Hedgehogs are cute little creatures that are often a popular pick for pets. However, as parents, you may have many queries about taking care of your furry friend and its bodily processes. An important question that most hedgehog owners worry about is, do hedgehogs lay eggs?
Long story short, no, hedgehogs do not lay eggs. They are mammals that go through the live birthing process. Female hedgies get pregnant after mating with their male counterparts and give birth to their hoglets.
If you’re here to learn more about reproduction in hedgehogs, read on to find some interesting facts.
Do All Mammals Reproduce Similarly?
Broadly, there are three different kinds of mammals- marsupials, monotremes, and placentals.
Marsupials are creatures that give live birth instead of laying eggs. It may lead some people to believe that hedgehogs are marsupials as well; however, there is one point of difference.
When marsupial offsprings take birth, they are not fully developed. Most marsupials come with pouches where they nurture their babies until they are not mature.
Hedgehogs differ here, as they are placental mammals. It simply implies that their offsprings are born looking like a smaller version of them and are already developed for the most part.
How Do Hedgehogs Reproduce?
Reproduction in hedgehogs is a much quicker process than reproduction in humans. The male hedgehog dances around his female fellow for hours to encourage mating.
At first, the female tends to get vicious, and her reaction is hostile. She gets violent and dangerously raises her spine. If the male proceeds to mate during this volatile phase, he is likely to get severely injured.
In due course, the female hedgie allows her male equivalent to mate and gets pregnant. Finally, after a gestation period of around 35 days, the pregnant hedgehog gives birth.
While the mother can give birth to a minimum of one and a maximum of 9 babies, four or five hoglets are generally born at once. They are fully developed at birth and are ready for immediate nursing.
The hoglets are blind and deaf at birth but still don’t require special care. As they grow two to three weeks old, they can start eating solids.
Unlike women, female hedgehogs do not have a monthly cycle. Therefore, they can mate at any time. However, they have an average “heat” of nine days on and the following seven days off.
Do hedgehogs lay eggs? No, we can now conclude that they do not reproduce via eggs. Instead, these tiny creatures are placental mammals that give birth to fully developed offsprings.
Instead of laying them, the eggs fertilize within the mother’s body, and the hoglets are only born when they mature.
While the reproduction process is similar to that in humans, it is also much shorter. Baby hoglets typically take birth after a gestation period of 35 days within the body.