Hedgehog: dead or alive?
September 18, 2008 9:39 AM   Subscribe

Is it possible to easily tell the difference between a dead and a hibernating hedgehog?

My parents recently rescued and nursed a hedgehog for about a week. They said when they found it, it looked like it was drunk. They were told by some hedgehog charity that this means they are cold and that they need feeding and warming up so they did this.
After about a week of much improvement, my father came down to discover it was dead. Or at least he thinks so, but wants to be 100% sure that it isn't just hibernating before he buries it.

It smells dead to me.

Any experts out there?
posted by 999 to Pets & Animals (7 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
From the movies:

Put a small mirror in front of its small nostrils and look for fog on the glass.

Tap it on the eyeball.

Stick it with a pin.
posted by kuujjuarapik at 9:48 AM on September 18, 2008

My experience is with African Pygmy Hedgehogs, but when our hedgie would go dormant, he would still be visibly breathing and have some reactions to being disturbed (curl up tighter, etc.). If the hedgehog is completely uncurled and has no response, it's dead. At least, that's what ours did when he finally passed away.
posted by fiercekitten at 9:49 AM on September 18, 2008

I have always wanted to correctly answer an AskMe question thusly:


Now I can die happily.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 9:56 AM on September 18, 2008 [16 favorites]

Temperature is an easy giveaway, if you can't tell if it's breathing or not. There is a significant difference between the warmth of a sleeping body and the room-temperature inertness of a corpse. The belly of a hedgehog is the easiest place to feel body temperature. (owner of an ex-hedgehog, or mayhaps it was just pining for the fjords)
posted by FatherDagon at 10:13 AM on September 18, 2008 [1 favorite]

Thanks folks. We've concluded that it is dead.
posted by 999 at 10:45 AM on September 18, 2008


posted by pointystick at 12:21 PM on September 18, 2008 [2 favorites]

Your parents sound like my kind of people. It was very kind of them to make this little fellow's last days comfortable.
posted by The Monkey at 11:29 PM on September 18, 2008

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