you have no reaction, you should be safe to adopt a hedgehog. However, if you have a mild reaction, consider a second visit to the breeder to see if the reaction occurs again.

If you have a severe allergic reaction, unfortunately, you may need to say goodbye to your dream of adopting a hedgehog. Remember, prevention is always better than cure, so take the necessary precautions to ensure that adopting a hedgehog is the right decision for you.

Common Hedgehog Diseases
Photo by Siem van Woerkom on Unsplash Common Hedgehog Diseases

The Root Causes of Hedgehog Allergies

If you are considering adopting a hedgehog as a pet, it is essential to understand the potential risks associated with being allergic to these adorable creatures. The primary reasons for the allergy include dander, saliva, and urine.

Dander, which is the dead skin cells that animals shed, is one of the most common causes of allergies in human beings. Although hedgehogs produce very little dander, they can still spread in the surroundings, leading to allergies.

The Saliva of hedgehogs contains certain proteins that are major allergens and can cause allergic reactions in humans. Similarly, The Urine of hedgehogs also contains specific proteins that are known to cause allergies. As pet hedgehogs spend most of their lives in a cage, they have restricted space to move around, eat, poop, and pee. This often leads to their fur getting covered with urine, which can further increase the risk of getting infected.

It is important to note that if you do not properly maintain your pet’s cage, the risk of getting allergic reactions can further increase. keeping the pet’s cage clean and is advisable tidy to prevent the spread of allergens. By understanding the potential risks and taking the necessary precautions, you can ensure that you and your hedgehog can have a healthy and happy life together.


In conclusion, while it is true that some animals are less likely to cause allergies, there is no such thing as a completely hypoallergenic animal. Even hedgehogs, despite being cute and fascinating creatures, can cause allergic reactions in some people.

It’s important to understand the reasons for these allergies, including dander, saliva, and urine, and take steps to prevent them, such as spending time with a hedgehog before adopting one as a pet. It’s also important to remember that allergic reactions can vary widely in severity, from mild skin irritation to potentially life-threatening respiratory problems.Β 

If you’re considering a hedgehog or any other pet, it’s essential to do your research and be aware of the potential risks involved.

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Dr. Chandrika

About Me

I am a veterinary doctor who is passionate about providing top-quality care for pets and their families. My mission is to share my knowledge and expertise with pet owners through my blog, petearnest.com.


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