Hedgehogs are extremely cute animals, and they seem like the type that would mate for life, as they seem like loyal animals. So, when they reach sexual maturity, do they stay with one mate for life, or are they a bit more promiscuous than we give them credit for?
Hedgehogs are not monogamous creatures and will mate freely with multiple hedgehogs throughout the mating season. This is because hedgehogs are solitary animals that like their own space. Once the mating has been completed, the male will leave the female immediately.
When do hedgehogs reach sexual maturity? How do hedgehogs mate with those spines? How long do hedgehogs nest after mating? We will go through all this and more in this article!
Are Hedgehogs Monogamous?
Hedgehogs are lovable creatures that seem so loyal, gentle, loving, and cuddly, so when you see that they have a mate or you provide one for them, you may wonder if these two hedgehogs will mate for life.
Hedgehogs are usually solitary animals that would rather be alone than be kept with other hedgehogs, and this goes for their mating life. Hedgehogs will not mate for life, and the male hedgehog will not stick around long enough to even see his offspring.
Once the two hedgehogs have mated, the male hedgehog will leave immediately, leaving all the parental duties to the female hedgehog. Both the male and the female hedgehogs may even mate with other hedgehogs during the mating season.
When Do Hedgehogs Reach Maturity?
So, if you want to breed your hedgehog, you do not have to own a breeding pair; you can breed them with another hedgehog from a different owner. But when will your hedgehog be sexually mature enough to start mating and having hoglets?
Hedgehogs will become sexually mature in their second year of life, but females can mature faster and be ready to breed in their first year. When they are sexually mature, the hedgehogs, both males, and females can mate and have young every mating season until they die.
When and How Do Hedgehogs Mate?
Hedgehogs will generally begin reproducing in the last few weeks of winter so that the hoglets have enough time to mature and grow into adults before the next winter. The hoglets are usually born in the early spring, and they stay with their mother for a while after to prepare them for adult life.
When the hedgehogs are ready to mate, the male will begin the process of courting the female by circling her and using rhythmic snorting sounds, and puffing themselves up. Then when the female is ready, she will flatten her spines and allow the male to mount her.
Then once the deed is done, the male will dismount the female and leave her. The male will then try to find other females to mate with, while the female continues foraging until another male crosses her path.
When the female begins to notice that she is pregnant, she will stop mating with other males and start building a nest for her and her hoglets to stay warm and safe.
What Do Hedgehogs Use to Nest?
The female hedgehogs will start searching for a suitable location for their nest. They will look for any holes in the ground or the roots of trees. If you have a pregnant pet hedgehog, you will need to supply her with a hut to create her nest in.
The females will begin to look for leaves and other plant material, as well as feathers and even moss, to build their nest out of. The female hedgehog tries to make her nest as warm as possible and tries to waterproof it to protect it from the rain.
If you are breeding your pet hedgehog, you will need to offer her extra wood shavings and pieces of materials for her to build her nest with.
How Long Do Hedgehogs Nest After Mating?
When the mother hedgehog gives birth to her hoglets, she will stay in the nest she made with her newborn babies for about 4 to 6 weeks—the first ten days of them staying in the nest together being the most crucial time for the mother and her hoglets.
During these first ten days, as the mother and babies stay together in the nest, you must never disturb the mother and her hoglets by any means as this may cause the mother to stress, and she may end up eating her babies if she is stressed.
When these ten days are up, you can start checking in on her and her hoglets daily to ensure they are all healthy and getting along well.
At the 6-week mark after the hoglets birth, they will become slightly independent from their mother. They will begin to follow her out of their nest when she looks for water or food.
After this time, the mother hedgehog and her hoglets will become more comfortable around the cage, and you and they will begin to wander around their cage more.
How Long Does Hedgehog Pregnancy Last?
Hedgehogs are known for having a relatively fast gestation period. A hedgehog’s pregnancy tends to only last between 32 and 36 days. So, when you start to notice any pregnancy signs from the mother hedgehog, she may already be almost ready to give birth.
Do Baby Hedgehogs Stay with Their Mother?
Once the hoglets can leave their nest, they will stay with their mother for another week or two, and then they will leave to go and fend for themselves. They are usually about ten weeks old when this happens.
When they are with their mother, she will teach them what food to eat and where to find them and where to find water. So, once the hoglets have learned this, they will leave their mother.
Once this happens, the mother may immediately begin mating again and have a late batch of hoglets in the same year. These late hoglets are less likely to survive the winter in the wild.
Hedgehogs do not mate for life, which can shock some people as they seem very loving and loyal. Once the mating is complete, the male will immediately leave the female, and they will probably never meet again.
This does make it easier to breed hedgehogs in captivity, which is a lucrative business as they are becoming popular pets.