How Many Babies Can A Hedgehog Have?
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Learning how many babies can a hedgehog have is important if you are thinking about owning a hedgehog and or you have one and it’s pregnant.
A pregnant hedgehog will usually only be pregnant for a month or so and will give birth to around 4 or 6 hoglets (baby hedgehogs) (sometimes a bit less or something a bit more.
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Baby Hedgehog | Hedgehog Babies
Besides learning how many babies can a hedgehog have it's important to know more a bit hedgehog babies and how to assist with their care.
All hoglets are born blind and are usually pale pink in nature. This can scare most new pet owners as the baby does not look or feel like a hedgehog at all. As they grow and start to mature you will see a small transformation take place. They will begin to form white spikes on their body and within a few weeks, those pines will turn brown.
Hoglets eyes open withing weeks but can sometimes open their eyes up as early as day 10. They are nest bound and will stay in the nest for at least 1month, feeding and foraging. As they get older that foraging starts to become more frequent as mummy teaches them the basic ground rules for survival and what else to eat.
By the 2 months, mark hoglets are independent and have been fully weaned from mummy’s milk. Once they leave the nest hedgehogs are not likely to return home as they are solitary animals.
Hedgehog Mating Ritual
Hedgehogs reach sexual maturity around year 2 and will breed consecutively year after year until death. The mating months are between April and September but the most frequent mating months are May and June.
The entire process is very fragile and although takes only a handful of minutes can last hours if not done correctly. The female hedgehog puts her body into a special position where her spins flatten and the male hedgehog approaches from behind.
Once the position is correct, he hops on and the act is done within minutes. Once the male hedgehog is finished he no longer plays any role in the upbringing or supporting of the hoglets.
Some females can breed up to 3 times a year but it’s important that she doesn’t over breed for health reasons.
How To Tell If A Hedgehog Is Pregnant
Learning how to tell if a hedgehog is pregnant is important as you will need to know what to do and how to help sooner rather then later.
Here are 4 smart things to look for:
- Weight gain – if you can actively see your hedgehog is gaining weight then you can start to put the pieces of the puzzles together. (If it’s a male hedgehog then he’s just getting fat!)
- Appetite and eating habits - If your hedgehog has increased appetite and now needs more daily food then she used to then it’s a strong sign that she might be pregnant.
- Larger abdomen bigger teats. If you gently rub your fingers over her belly you may begin to feel the little teets getting ready for action. Make sure the pregnant hedgehog is calm and relaxed when you do this as she may not be comfortable with you stroking her there.
- Nesting. If you actively see your hedgehog staring nest or make blockages in her nest for security then you can be very sure that she is pregnant. Try not to get involved and let nature take its course.
- Urine – Her pee will become more smelly as she gets closer to the due date. You’ll know that the due date is near if the pee becomes stronger and stronger each day
- Feel her tummy. If it’s’ safe to do so you can run your hands along her tummy and you’ll be able to feel the hoglets inside. If she lets you do this then you don’t need to ask any more questions. Your hedgehog is pregnant and you will have more hedgehog's to look after soon!
How To Care For A Baby Hedgehog
It’s important you learn how to care for a baby hedgehog to ensure that you give each hoglet the best chance of survival. However, for the vast majority of the cases, it's best to just let nature take its course and do nothing.
This can be true even if you see a baby hoglet not eating or a mummy hedgehog acting in a peculiar way towards her babies. While it can be tempting to start interfering It’s best you stay clear to avoid any confusion with scents and babies.
Try to stay away from the nest for at least 10 days and just make sure mummy hedgehog stopped up with enough food and water for the duration of her nursing.
If you really must intervene then take these import steps:
How To Take Care Of A Baby Hedgehog
Step 1: Rub the back
Rub the back of the hoglet with 1 finger to see what happens with the mother and the other babies. If she lets you do it then that’s a good sign, if she gets frantic and starts squealing or screaming and looks distress them put them back and try again later
Step 2: Pick up the baby
Pick up the baby and remove if from the cage. Once it’s out then put it back in. This is to show mummy hedgehog that you mean no harm and once you've finished observing you’ll put it back.
Step 3: Repeat over a few days
Do this with each hoglet individually for a few days and see how the mother responds. You need to gain her trust and make sure she doesn’t abound or worse still eat one of her own babies. Go slow and be gentle.
Step 4: Socialise
Once you’ve formed trust and a few weeks have passed you will be in a better place to engage in more socializing with the new hoglets. Remember mummy hedgehog will start weaning them off milk from around the 1-month mark so be ready to step in then.
Baby hedgehogs aren’t reliant on their mother for too long so don’t be in a hurry to interact or play with them when they are still young.
Learning how many babies can a hedgehog have is important, but it's also important to know more about a new baby and in particular how to care for a baby hedgehog. Be gentle and patient and only intervene if you really have to.
Hey, I’m Amy and I’m in love with my Pets! I have a diverse variety, including 2 cats, 1 dog, 3 rabbits, 2 guinea pigs, a rat and a beautiful macaw. I love writing about everything pet-related and spend as much time as I can sharing my personal experiences.