Pet hedgehog lost its spines because of central heating

NEWS AND COMMENT: A hedgehog kept as a pet became too hot due to central heating which appears to have caused a fungal infection which in turn resulted in the hedgehog losing its spines. Hedgehog spines are sometimes referred to as quills. It seems that central heating does not suit a hedgehog no matter how much you love the little creature. He is now at a sanctuary in north-east Hamburg where he is being treated every two days with a special body lotion to get rid of the fungus and he is happy with that.

Bald hedgehog. This is not the Hamburg hedgehog. This one lost their spines due to alopecia. Screenshot.

I don’t have any more information about the Hamburg hedgehog. Nor a photograph. I wish I did but the Internet doesn’t help me. It seems, however, that hedgehogs can lose their spines for a number of reasons and I’m thankful for Hedgehog World, a website which discusses quilling.

I didn’t know that hedgehogs go through two phases in their early life when they shed their old quills and grow new ones. Hedgehogs go through quilling twice during their lives. The first time it occurs is at the age of 4-6 weeks. They replace more quills with large quills which can cause discomfort. You can see the adult quills emerging and how much bigger they are compared to the old ones.

The second episode of quilling in the life of a hedgehog happens at about sixteen-weeks-of age. It is also uncomfortable but less so than the first session. Sometimes hedgehogs go through smaller sessions of quilling later on in their lives.

Quilling takes about two weeks to over a month. The experts say that you can check their backs when you will often see new spines poking through the skin from which you can gauge the growth process and timescale.

You can make a hedgehog feel better by giving them a nice bath. Oatmeal baths are a favourite. You can clean and soothe their quilling areas without drying it out using a product on Amazon called Aveeno Baby Gentle Wash and Shampoo with Natural Oat Extract. It costs $13.98 in America on Amazon Prime. You can keep the skin of a hedgehog soft by using a bit of olive oil as well. You apply it directly to the skin.

Hedgehog quilling is natural and the serious hedgehog guardian should understand it thoroughly. On this page I’m simply touching on it.


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