When you think of hedgehogs, you may think of the small, spiky-haired mammals that curl up into a ball when they feel threatened.
But did you know that hedgehogs can actually swim?
Yes, hedgehogs can swim!
It is a surprisingly common behavior for these small mammals. They use their strong hind legs to propel themselves through the water. Hedgehogs have been observed swimming in shallow water, often in search of food or shelter.
Hedgehogs are naturally well-adapted to swimming. They have a thick layer of fur that makes them buoyant and helps keep them warm in the water. They also have relatively large feet, which help them move through the water more efficiently.
Hedgehogs can swim for short distances although they have been known to swim for over half a mile at times. They are not very fast swimmers. They usually swim in short bursts of energy. They can also hold their breath underwater for a few minutes.
It is important to provide hedgehogs with a shallow body of water to swim in if you have them as pets. They should not be allowed to swim in deep water, as they may get exhausted and drown.
Why do hedgehogs swim?
Hedgehogs swim to find food, cool off in hot weather, and to escape predators.
In the wild they would often need to swim to cross small streams that may be within their territory to look for food.
In captivity, hedgehogs can be taught to swim for exercise and enrichment.
Do hedgehogs bathe?
No, hedgehogs typically do not bathe, as they are very clean animals and groom themselves regularly.
In captivity you can teach your hedgehog to enjoy a shallow bath with lukewarm water, but it is not necessary.
Can hedgehogs drown?
Yes, hedgehogs can drown if they are submerged in water for too long. Although they are quite good swimmers if they end up in deep water with no way of getting out they will swim until they are exhausted and may then drown.
I have a swimming pool at my house and there are wild hedgehogs here. Sadly I have found two drowned hedgehogs in the pool over the years.
I have also found a number of swimming hedgehogs, albeit getting very tired. I removed them, dried them off and left them in a quiet place in the garden (away from the pool) where they could calm down and rest before going back to wherever they sleep.
After finding another hedgehog swimming in the pool one morning in 2021 I decided to try and make a way for them to get out.
I came up with a floating scamper mat using a piece of non.slip mat and a length of pool noodle as buoyancy. I made two of these, one for each end of the pool.
I can’t say for sure that it has worked as I have never seen a hedgehog use one but also I have never had a drowned hedgehog since making them and have only found one swimming hedgehog. He pay well have found the mat and got out on its own had I not removed him.
You can also buy similar devices called “Frog Logs” if you have a pool and live somewhere that has wild hedgehogs.
Do hedgehogs have webbed feet?
Hedgehogs do not have webbed feet.
Hedgehogs have five toes on each of their front feet and four on each of their back feet. All of their toes are connected by skin, but they are not webbed in the same way a duck or a frog’s feet are.
Instead, the skin between their toes helps them grip the ground when they are running or climbing. Hedgehogs also have strong claws on their front and back feet, which help them dig and climb. The claws also help them defend themselves from predators.
In conclusion, hedgehogs can indeed swim. It is a common behavior for these small mammals, and they are well-adapted to swimming with their thick fur and webbed feet.
However, it is important to provide them with shallow water if they are kept as pets.