self annointing hedgehogYour hedgehog is walking around fine and then suddenly he backs up, contorts his body, foams at the mouth and starts licking the foam onto his spine. This is something that has to be seen to be believed. This behavior is completely normal for hedgehogs.

When your hedgehog encounters a new or unusual smell, you may see him self anointing. Young hedgehogs seem to do it more often than adults. Possibly because more smells are new to them.

Why does this happen?

We don’t know for sure, but hedgehogs are highly resistant to most toxins. They are one of the few animals that can safely eat giant toads. They may be trying to protect themselves from other animals with a potentially toxic mixture.

I have also heard that it is a way to reduce stress, although I think it is probably more likely that they are trying to protect themselves.

If you handle your hedgehog after using hand lotion or fragrant soap, you may see this behavior, too. Don’t be concerned. Even though you may feel like your hedgehog is having seizures or has contracted rabies, self anointing is perfectly normal.

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