Do you love your pet hedgehog? Perhaps you love hedgehogs so much that you’d like to breed them.
If you don’t have any experience breeding hedgehogs, you’re not going to know how to get started. It’s best to learn everything that you can ahead of time so the process will go smoothly.
Read on to learn everything you need to know about hedgehog breeding. This will break down the process for you so that you can approach it in the correct fashion.
It is possible to breed hedgehogs at home so long as you’re prepared. Once you’ve read all of the information, you can get started so long as you have the right setup and a breeding pair.
You Might Need a License
Depending on where you live, it might be necessary to acquire a license to breed hedgehogs. You can’t just start breeding hedgehogs and selling them.
There are many things you need to make sure of before moving forward. Do you need a license to breed hedgehogs in your area?
Is it even legal to own hedgehogs where you live? Some states, such as California, have made hedgehog ownership illegal.
It’s legal to own these pets in most parts of the United States, but it’s still prudent to look at your local laws. You want to make sure to do things by the book so you don’t get in trouble.
You might need to contact the USDA or a local agricultural or animal governing body. Do the research to make sure that all is well, and then proceed when you’re ready.
Get a Breeding Female
Getting a breeding female isn’t that tough, but you want to pick a female hedgehog that is the right age. The ideal age will be between six months and one year.
You can get an exotic veterinarian to check the hedgehog out to ensure that it’s healthy. They can also help you to approximate the age of the hedgehog if you’re unsure how old it is.
A female hedgehog has the best chance of conceiving for the first time between the ages of six months and one year. After the female has bred at least once, it can keep breeding and producing babies until it is between two and a half and three years old.
Find a Healthy Breeding Male
Of course, you’re going to need a healthy breeding male, or you won’t be getting any babies at all. You simply need to get a healthy male hedgehog that is at least four months old.
At four months old, the male hedgehog will have reached sexual maturity. Just make sure that you pick a hedgehog that looks healthy and doesn’t have defects of any kind.
It’s also worth noting that the male and female should not be closely related. If you breed closely related hedgehogs, it’ll produce babies that are more likely to have defects.
Place the Female Hedgehog in the Male Hedgehog’s Cage
The best way to get started with breeding is to place the female hedgehog in the male hedgehog’s cage. You’ll house the two in separate cages normally, and then you’ll bring them together when it’s time to breed.
Take all of the toys, tubes, and other obstacles out of the cage. Once this is done, you want to put the female hedgehog in the cage with the male.
Let them get to know each other for a few days. You might notice the hedgehogs chasing each other a bit during this time. This is normal behavior, and it’s nothing to be worried about.
Keep the female in the cage with the male for up to seven days. You should let the female rest and put her back in her own cage after this amount of time has passed.
You don’t want to stress or exhaust the female hedgehog. Typically, it should only take healthy hedgehogs a few days to mate.
How to Care for a Pregnant Hedgehog
Caring for a pregnant hedgehog isn’t too tough. Hedgehogs don’t stay pregnant for that long.
It takes between thirty and forty-six days for a hedgehog to give birth. On average, the process will take thirty-five days.
The best thing to do is to note the date that your hedgehogs mated. Then you count thirty-five days and mark that as the expected day that your hedgehog will give birth.
You should wait up to forty-six days before you assume that your hedgehog isn’t pregnant, though. Some pregnancies might take a little longer than average.
You should make the mother hedgehog a little nest. You can use a simple plastic tub that has a lid.
A 1-gallon plastic tub will work out just fine for this. Cut a hole into the tub that’s four inches in diameter and one inch above the base of the tub.
This will give you enough space to place some bedding. The bottom of the plastic tub nest will have bedding such as sawdust, but you should also put dry hay in there.
The female hedgehog will use the dry hay to build a little nest. The bedding should be replaced with fresh bedding once you’re three days away from the projected day that your hedgehog will give birth.
The nest needs to be kept warm for the female. It should be between 60 degrees Fahrenheit and 75 degrees Fahrenheit.
Don’t let the nest get too hot. Only use a heat lamp if it’s too cool.
During this time, the female hedgehog must have access to food and water. Keep a water dish near the nest and ensure that it is constantly full.
The female hedgehog will likely eat more during this period. So you’ll need to refill the food dish more often.
Caring for the Babies
Caring for the babies will be the next step. You’ll know that the female hedgehog has given birth when you hear the little squeaks coming from the babies.
Baby hedgehogs are also referred to as hoglets. They’re rather cute, but you need to check to see if all of the babies are alive.
Sadly, sometimes a hoglet will not survive the birthing process. You’ll need to carefully remove deceased hoglets from the nest if there are any.
You want to try not to stress the female hedgehog during this time. Hedgehogs will sometimes cannibalize or kill their babies if they get stressed.
This is rather difficult to predict. If the female does this one time, she might not do it the next time.
After five days have passed, it’s best to count how many hoglets there are. A female hedgehog can have as many as nine hoglets in one litter, but it’s more common for there to be only three or four.
Be gentle with the hoglets when handling them. They’re very fragile.
You can handle them a bit more once they’re five weeks old. This helps them to get used to being handled, and they’ll learn to trust you.
Weaning the hoglets is a process that will begin once they’re three weeks old. They’ll nurse on their mother until they’re three weeks old, and then you’ll see them start eating the mother’s food from the bowl.
When the hoglets are four weeks old, it’s best to start leaving extra food out for them in a little dish or bowl. After they have been weaned, they can go into their own cages and be cared for just like normal hedgehogs.
If any hoglets are rejected by the mother, you’ll need to care for them yourself. You might need to feed young hoglets a milk formula substitute.
It’ll also be necessary to stroke their bellies gently while feeding them. This helps the hoglets to urinate properly.
Now you know how to approach breeding hedgehogs. This isn’t that hard to do, but it’s something that can go wrong if you stress the female.
Stressed female hedgehogs may cannibalize or otherwise kill a few hoglets. So be very careful not to interact with the female too much during the first five days after the hoglets are born.
As long as you take the right precautions, it should be easy to get good results. You can breed hedgehogs almost constantly, but it is wise to give the female a little break after nursing the hoglets.
You don’t want to stress the female too much. Never replace your breeding pair with the hoglets either since they will be too closely related.
When your female gets too old to breed, you’ll simply have to find another female or another male that comes from another breeder. This is the safest way to approach the situation.
I have a bachelor’s degree in Computer Information Systems and over 10 years of experience working in IT. I have a wife and two children and love taking them to the zoo to see all the animals. I grew up with dogs and fish and now have two dogs and two cats. I’ve also played guitar for almost 20 years and love writing music, although it’s hard to find the time these days.