Young hedgehogs do not mind being held, but many adults struggle to be let loose, especially males. Their first defense is to roll up into a tight ball of crisscrossed spines, with the head and legs in the center of the ball.
Hedgehogs are not aggressive, but they may bite if provoked. Adults also vocalize with a hissing sound when bothered.
Some hedgehogs will uncurl with back stroking of rump spines, a quiet environment, and subdued lighting.