Hedgehogs are small mammals that have been domesticated to be kept as pets for decades. In the last few years, especially, there has been a surge in people keeping hedgehogs as pets. This has paved the way for breeders to practice more breeding but how many babies do hedgehogs have?
Hedgehogs give birth to a litter of four to five babies on average. Of course, there are occasions where hedgehogs will give birth to more or less than this.
There are a lot of misconceptions regarding hedgehogs.
Some people believe that hedgehogs grow up to be porcupines. However, that is untrue. Hedgehog babies are called hoglets that grow up to be adult hedgehogs. These babies have only 150 spines at the time of birth and are born blind and deaf.
It is only after a few weeks that hedgehog babies gain their vision and sense of hearing.
How Long Do Hedgehog Babies Stay with their Mothers?
When hedgehogs are born, they weigh only 25 grams. Baby hedgehogs are dependent on their mothers for taking care of them. The male hedgehog does not partake in the rearing process and does not recognize their babies.
If you have both the male and female hedgehog together in a cage, you should remove the make hedgehog before the female gives birth.
By the second week, hedgehogs gain some perspective of the world. These babies feed on their mothers like all mammals. Around the third week, hedgehogs will develop teeth, which irritates their mother as she feeds them.
By this time, it is a good idea to introduce the baby hedgehogs to solid food. The mother hedgehog may begin backing away from the babies to wean them off.
Around five to six weeks, baby hedgehogs accompany their mother as she begins to forage and hunt in the wild.
The babies learn to hunt and catch small insects such as beetles. At the end of six weeks, the baby hedgehogs are now fully grown and ready to leave the nest.
If you are a breeder or your pet hedgehog has given birth, you should separate the babies from the mother at this age. It can sometimes happen that the male babies may develop sexual feelings for the mother, and hence, it is important to keep them in a separate cage.
Ensure that male hedgehogs have their separate cages as they do not like companions. Since female hedgehogs have a tolerance for companions, they can be kept with the mother or together.
How Do Hedgehogs Mate?
During the winter months of January and February, hedgehogs are hibernating. This is when hedgehogs conserve large amounts of energy to survive in the wild.
After hedgehogs are done hibernating, they search for food and water. In the wild, hedgehogs spend the months of March and April hunting and searching for food for the most part.
The mating season begins in May. If you ever hear noise in your gardens during the nighttime, know that it is nothing but hedgehog mating season. Hedgehogs follow a specific mating ritual.
The male hedgehog will circle the female hedgehogs and dance around them to impress them. Male hedgehogs sometimes fight with each other over females. To impress the females, the male hedgehogs get involved in the competition of headbutting.
The female hedgehog will have her quills standing upright, and if the male hedgehog tries to mate, it may hurt itself. After some time, the female hedgehog lays her quills flat and allows the male hedgehog to mate.
What Month Do Hedgehogs Have Babies?
A female hedgehog remains pregnant for about four weeks before giving birth to a litter of hoglets in June and July.
Why Do Hedgehogs Eat Their Babies?
Hedgehogs have often been known to display cannibalistic behaviour. This is unfortunately common in a lot of animals and with hedgehogs too. These spined animals have been known to eat their babies.
It is emphasized to remove the male hedgehog from the cage when the female is about to give birth. This is because male hedgehogs do not take part in the rearing process and may not even recognize their babies.
Hence, as a result, they may eat their babies.
Moreover, the presence of a male hedgehog in a cage stresses the mother hedgehog. If the mother hedgehog feels that her babies are being threatened or are in danger, she resorts to cannibalism and eats her babies.
This is because the mother hedgehog does not know how to respond and follows her survival instinct.
Sometimes, a mother hedgehog may eat her babies if she feels too weak or born with an underlying condition. Eating the weaker baby will help the mother hedgehog focus on the stronger ones to grow to be healthy adult hedgehogs.
A mother hedgehog can become stressed because of the presence of a male hedgehog. Apart from that, loud noises can stress the mother hedgehog too. It is best to keep the cage as far away from loud noises as possible.
It would be best if you intervened as little as you can. Moreover, if you have other pets, ensure that they do not get close to the cage.
Hedgehogs are known to give birth on average to a litter of five to six babies. Baby hedgehogs are called hoglets that are born deaf and blind. These babies develop teeth around three weeks of age, and it is best to introduce them to solid things.
The mother hedgehog begins weaning her babies off, and when they are six weeks of age, they leave the nest.
Male hedgehogs should be separated from the cage and kept in solitary confinement. You can keep female hedgehogs in the same cage as they are more tolerant of companions. Hedgehogs mate in May.
Female hedgehogs become pregnant for four weeks before giving birth in the months of June-July. Hedgehogs can sometimes resort to cannibalism and eat their babies. The reasons can be because of stress, threats, or if the babies are weak.
The mother, along with her babies, should be kept in a safe and quiet environment.