Hedgehog mites can be a huge pain for both you and your pet. They cause a great deal of discomfort to your hedgie and require you to spend extra time treating them.
And they’re fairly common too. While it’s not a guarantee that your hedgehog will get mites at some point, the chance is a lot higher than a lot of owners realize.
Because of this, they’re underprepared when their poor hedgie actually gets them. This leads to unnecessary suffering and slow treatment for something that could have been taken care of quickly.
That’s why we put together this resource to help you better understand hedgehog mites and how to get rid of them. While they are something to take seriously, the course of action for treatment is actually pretty simple.
By the time you’re done reading this, you’ll be completely prepared for a case of mites and can quickly take care of your hedgie!
Where Do They Come From?
Hedgehog mites usually come from infested objects or other animals. These little critters are great at jumping from one place to the next, and can easily find their way to your hedgehog.
One of the most common sources of mites is from infested bedding or cage accessories (such as lining). This often happens at the pet store where they’re purchased since there are many other animals in the vicinity that could have mites.
If you have other pets in your house they’re also potential carriers of mites. Even if you don’t let them near your hedgehog it’s incredibly easy for mites to make their way over. This can come from towels, carpet, you name it. Mites are incredibly resilient and are not to be underestimated!
Quick Note: Hedgehog mites can lay dormant for a while until your hedgehog has a low enough immune system for them to spread. This is another great reason why striving for the very best in the health of your pet should be the goal!
Signs Of Hedgehog Mites
There are a number of different signs and symptoms of hedgehog mites that you should look out for. Fortunately, these should be fairly obvious as long as you’re taking good care of your hedgie and interacting with them on a regular basis.
Itchy And Dry skin
You might notice your hedgehog doing a fair bit of itching if they have mites. This should stand out to you because excessive itching is not normal. While they do itch from time to time, the difference should be fairly easy to identify.
The reason for this is that mites can get into the skin and cause a significant amount of irritation. This creates an itch that your hedgehog wants to get rid of (understandably). If they have mites they might try to gnaw at their skin as well.
You’ll also be able to notice a difference in their skin if you examine them. There will likely be a noticeable amount of flakes and redness.
Quick Tip: This is why it’s so important to pay attention to your hedgehogs. A quick inspection to make sure everything is alright will make it way easier to notice when something is wrong!
If you notice that your hedgehog is starting to lose a significant amount of their spines, it could be due to mites.
This is not to be confused with quilling, which is a normal process that all hedgehogs go through. This will happen a couple of times in their lives and will be a more evenly distributed and gradual exchange of quills.
If your hedgehog has mites, this will present quite differently.
You’ll typically see concentrated patches where their spines have fallen out. This will often happen on their backs (but not all the time).
This is a big red flag and isn’t something you can ignore.
Mites can cause a great deal of discomfort to your hedgehog. Because of this, you might find that they’re in a grumpier mood than usual.
They might try to nip or bite you if you touch a tender spot, or seem a little less energetic and ready to play. While these signs can also be the cause of another issue, it means something’s up.
Part of owning a pet hedgehog is maying attention to their behavior so you can keep them happy and healthy. Keep an eye on their moods and you can stop mites before they become a serious problem!
Mites On Other Animals
If another pet in your house (or a pet they play with) has had mites recently you should take any of the signs above very seriously. It’s incredibly easy for mites to make their way from one animal to another, and hedgehogs are no exception.
Hedgehog mite treatment is actually pretty simple. The most important thing is to look out for signs of mites and take action fast.
The most popular form of hedgehog mite treatment right now is using a product called Revolution. This is technically a product that was designed for cats to help free them of things like fleas, ticks, and worms.
However, it works great as a hedgehog mite treatment option too!
In order to get your hands on it, you’ll need to get a prescription from the vet, but it’s definitely worth the trip. You simply apply a couple of drops on the back of your hedgehog and all of their mites should be killed within 24 hours.
Revolution is also good at preventing future outbreaks for 30 days after the initial application. This will give you time to swap bedding and clean anything else in their cage.
Other Things You Can Do
Note: To be clear, these should not be done in place of Revolution or consulting your vet. This section simply covers some extra things you can do to make your hedgehog a little bit more comfortable if they have mites.
Depending on the severity of the infestation, your hedgehog might have a lot of lingering discomfort and irritation. Because of this, you can give them a nice bath to make them feel a little better.
It’s important to wait at least two hours after applying Revolution before doing this. After that point, it will be absorbed and fully effective for the next 30 days.
An oatmeal bath or bath with an Aveeno wash is a great way to reduce some of the itching and make them comfortable. This will also lead to them scratching a bit less, making it easier for the skin to heal.
- 33-fluid ounce bottle of gentle cleansing Aveeno baby wash and shampoo with natural oat extract
- The rich lathering wash & shampoo formula rinses clean & leaves behind a light, fresh fragrance
- The formula is tear-free, soap-free, hypoallergenic, paraben-free, and phthalate-free
- Rinses clean without drying
Don’t Forget To Wash Their Stuff!
If your hedgehog has mites you’ll need to wash everything in their habitat to be safe. This includes scrubbing down their cage, toys, wheel, and any other hard surface.
Tip: Use these cleaning wipes. They work great and don’t contain any products that are harmful to your hedgehog (like Lysol)
- Extra thick scrubbing dot wipes remove stubborn caked on cage debris
- Plant derived enzymatic odor control eliminates tough cage odors
- Convenience of a wipe with a best selling formula
- Made in USA
Also, swap out their bedding and wash any liners and towels that you’re using. This entire process won’t take that long and will make sure the mites don’t come back.
Ways To Prevent Mites In The Future
Preventing hedgehog mites is not that difficult. It’s really a matter of being consistent and making a habit of some very simple things.
First, washing your hands after you play with other animals can go a long way in preventing mites from making the journey to your hedgehog. It doesn’t matter what animal it is, always give your hands a good scrub before handling your hedgie.
This also applies if you visit a pet store as well. Pet stores are notorious for having dormant mites, so don’t forget!
It’s also a good idea to freeze any standard food or bedding your purchase for 24 hours before using it. Mites won’t be able to survive the low temperatures. A lot of people don’t do this, but it’s a great method that will give you peace of mind.
Last but not least, don’t skip baths! Giving your hedgehog a regular bath is one of the easiest and most effective ways to prevent them from getting mites. You should obviously be doing this anyway for general health and hygiene, but mite prevention is just another benefit.
It’s a good idea to throw in a couple of drops of olive oil with the bath as well. This is a cheap hack that is good for their skin and makes it even harder for mites to spread on your hedgehog.
Hedgehog mites are not fun for anyone. They’re uncomfortable for your poor little hedgie and they can be frustrating to deal with as an owner.
Luckily if you know what to do, getting rid of them is rather simple.
Even better, practice smart prevention habits to stop hedgehog mites from becoming a problem in the first place. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!