Hedgehogs are small spined animals that more and more people are enjoying keeping as pets. As an owner, there are many questions regarding the mating process, the most important being, when do hedgehogs mate?
Hedgehogs begin to mate around May and June once they have come out of hibernation in the colder months.
Hedgehogs come out of hibernation, search for food, and then prepare to mate.
A hedgehog is ready to mate when it turns two years old. As soon as it reaches this age, the hedgehogs can mate until it dies. The mating process itself is very loud. So, if you hear any noise in May or June, it can be of hedgehogs mating.
How Do Hedgehogs Mate?
When hedgehogs come out of hibernation, they search for food and get ready to mate. During March and April, hedgehogs spend most of their time looking for food and water. Then, as May approaches, hedgehogs get ready to mate.
The hedgehog mating season is loud, and if you ever hear some noise in your garden, it is probably hedgehogs mating.
The hedgehogs follow a ritual when it comes to mating: First, the male hedgehog dances to attract the female hedgehog towards it. There are many head-butting competitions between male hedgehogs to impress the female hedgehogs.
During this time, the female hedgehog will refuse to mate and has her quills upright. When the male hedgehog tries to mate with her, it may hurt him. Finally, the female hedgehog gives in and allows the male hedgehog to mate with her.
Unlike some animals, hedgehogs will not mate for life. Instead, these mammals only come together to mate once and then go their separate ways.
How Long is a Hedgehog Pregnant for?
A hedgehog is pregnant for only one month before giving birth to her litter of hoglets. Although it is a short gestation period, hedgehogs only give birth once a year.
What Time of Year Are Baby Hedgehogs Born?
A hedgehog stays pregnant for four weeks and gives birth to hoglets in June and July.
How Long Before Hedgehogs Leave Their Nest?
When hedgehog mothers give birth to their hoglets, they only weigh 25 grams. As a result, the hoglets are born blind and deaf. The quills are hidden under their skin and covered with a liquid to protect the mother as she gives birth.
Within some hours of being born, the quills begin to appear on the hoglets. The hoglets cuddle together with each other to remain warm and protect themselves from the cold.
Hoglets feed on their mother, and by the second week, they begin to gain vision and their sense of hearing. When the third week approaches, hoglets will begin to develop teeth, and they become irritated.
If you have baby hedgehogs, at around three weeks, you should introduce them to solid foods. It is also around three weeks that the mother will begin weaning her babies.
When hedgehogs turn five to six weeks old, they accompany their mother to forage through the wild. The hedgehogs learn to hunt and catch insects. By the time hedgehogs turn six weeks old, they become ready to face the real world and become independent.
It is wise to remove any babies from the mother’s cage and keep them apart after this time.
Female hedgehogs can be kept together with the mother. However, male hedgehogs must be removed from the cage. Otherwise, they may try to mate.
From birth to adulthood, male hedgehogs are not a part of bringing up the babies during the entire process from birth to adulthood.
Can A Mother Hedgehog Reject the Babies?
Unfortunately, there have been many circumstances when the mother rejects her babies. During this time, the babies must be removed from the cage. Otherwise, there is a danger of the mother eating them.
The hoglet might be sick, or the mother may refuse to feed the baby. If you find yourself in this situation, the next best option is to look for a foster mother for the baby. More often, other hedgehogs can feed the baby.
If this is not possible, you will have to take care of the baby. Begin taking care of the baby by feeding it sheep’s milk. Every time you are done feeding the baby, you will have to stimulate its stomach to pee and poop.
It is also a possibility that instead of rejecting some of her babies, the hedgehog eats her babies instead!
This cannibalistic behaviour displayed by the mother is her instinct. When the babies are sick, the mother eats them so no one else can harm them. If the hedgehog feels that her babies are in danger, she may eat them then as well.
By eating the weak baby, the hedgehog gains strength to focus on the rest of the litter.
If you are a pet parent or a breeder, you may be interested to know about the mating process of hedgehogs. Hedgehogs mate in April and May, soon after they wake from hibernation.
The mating ritual begins with the male hedgehog dancing to attract the female hedgehog. The male hedgehogs also engage in a head-butting competition to impress the female hedgehogs.
Unfortunately, these small mammals do not mate for life and go their separate ways after the mating ritual.
Female hedgehogs remain pregnant for four weeks until they give birth to a litter of hoglets. The hoglets are born blind and deaf and weigh only 25 grams.
There are instances when the female hedgehog has rejected babies or eaten them. When a baby is weak or sick, the female hedgehog eats it to focus on the rest of the litter.