Trimming nails

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Hooked on Hogs
Jan 28, 2009
Kingston, Ontario
There is nothing that can strike fear into the hearts of both new and experienced hedgehog owners as nail trimming. Each hedgehog is different so what may work well for one, may not work for another. The main thing is to relax and don’t try to get all feet done in one evening. If you get stressed your hedgehog will pick up on that so try to relax.

Some people use human nail clippers in large size, small size and baby. Some prefer pet nail clippers. Use what is most comfortable for you.

Clean nails are easier to trim and easier to see the vein so trimming after a bath is often easiest. Sometimes when hedgie is relaxed after a bath he will be more co-operative.

Trim only the tip of the nail and try not to cut below the quick (vein). At some point in time, everyone will trim a nail too short and it will bleed. Keep a little dish of flour or cornstarch to dip the foot in when this happens. Styptic power or sticks sting so avoid using if possible. Flour and cornstarch works well. Try to keep hedgie calm until the bleeding stops. Once you cut a nail to short it is usually best to quit for the evening and wait a few days before starting again.

Some hedgehogs can be very difficult and need to be trimmed during the bath. Make sure hedgie is supported so he doesn’t slide under the water.

If hedgie is difficult and he likes to annoint, try giving him something to annoint over and while he is busy annointing, you can trim a few nails.

Holding hedgie in your hand with a foot between your fingers works for many.

Some people have good luck by putting hedgie on a cube grid, like C&C cages are made from and let the legs dangle through.

Try different ways and most of all, relax and don’t try doing all feet at one time.


I find when Squee is in the bath is the ONLY way we can get his toes done. I just hold him tight and slip one little paw between my fingers and hold. That way he can't move his foot on me, and its not hurting him or stretching it in some weird way! Lol but it's a 2 man effort there's no getting this done bymyself.


Well-known member
Jan 8, 2013
North Liberty, IA
I had my vet do Cinni while she was sedated for a checkup because we got her as an adult and she refuses to unball even if you wait hours. The vet used little little scissors, lined up all of Cinni's toes that did so and just cut them at once. It was a really quick way to do it and we were done by the time Cinni woke up enough to complain which was only minutes.


Active member
Nov 7, 2013
St. Louis
My little guy Ppunk used to be very bad. He was the crankiest little hedgehog in the world. The only way to get his nails properly clipped was to take him to the vet, who sometimes would have to sedate him shortly. It was very stressful for everyone involved, I was always afraid of hurting him.

It's been 5 years since I first got him, and now all I do to trim his nails is roll him over on his back and he just sits there looking at me. Every now and then he tries to squirm, and I tickle his belly and I think he likes that, but then he freezes and just stares at me. We play this little game a lot, but every now and then I take the opportunity in his little "freezes" where he just stares at me to get a few clips in. I suppose the moral is to be patient!


Quill Lover
Nov 24, 2013
Slingerlands, NY
Another thing you can to to make nail trimming easier is if you have a mesh grate stand them on it so their nails come through (Grate has to be solid and thick enough that they have good standing surface). Then just snip the nails from underneath!
It worked for a bit for me with my hedgie...takes two people to do though as one holds the grate and the other has to get underneath to clip lol. Unfortunately for me she smartened up too quick and figured out to keep her feet moving so I couldnt get her nails LOL! Stinker...
Once she figured it out it turned into hubby holding her and me grabbing a foot as they slipped through his fingers.
Some just hate nail trimming.