A hedgehog’s masturbation

Photo: © Lizl van Vreden

Masturbating hedgehogs? Now that might be a sticky spikey situation one would think. But it is true, hedgehogs are indeed guilty of this! Males and females. Hedgehog males are very notorious for this, as they tend to leave some evidence behind. The females are just more discreet when it comes to masturbation.

But it is also true that there is a lot of other animals that participate in solo sex!

And most of them don`t have hands… While humans are fixed on the end result, (climax) animals not so much, which is why their way of masturbation is often different and may seems strange to us.

If we look at a few examples of animals, some species like deer would rub their antlers against trees, which does not seem like masturbation to us.

The porcupine jumps out for me, part of the reason is that they have quills, although not related to hedgehogs, but their habit to find sex toys. They will saddle, stride, seize any kind of object that will suit the purpose such as sticks, tree stumps, and if in captivity, food, or water bowls.

Other examples are of course monkeys, as they are famous for sexual activities, but having hands, and very much resembles humans, it makes it kind of logical for them to participate in these types of activities. Masturbatory behaviour has been studied in rhesus monkeys, grey-cheeked mangabeys’ monkeys, colobus monkeys.

Walruses’, elephants, turtles, squirrels, penguins, dolphins are also other examples of animals, if to name only a few.  Dolphins are known to have orgies, and even engage in male to male or female-to female oral sex. Masturbation then seems to be no surprise with these aquatic creatures.

In a September 2010 paper in the journal PLoS ONE, Jane M. Waterman of the University of Central Florida found that all 20 of the male squirrels observed, masturbated to ejaculation and then consumed the ejaculate. To read more about this, you can follow this link.


Back to the hedgehogs… How do they do it?

They do it with a skill called “self-fellatio”. Because they are able roll up in a ball, it means they can reach their genitalia. While females mostly stick to the licking of genitalia, males will rub themselves also against objects in their cage such as cat litter. Hence the reason why pet owners with male hedgehogs prefer not to use traditional cat litter as small particles that gets in between the penis and shaft.

It is also known that hedgehog males that “overindulge” in masturbation may find themselves in a pickle when their penis won`t go back into the shaft (prolapse penis). This can lead to health injuries and that’s why it’s very important to always check your hedgehog’s genitals.

This information might make you look with different eyes to your sweet hedgehog…

Article by Lizl van Vreden.


I am Lizl from South Africa, my hedgery`s name is Awesome Krimpvarkies. I am also the founder of the South Africa`s Hedgehog Breeders Association. I enjoy blog writing for The Hedgehog Program, as it enables me to learn more about my passion, namely hedgehogs. In my private time I also assist with rescuing of our indigenous hedgehog`s- The Southern African hedgehog.

4 thoughts on “A hedgehog’s masturbation

  • Until i had hedgehogs i was aware of other animals masturbating, i watch a lot of animal documentaries. Up until recently i only had female hedgehogs, some i never saw masturbating others have no shame including my baby Nora whomi have now. I now also have a male hedgehog for the first time, Archie. He is very messy. luckily for me he doesnt often masturbate when i have him out of his house.

  • elize franklin

    very interesing was not aware sea animals also do it thank you for this info

  • Very interesting article.

  • Lynda Mitchell

    Many details in this article I did not know or even think about


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