Hedgehog Lifespan: How Long Do Hedgehogs Live?

Hedgehog close-up on a white background
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Written by Jennifer Gaeng

Updated: June 28, 2023

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There are four distinct species of hedgehog, however, the most common pet hedgehog is the African Pygmy.


The average lifespan of a woodland hedgehog is between 2 – 5 years. One of the most well-known hedgehogs is the African Pygmy hedgehog, also known as the “four-toed” hedgehog. This is the most common pet hedgehog and is known to live longer than its wild counterparts.

If you are a hedgehog owner, you’re probably curious about how long your new friend will live with you. Keep reading to learn more about the lifespan of the hedgehog and what factors impact their longevity!

How Long Do Hedgehogs Live?

Cutest Animals: Hedgehog

A wild hedgehog lives an average of 2-3 years, whereas a domesticated hedgehog can live 7 years or more with proper care.

©Miroslav Hlavko/Shutterstock.com


The life expectancy of a wild hedgehog and a domesticated hedgehog is quite different. Due to the dangers of living in the wild, hedgehogs in their native habitat often only live for a period of 2-3 years. Hedgehogs kept as pets often live much longer.


A pet hedgehog’s life span is typically between four and seven years, however, some have lived up to ten. The African Pygmy Hedgehog is the most popular type of hedgehog kept as a pet (Atelerix albiventris). The usual lifespan of the African pygmy hedgehog is between four and six years.

Pet Hedgehog: Factors That Impact Their Longevity

Hedgehog health can be impacted by diet, genetics, habitat, and living conditions.


A hedgehog’s life span is affected by a variety of factors, including genes, food, and the quality of the habitat in which it lives. Due to the wide range of factors at play, no two people’s encounters with hedgehogs will be exactly alike. However, below are some important things to keep in mind…


Hedgehogs need more protein and less fat, as they are prone to obesity. While wild hedgehogs eat insects and small mammals, pet hedgehogs require high-quality hedgehog food. They can consume insects like crickets or mealworms. You can even give them some fruits and vegetables to eat.


Although hedgehogs are small, they require a large cage to allow them to run around and play. (This cage must be impenetrable!) If the cage’s floor is wire, little hedgehog feet may get entangled. Choose a cage with a solid floor. Get your tiny pet a cage with various levels so they can climb. Place your pet’s cage somewhere warm and where they can view both day and night.

Mazes and tunnels will also help to keep your spiny friend mentally stimulated. Your hedgehog will also need a small pouch or structure in which it can conceal itself – the enclosure will have to be large enough for it to turn around comfortably.

Proper Conditions

You should not only know how to properly care for your new pet but also that the two of you will be compatible. Given that hedgehogs are nocturnal, light sleepers may not appreciate their late-night activity. If you have small children, they may want to hold the hedgehog, which is not advised due to the quills’ potential for injury.


Reputable breeders will endeavor to produce healthy hedgehogs. A good breeder will breed hedgehogs from lines free of common hedgehog diseases. That doesn’t guarantee a breeder’s hedgehog will live longer; it merely means they’ll have a greater chance due to better genetics.


Be aware of common hedgehog ailments. Cancer, obesity, ear infections, ringworm, and heart disease are common. Hedgehogs need annual checkups and should be brought in when something seems wrong.

The 4 Life Stages of a Hedgehog

Baby hedgehog on white background

The four stages of a hedgehog’s life are embryo, hoglet, adult, and senior.

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1. Embryo

a female hedgehog is pregnant for around 1 month. She normally has four or five babies at a time, also known as “hoglets.”

2. Hoglet

Hoglets are born with covered quills, though soft quills will start to appear within a few hours. The eyes will open between 12 and 24 days of age. Mama hedgehog will have begun weaning them at 4-6 weeks of age. By 13 weeks, they should be weaned completely.

3. Adult

The average hedgehog reaches adult size at 6 months and maturity at 9-11 months. Male hedgehogs achieve sexual maturity at 6-8 months and females at 2-6 months.

4. Senior

At approximately 4 years of age, your hedgehog will become a senior.

In Conclusion

Four-toed Hedgehog on a funny autumnal picture

With proper care, your pet hedgehog can live a long life filled with happiness and entertainment.

©Kuttelvaserova Stuchelova/Shutterstock.com

Hedgehogs have a lifespan of between four and seven years. However, how long a hedgehog’s life is highly dependent on the kind of care it receives. While certain factors, such as genes, are beyond your control, there are many others over which you do have some degree of influence. Healthy food, a spacious cage, a low-stress environment, and regular medical attention can extend the life of your hedgehog exponentially.

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About the Author

Jennifer Gaeng is a writer at A-Z-Animals focused on animals, lakes, and fishing. With over 15 years of collective experience in writing and researching, Jennifer has honed her skills in various niches, including nature, animals, family care, and self-care. Hailing from Missouri, Jennifer finds inspiration in spending quality time with her loved ones. Her creative spirit extends beyond her writing endeavors, as she finds joy in the art of drawing and immersing herself in the beauty of nature.

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