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Quilling is the act of losing quills and replacing them with newer quills as a hedgehog ages. Quills may fall out of a number of reasons, so it should not always be assumed that quilling is the cause of lost quills.

A hedgehog quills numerous times over it's lifespan. Quilling often occurs at these time periods:
  • First quilling
    • 4 weeks (~1 month)
  • Second quilling
    • 6 weeks (~1.5 months)
  • Third quilling/Adult Color quilling:
    • 9 weeks (~2 months)
  • Adult quilling
    • 12 weeks (~3-5months)

Quilling is completely normal, and quills lost to quilling will retain their ball shaped follicle on one end. If the majority of the quills do not have a follicle on it, bring your hedgehog to the vet and have him tested for mites and fungus? as these can both cause quill loss.
The adult quilling can last anywhere from 2 weeks to 6 weeks.

How to Help with Quilling

When a hedgehog has its final quilling at about 3-5 months, it may be very uncomfortable for the hedgehog. Thousands of tiny needles are trying to push through the hedgehog's skin, which can cause severe pain and irritation of his current quills are touched in any way.
Most hedgies will get grumpy during quilling and may not act like themselves.
There are a few things you can do to help your hedgehog with quilling, so do not fret:

  • Give you hedgehog a luke-warm bath, just like you would regularly give them but add either moisturizing oatmeal shampoo, or take non-instant oatmeal and put it in a sock and run it through the water until it is cloudy.. This will help soften the skin and allow the quills to break through the skin, reducing a lot of the pain felt. Poor the water over your hedgie's back, and instead of ruffling him dry with a towel, use a hairdryer on the coolest setting.
    • After your hedgehogs both you can apply Flax Seed oil to your hedgehogs back. One drop on each shoulder and one drop on the middle of the rump should cover the entire hedgehogs back. It is recommended to use Flax Seed oil capsules and to poke a hole in one when you wish to use it as regular flax seed oil can go bad. Also if you wish you can place a few drops on your hedgies food as it will help to keep it's skin soft. Some foods also contain flax seed oil such as Wellness.
  • Do not put cloth on your hedgie's back. During this time it can cause pain and discomfort in your hedgie. Instead allow it to sit on something soft and talk to it calmly, letting it now he will feel better soon.
  • Do not force your hedgie onto it's back or cause it to roll up, as this will irritate your hedgie's skin.
  • During bonding time allow your hedgie to either run around or sleep in your lap, do not attempt to continuously pick it up or roll it around like you may usually do as this could make it grumpier


  1. Hedgehog Central - Fact Sheet (external link)
  2. Hedgehog Central - Those Amazing Quills (external link)

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Created by: admin Last Modification: Wednesday 22 of April, 2009 09:46:10 EDT by azyrios

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