Do Hedgehogs Smell And How To Neutralize It

Do hedgehogs smell is a common question that potential pet owners might have. The short answer is – no, the hedgehog itself doesn’t smell but their waste can become stinky if not looked after correctly.

Do Hedgehogs Smell?

Although, hedgehogs are relatively low-maintenance animals and can bring a lot of joy to your life, you might still be apprehensive before getting one as a pet for different reasons. One of them being the question – do hedgehogs smell?

Regardless of all the confusing and contradicting information online on this topic, the answer is quite simple.

Naturally, hedgehogs are odourless animals as they don’t have scent glands such as other animals like ferrets or skunks. Although, hedgehogs don’t have scent glands, they can still become smelly if you’re not looking after them properly.

In this article, we will investigate the following:

  • Factors contributing to hedgehog’s smelling bad
  • What you can do to neutralise bad hedgehog smell

Fortunately, there are things that you as a pet owner can do to improve how your hedgehog smells. Furthermore, it’s your responsibility to provide your hedgehog with the hygiene and diet necessary for them to be healthy.

If you’re still wondering do hedgehogs smell, keep reading to find out what factors affect your hedgehog’s health and therefore scent.

What Factors Contribute To Bad Smells In Hedgehogs

do hedgehogs smell

When thinking about “do hedgehogs smell” and what factors can cause for hedgehogs to smell, the first one that comes to mind is – habitat. Check out the full list of factors that can result in the impression that hedgehogs smell bad:

  • Habitat
  • Hedgehog stool
  • Hedgehog pee
  • Sicknesses in hedgehogs
  • Hedgehog hygiene
  • Bad diet


As your hedgehog will be spending most of their time in their cage, that is where they would go to the toilet. Therefore, this would result in stool and urine build up and getting stuck in small spaces, including on your actual hedgehog.

With that said, hedgehogs don’t smell but their habitat can start smelling bad because of their stool and urine. Furthermore, hedgehogs won’t try to avoid stepping in their faeces and pee.

So, if you fail to clean often enough, you will be able to smell them from a distance.

In addition, it’s good to know that male hedgehog urine has a stronger smell than the urine of a female hedgehog.

Hedgehog Stool

One of the main reasons for your hedgehog to seem like it smells bad, is the smell that comes from their stool.

As they are active during the night and usually go on their wheel to exercise, the more they are active and running on the wheel, the more they poop.

In addition to that, the fresher the stool, the more it would smell compared to stale and dry poop.

Hedgehog Pee

Another reason for hedgehog’s bad smell is their pee. Overall, their urine on its own doesn’t smell that strong and hedgehog’s poop smell worse than their pee.

Although, pee doesn’t smell as bad, when it gets soaked into the hedgehog’s bedding, it can result in a strong, bad scent.

Sicknesses In Hedgehogs

Besides poop and pee, hedgehogs can seem like they smell bad for other reason aswell. One of the reasons is – sicknesses and illnesses in hedgehogs.

Furthermore, some hedgehog sicknesses or illnesses can lead to your hedgehog having a bad odour. With that said, if your hedgehog smells bad and it’s not coming from their poop or pee, you should take it to the vet as it’s probably a symptom of an infection.

Hedgehog Hygiene

Another reason for your hedgehog to appear like it smells bad, is not cleaning your hedgehog’s cage or not bathing your pet.

Overall, to keep your hedgehog clean, you should bathe it at least once every 2 weeks.

Bad Diet

Another possible cause for hedgehog bad smell is – poor diet. If you’re not feeding your hedgehog a nutritious diet with the correct protein and fat balance, it might influence how they smell.

Furthermore, foods with high fat content, can result in your hedgehog’s faeces smelling extra bad. That’s why is imperative, you feed your hedgehog the correct diet.

If you want to learn if hedgehogs can eat cat food, follow this link Can Hedgehogs Eat Cat Food – How To Pick The Best

Neutralising The Smell

As the question “do hedgehogs smell” have now been answered and the causes have been investigated fully, the next question is how to neutralise the smell.

Fortunately, there are things that you as a hedgehog owner can do to avoid hedgehog bad smells or at least to minimise them. The following is what you can do to improve your hedgehog’s scent:

  • Clean their cage
  • Change the bedding
  • Clean and swap the exercise wheel
  • Bathe your hedgehog
  • Feed your hedgehog the right diet
  • Litter training

Finally, keep reading to explore all the ways you can keep you hedgehog clean and healthy.

Clean Their Cage

Cleaning your hedgehog’s cage or enclosure regularly is essential to minimising and eliminating bad smells. Furthermore, this is one of the most important things you can do to improve any unpleasant scents.

As your hedgehog will be using the cage to poop and pee, it can get stuck in places such as on the edges of the cage and the cage floor. That’s why, it’s imperative that you clean the cage at least once a week.

Performing regular cage cleanings is one of the most important things you can do to make sure your hedgehog never smells bad. A quick clean can be done daily but a weekly deep clean is also essential to keep the hygiene levels up to standard.

Furthermore, this can be done using a handheld vacuum to suck out the poop quickly.

Finally, don’t forget to change their water bowl daily, as they can poop and pee in there also if not trained.

The weekly deep clean includes the following steps:

  • Take everything out of the cage
  • Clean the cage including the cage floor with soapy, warm water
  • As a final step, rinse the cage thoroughly, so no chemicals are left behind as it can be toxic to your hedgehog’s health
  • Any other objects in the cage such as toys, also need to be sanitised and cleaned

Change The Bedding

Hedgehogs do smell when their bedding is not changed often enough. With that said, the bedding often gets soaked with urine and faeces, so it’s imperative that you change it at least three times a week.

It’s recommended to use dust-free and odour-neutralizing bedding.

Clean And Swap Exercise Wheel

The exercise wheel would end up being one of your hedgehog’s favourite activities. As your hedgie can spend hours running on it and the more active they get, the more they poop and pee.

As a result, a lot of that waste would get on stuck on the wheel.

Therefore, the exercise wheel will be one of the main objects in their cage that would smell bad. To avoid having the running wheel as a main source of the smell, do the following:

  • Cleaning the wheel regularly and scrubbing off the dried-up poop
  • Buy more than one wheel that can be swapped out, especially when you don’t have enough time to clean it.

    Furthermore, you can leave one of the exercise wheel to soak in warm soapy water. That way the dried poop loosens up and can be scrubbed off easily afterwards and your hedgie still has a wheel to use in the meantime

Bathe Your Hedgehog

Bathing the hedgehog is your opportunity to clean any faeces or urine that your hedgehog might have got covered in. Furthermore, poop can get stuck on his feet, quills and on his underside, that’s why it’s so important to bathe your hedgie.

Whilst bathing is important, it’s also as important to not wash them too often as it can dry out their skin. In addition, dry skin can lead to skin infections.

With that said you should bathe your hedgehog maximum of twice a month.

It’s also recommended, to use an oat wash as it can be soothing for your hedgehog’s skin. Follow these steps to successfully bathe your hedgehog:

  • Start off by giving your hedgehog a foot bath. It should be shallow enough, so the hedgie can stroll through the water. The reason for that is to soften any poop stuck on its feet, especially the poop that’s matted into his fur
  • Secondly, gently scrub the poop off his feet and his fur
  • Thirdly, you should use fresh, warm water mixed with some oatmeal to rinse the hedgehog off
  • Finally, pour that water on his back, avoiding his head as that would not only be relaxing but it would also clean out the spines

If you follow the recommendations above, your hedgehog should be happy, healthy, clean and as a bonus, it won’t stink.

Feed Your Hedgehog The Right Diet

If you have decided to get this spiky pet and wonder do hedgehogs smell, you should ensure you have done your research on the diet they need.

The reason for that is, what you feed them can have a big impact on how their waste smell and in some cases, the results can be particularly unpleasant.

Furthermore, the following list contains foods you should avoid as they will make your hedgehog’s poop smell exceptionally bad:

  • Fatty foods – foods with high fat content should be avoided as they will not only make your hedgie smell bad but it will also make it gain too much weight
  • Lack of nutrients – hedgehog’s diet should be up to 15% fats and 30%-35% protein and good amount of fibre
  • Snacks that are hard to digest can also result in your hedgehog smelling bad
  • Foods with fish

If you’re not sure if you have your hedgie on the right diet, inspect their poop. So, if your hedgehog’s poop smell bad and is softer rather than hard, it can mean that this isn’t the right diet and should investigate other options.

With that said, a good kibble food recommendation is Purina One Healthy Kitten.

Finally, having not having your hedgehog on a well-balanced diet can be one of the main reasons your hedgehog smells bad.

Learn more about what diet you should feed your hedgehog by clicking here African Pygmy Hedgehog Diet And Fruits Hedgehogs Can Eat

Litter Training

The last thing you can try to avoid your hedgie smelling bad, is litter training. You might question if it’s possible to train a hedgehog to use a litter tray. Fortunately, yes this is possible.

Although, litter training works best when the hedgehog is young and still doesn’t have set habits, it is still possible to train an older hedgehog.

So, to build a litter tray for your hedgehog, follow these steps:

  • You should section off an area in the cage and place a plastic pan or dish
  • Use absorbent litter or even better you can use pine pellets, which are very absorbent, and great at neutralising the odour.

By sectioning off a corner for your hedgehog to poop and pee, bad smells would be either completely eliminated or at least minimized. In addition to that, the cleaning of the cage would also be much easier.

What Not To Do

There are things you shouldn’t do when trying to neutralise hedgehog’s bad smells. With that said avoid the following:

  • Don’t use any scents or chemicals such as candles to improve hedgehog’s bad smell as this can result in your hedgehog becoming stressed
  • Leaving windows open. During cold weather, this can have a negative impact on your hedgehog’s health as they need to live in warm temperatures


So, do hedgehogs smell? The short answer is – the hedgehog itself doesn’t smell but their waste can smell exceptionally bad if not looked after correctly.

If your hedgehog waste has a strong unpleasant smell, it means you might be doing something wrong. The following is a summarised list of some of the most important points that you must remember:

  • Havin a set cleaning routine where you clean the hedgehog’s cage every daily, followed by a weekly deep clean
  • Bathe them regularly to remove any dried-up poop and urine. Although, be careful as bathing them daily can be bad for their skin
  • Change the bedding often as it can get soaked in urine
  • Clean and change the exercise wheel as they poop and pee whilst running. It’s a good idea to have a spare wheel and use it whilst the other one is soaking overnight
  • Litter training is recommended as this will be the best proactive way to remove bad smells
  • Have the hedgehog on a controlled diet with the correct nutrients. Also, don’t ever feed your hedgehog raw diet
  • If stressed, hedgehog’s poop can smell much worse than normal. For that reason, you must ensue your hedgehog’s environment doesn’t cause it any stress
  • You can use dust-free, odour-neutralizing bedding but never use scents such as candles to mask their smell as that can lead to stress

In conclusion, do hedgehogs smell? It depends on the owner. Keeping your hedgehog clean, healthy and feeding it the right diet are imperative not only to their health but also if you want to keep bad smells at bay.


My name is Iliyana and I'm a passionate animal lover and pet owner. As there is significantly less information online about unusual and exotic pets, I decided to found this website and recruit expert writers to help pet owners.

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