If you have some hedgehogs, you must have noticed strange snuffling noises from their cages during the summertime. Don’t be scared; it is the mating season, and you may need to prepare for a tiny hoglet in your home.
Hedgehogs can have multiple babies, whereas only 4-5 babies mature every time. After giving birth, they cater to their little ones till they grow independent. After this, they go separate ways, detaching emotionally and physically.
In this article, we have discussed hedgehog mating, like when they mate and how many times they can produce offsprings. We have also discussed some facts about newborn hedgehogs in the end.
When Do Hedgehogs Have Babies?
Female hedgehogs become sexually mature when they turn six weeks old. It takes them 58-60 days to completely mature. Although they mature this quickly, first pregnancies occur when they turn six months old.
Hedgehogs are more accustomed to warmer climates and hibernate during the peak winters. So, they choose the time of May and June to mate.
After they mate with a male hedgehog, they start gaining weight slowly. The gestation period is almost one month long. Also, during this period, the females require extra nutrition and monitoring.
They generally give birth during the night or early morning. The hoglets, or the baby hedgehogs, require maternal care for only six weeks after they are born. So, by September, the female hedgehogs are ready to mate again.
Although they are physically capable, most of them don’t mate at that time of the year. It happens because the winter chill starts to set around October, and the hoglets might not survive the low temperatures. Besides this, they generally require a gap of 4 months after one pregnancy to revive their strength.
After that, they prepare for hibernation during the winters. A similar cycle starts next summer after they wake up from their sleep.
How Many Babies Do Hedgehogs Have?
Hedgehogs are sexually active once they mature. The female can mate with multiple partners during their lifetime. In comparison, the males have to persuade the female to mate with them consistently.
A female Hedgehog can breed no more than three times a year. Generally, this count remains limited to twice a year because they need time to recover after the pregnancy. They usually give birth after 32 days of pregnancy period and take 3-4 months to recover.
The pregnancy period extends if the weather gets colder. In a colder environment, the embryo growth is put on hold as the female Hedgehog goes into hibernation. It will start again when the female Hedgehog comes out of hibernation.
The Hedgehog can give birth to 7 babies in a litter, also known as hoglets, at a time. However, the average count is only 3-5. Not all mature to adulthood every time the female gives birth.
The hoglets stay in the nest and generally open their eyes after 13-24 of their birth.
Life of Mother Hedgehog After Giving Birth
After the hoglets are born, the mothers are bound to take care of them. It is because hoglets are very weak in the first month of their life. So, they like to be kept in solitude with their babies for some initial days.
The mother builds up a nest for the babies during the pregnancy itself. You can contribute to this by providing a newspaper bed for her. Additionally, by this, you can also ensure the mother is not distressed about the babies.
The mother can feed all the hoglets at once. So, for the initial days, the babies feed only on the mother’s milk. After some time, when they develop, they can shift to solid foods.
Even then, the mother chews up the food a little to make sure her hoglets can eat it properly.
All this feeding has a considerable toll on the mother’s health. So, after the babies start to move and eat on their own, it is necessary to hike up the nutrition level of the mother. You can help her by providing food for her and the babies accordingly. She doesn’t go around for food.
How Long Do Baby Hedgehogs Stay With Their Mother?
Finally, after around three or six weeks, the mother lets the hoglets be on their own. She does not keep any attachment with them and starts living freely. In some time, she is again ready to mate.
Features of a Newborn Hoglet
Hedgehogs are cone-shaped mammals with mini legs. Read on to know about the features that will make you identify a baby Hedgehog.
Hedgehogs are born with short and soft spines on their body. These are about one inch long. They have about 5000 spines all over them.
Their spines become hard, stiff, sharp, and long after their birth. These spines
Size and weight
Hedgehog’s body size varies from 4 to 12 inches. The tail of an adult Hedgehog grows between 1-2 inches but not more than that. Adult Hedgehogs can be as big as 1 foot in length; on the other hand, small Hedgehogs are merely 4 inches.
Further, hedgehogs have a short and squat physique and weigh in between 5 and 56 ounces.
Hedgehogs are born with milk teeth. Their adult teeth start developing and coming out when they are three weeks old. That is the time when they start to lose their final milk teeth.
There are 36 to 44 teeth present in a Hedgehog.
Hedgehogs are of different colors. These handful colors are deep brown, pale brown, white, and black.
When Hedgehogs are born, they are pale pink. As they grow, their skin color darkens. Besides the color, brown spikes also start developing.
It is not easy to breed a hedgehog. You need to make sure your Hedgehog is healthy enough to breed. Thus, during unexpected pregnancies, it is advisable to visit your veterinarian as soon as possible.
Though necessary, try not to interfere much during the pregnancy period. Female hedgehogs don’t like to be disturbed and might kill their offspring in such situations.
Nevertheless, cute little hoglets are bundles of joy for your family. Also, they tend to bond faster than store-bought hedgehogs as they are not new to the environment. Without the spikes, you can start early with the bonding.