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Basic Hedgehog Facts

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Classification CLASS: Mammalia
ORDER: Eulipotyphla
Number of Genus 5
Number of Species 16
Domesticated Species Four-Toed Hedgehog

(Atelerix albiventris)
Average Life Span 3.5 years
Maximum Life Span 9 years
Common Life Span 3-5 years
Heat Cycle Ovulation induced by male
Estrous: 2 - 5 days
Diestrous: 2 - 5 days
Gestation period 35 days (up to 50 days to rule out pregnancy)
Litter Size: average 4, up to 9
Eyes open 14-16 days
Weaning age 5-7 weeks
Time to remove from mother: 6-7 weeks
Complete Physical Maturity 10 - 11 months
Average Adult Weight 9 - 19 ounces
200 - 600 grams
Recommended maximum number of litters per year per female hedgehog 2
First Sexual Capability:
Male 6 weeks
Female 8 weeks
First breeding best 6-7 months
Female fertility ends Approximately 3 years
First quilling 4 weeks
Second quilling 6 weeks
Third quilling: 9 weeks
Adult quilling12 weeks
Adult color quilling9 weeks
Best Room Temperatures73 - 80 degrees Fahrenheit
23 - 27 degrees Celsius
HibernationHibernation can be lethal for pet hedgehogs
SexesMales and females should be housed separately
QuillsQuills are modified hairs, they do not have barbs
The average hedgehog has 5,000 -7,000 quills
Quills are hard on the outside, filled with soft air pockets on the inside
There are 2 large muscles on either side of a hedgehog's back to raise and lower its quills and curl into a ball. This is a hedgehog's only
Diet in the WildInsects (beetles, beetle larvae & pupae, ants, termites, grasshoppers, crickets, moths, moth larvae & pupae, insect eggs, etc.)

Other invertebrates (centipedes, millipedes, earthworms, spiders, snails, slugs, scorpions, etc.)

Meat (rodent young, bird nestlings, carcasses)

Mushrooms & plant roots

Berries & fruit
Diet in Captivity

Dry cat or dog food

Diet Supplements (treats)Insects (mealworms, crickets, etc)

meat, eggs, assorted fruits and vegetables
Dairy ProductsHedgehogs are mildly lactose intolerant. Dairy products should be fed sparingly or not at all
Suggested Nutritional RequirementsProtein
Suggested requirement - 28-35%

Suggested - 10-15% (15-20% for babies & underweight)

Suggested - 15%

Suggested - 0.9%

Suggested - 0.9%

Suggested - 75 ppm

Copper (mg/kg) 4-23 7-16 3-7
Manganese (mg/kg) 11-146 11-70 5
Zinc (mg/kg) 20-175 100-190 30
Recommended Caloric Intake70-100 calories per day
Min. Recommended floor area8 sq feet
0.74 sq Metres
Cage FloorSolid - NO Wire

Hedgehog Wheel (solid running surface, no wire)

Toilet Paper Tube (for hedgehogs over 3 months of age only!)

Small child-safe toys

Daily Handling

Wobbly Hedgehog Syndrome (WHS)A genetic disorder that causes progressive paralysis similar to the human form of MS. There is no cure and the afflicted hedgehogs slowly and eventually become totally paralyzed. The disease appears to be carried by a recessive gene making detection and eradication difficult. Breeders should avoid using hedgehogs with any WHS in
their family lines.
CancerHedgehogs are prone to a variety of tumors and cancers. Common ones include reproductive cancers (females more so than males) and oral cancers (fast-growing and difficult to surgically remove).
EyesEyes can be lost to quill pokes, most commonly when multiple hedgehogs are housed together. Infection is common if not treated immediately.
TeethTooth loss and wear can occur in older hedgehogs. Weight loss can occur in extreme cases. There is some speculation that an all-hard food diet can cause premature tooth wear. Hedgehogs with poor dentition should be fed a soft food diet to compensate and prevent weight loss.
YoungHoglets or pups
Breeding GroupHerd
QuillsQuills or Spines
Anointing or Self-AnointingThe act of frothing at the mouth, arching the head back over the shoulders and depositing the frothy saliva onto the quills. Triggered by pungent smells and new tastes. The exact purpose of anointing is unknown.
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