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?
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
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.
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
a female hedgehog is pregnant for around 1 month. She normally has four or five babies at a time, also known as “hoglets.”
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.
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.
At approximately 4 years of age, your hedgehog will become a senior.
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.
The photo featured at the top of this post is © innakreativ/Shutterstock.com
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