For many people that look to get hedgehogs, their first choice is an African pygmy. An African pygmy is in high demand among many people as they are small and manageable. Hence, these tiny creatures take less space in the house. But how long do African pygmy hedgehogs live?
An African pygmy hedgehog lives to be four to six years when kept as a pet.
You do not need to worry about time running out with your hedgehog. If compared to other small mammals, an African pygmy lives longer. Some hedgehogs, although rare, have even lived up to eight to ten years.
What is the Lifespan of an African Pygmy Hedgehog?
If you have decided to get an African Pygmy hedgehog, you will be pleased to know that its lifespan is four to six years. In some cases, although rare, African pygmy hedgehogs live to be eight or even ten years.
Which Factors Affect a Hedgehog’s Lifespan?
Many factors can contribute to how long your African pygmy hedgehog can live. Although these things will not completely influence your hedgehog’s life, they still make a difference.
Let us look at the basics:
The first step to owning a pet hedgehog is buying one. If you think it does not matter from where you buy your hedgehog, you are wrong. If you want your pet to live longer, you need to buy your hedgehog from a reliable breeder. Your choice of breeder should have a good reputation and should follow clean breeding practices.
Most breeders will inbreed hedgehogs which results in a lot of genetic diseases. These diseases catch later and can prove to be fatal for hedgehogs.
If you purchase your hedgehog from an unreliable breeder, you will face a lot of problems. Your hedgehog may constantly be ill and have a short life span.
A perfectly healthy hedgehog can still have a short life span if its diet is not good. Just like humans need to follow a healthy diet to live a long life, so does your hedgehog. You must ensure that your hedgehog gets a meal that has all the necessary nutrients.
If your hedgehog’s diet is not nutritious, it may catch diseases.
Moreover, your hedgehog likely has developmental issues and a weak immune system.
Since hedgehogs are active animals, they require a lot of exercise to stay healthy. It is best to provide your hedgehog with ample space so it can run and explore. Moreover, it would help if you also got a wheel for the cage as hedgehogs like to run it.
Physical exercise will keep them not only healthy but also mentally stimulated. Hedgehogs that run and have toys to play with are less likely to get stressed.
Hedgehogs do not like loud noises. You should know that your hedgehog will prefer quiet rather than loud. If you have other pets or a loud environment, your hedgehog is likely to get stressed.
Being stressed is bad for the hedgehog as it causes it to lose sleep and eventually leads to various health issues. You must ensure that your hedgehog is placed somewhere quiet with as little noise as possible.
It will help if you keep monitoring your hedgehog’s health. These spiny creatures can hide illness well. Daily visits to the vet and tracking your hedgehog’s behaviours can help you detect and treat early illnesses.
How Long Do Hedgehogs Live in the Wild?
A hedgehog would live longer in captivity as a pet than in the wild. Hedgehogs in the wild live up to one to three years.
The reason why wild hedgehogs live less than pet hedgehogs is that they face many challenges. In the wild, a hedgehog would have predators lurking that could attack it and kill it at any moment.
These hedgehogs sometimes must remain hungry for long periods due to scarcity of food. Sometimes a hedgehog may get injured in the wild where there is no one to tend to it, contributing to its short life.
What Diseases Can Hedgehogs Develop?
There is only so much you can do to contribute to a hedgehog’s long life. There are certain diseases that hedgehogs may develop as they mature that cannot be avoided.
One disease which is common in hedgehogs is called the Wobbly Hedgehog Syndrome. Hedgehogs that have these diseases suffer from loss of control that contribute to their wobbly walk.
There is nerve damage and muscle weakness which, if not treated, can progress. There is still no reason why this disease affects hedgehogs.
Hedgehogs are also prone to developing cancer and tumours. Tumours and cancer are common in hedgehogs that are three years and above. Fortunately, if a tumor is detected in its early stage, you can save your hedgehog’s life.
As hedgehogs are small, they are prone to gaining weight. It is recommended to feed your hedgehog in moderation and not give it too much sugary food. Hedgehogs are likely to gain weight and becoming obese. These tiny creatures can also get diabetes.
Hedgehogs have teeth just like humans. These spiny animals have around 44 teeth that need to be looked after otherwise; hedgehogs can develop dental diseases. It would be best to brush your hedgehog’s teeth and keep up with its dental hygiene. Otherwise, your hedgehog may have trouble eating food which can result in weakness.
An African pygmy hedgehog can live to be four to six years as pets in captivity. In the wild, a hedgehog would live less. Wild hedgehogs have many obstacles to face that contribute to their small lifespans, such as predators, hibernation, and scarcity.
Many factors contribute to a hedgehog’s life, like their diet, breeder, and physical activity. It is essential that you feed your hedgehog a nutritious diet, give it lots of exercise and keep it in a quiet place. You should also ensure that your breeder is reputable.
Despite all the measures, hedgehogs can still catch diseases that can prove fatal if not treated in time.