Hedgehogs are animals notorious for their quills. These small mammals look intimidating sometimes, and hence, people often think twice before keeping them as pets. But are baby hedgehogs prickly or fluffy to touch?
Hedgehogs are not fluffy animals like cats and dogs. Baby hedgehogs are prickly to touch and hold.
The texture of quills when hedgehogs are babies is a bit different from adults. The quills baby hedgehogs have a bit smoother. Nevertheless, still spiky. Baby hedgehogs lose these quills as they mature, and new ones replace them.
Do Hedgehogs Have Spikes When They Are Born?
Often a question that arises is that were the spikes there all along? For example, are hedgehogs born with sharp spikes?
When hedgehogs are born, the spikes are concealed in their skin. There is a layer of liquid that covers the skin that acts as a well. If it were not for the liquid barrier, the mother hedgehog would get hurt while giving birth.
The small spikes do not stay hidden for long, and after a few hours of being born, baby hedgehogs will begin to show spikes. Baby hedgehogs will now sport around 150 quills which are smooth in texture if compared with adult hedgehogs.
However, as the babies grow old and mature, the quills become hard.
What Do Newborn Hedgehogs Look Like?
When baby hedgehogs are born, they are blind and deaf. These babies do not open their eyes for two to three weeks. After this time, the hedgehogs will open their eyes and experience the world around them.
Baby hedgehogs do nothing much and are just blobs that weigh 25 grams. The spines are not visible on newborn hedgehogs and are carefully hidden under the skin, covered by a layer of liquid.
How Do Baby Hedgehogs Mature?
Baby hedgehogs will have their mother’s milk. If one of the babies is weak, it will not get a turn to feed and, as a result, may die of malnutrition. If you notice that the litter has a runt, you can separate it from the cage and make other arrangements, such as a foster mother.
When babies grow and reach week four, they would have developed sharp teeth. This is the time when the mother hedgehog begins weaning the babies. After that, the mother hedgehog spends time away from the nest.
If your hedgehog has given birth to adorable little hoglets, week four is the time you start introducing the babies to some crunchy food.
The baby hedgehogs will also begin losing their quills at this point. Be careful and monitor your hedgehog as it may feel discomfort and be irritable. The white quills that they originally will soon be replaced by adult quills.
You will notice that the hedgehogs will become active and begin developing personalities.
Hedgehogs are explorers and curious by nature. The babies will soon scurry around, sniffing things. You will need a wider surface area so that they can cover a lot of ground.
Around six weeks, the baby hedgehogs become independent and can leave the nest. In the wild, this is the time when baby hedgehogs venture off on their own. You should remove the babies from the mother hedgehog.
Ensure to keep the male hedgehogs in separate cages as they do not like companions and prefer to be alone. The female hedgehogs do not mind companions and can be kept together. If the female hedgehogs are being kept with the mother, ensure sufficient food for all.
How To Take Care of a Baby Hedgehog
There are instances when the mother hedgehog may reject the babies or just one. In this scenario, it is important to act quickly as baby hedgehogs need nutrition from their mothers.
Newborn hedgehogs may have a hard time surviving without their mother. However, if the hedgehog is a few weeks old, it can live to grow.
If the mother hedgehog refuses to acknowledge her babies, you can find a foster mother for the hoglet. Sneak the baby in another litter and the mother will not notice and care for it.
However, if this does not work or you cannot find a foster mother, you can rear the baby hedgehog yourself.
You can rear the hedgehog by purchasing the correct supplies first. You will require a syringe with a rubber nipple, sheep’s milk, and a raw egg. Sheep’s milk is filled with nutrients and should be mixed with the raw egg to make up for the lost nutrients from the mother’s milk.
You will also require some towels as the baby hedgehogs will pee or poop.
Every time you feed the baby hedgehog, you will need to stimulate its stomach. You can stimulate by stroking gently with your finger.
Stimulation is necessary because the mother is not there to lick the hedgehog’s stomach. Stroking with your finger will induce bowel movements in the baby.
Baby hedgehogs are prickly to touch and hold. However, a baby hedgehog will have different quills than an adult. The quills of young hedgehogs are smoother than texture. They are also white as opposed to adults who have both white and black quills.
As baby hedgehogs mature, they will lose their quills to be replaced later.
When they are born, hedgehogs weigh 25 grams and are blind and deaf. The quills are hidden under their skin and covered with a layer of liquid. The layer is essential. Otherwise, the sharp quills could harm the mother hedgehog as she gives birth.
Baby hedgehogs are extremely delicate, and if the mother rejects them, you can place them with a foster mother. If that does not work out, you can rear the hedgehog yourself by feeding it sheep’s milk mixed with raw egg for nutrients.
You will also be required to stimulate the baby for some bowel movements.