Hedgehog facts
Hedgehog facts – hedgehog eating

Is A Hedgehog For You?

When people first encounter a hedgehog at the pet store, they are usually smitten by their cute appearance and want to purchase one as their own immediately. There are a couple of things which you will need to know before making such a big decision, and that’s what this article will be covering.

Hedgehogs are about the size of a large hamster, although some species can get a bit larger. All hedgehogs are covered on the back with spines. They have sharp narrow faces with small eyes. Their faces and their underbellies are covered in fur. The needle-like spines are for their protection. When another animal or human being poses a threat, they roll up into a ball of spines that deters most animals from bothering them.

There are no hedgehogs native to North America. While there is a European hedgehog, the African Pygmy Hedgehog is the type you will find as a pet.

Hedgehogs can sometimes be seen in a pet store or through a local breeder. Their price range goes from about $60 and up depending on the color of the hedgehog. 

There is the most common color, which is salt and pepper. The salt and pepper hedgehog has brown spines with white tips. Hedgehogs have many more colors, though, including an albino variety and rare colors such as snowflakes and apricot if you want a rare color to be prepared to end up going to a breeder and paying a minimum of $200, if not more.

Hedgehog Facts – Sleeping Habit

Hedgehogs are classified as nocturnal insectivores because they hibernate in colder climates. Some hedgehogs can get very irate if woken up during the day. When they are upset or angry or frightened, they roll into a ball and erect their quills and may even try to stick you with them by jerking when you try to touch them. If you have small children around you, this is not the ideal pet to own.

If you are still interested in owning one of these sweet pets, then there are a few other things you will need to know before bringing them home.

Hedgehog Facts – Living Space

You will first need to have adequate housing for your hedgehog. An aquarium will work as a right cage as long as it’s roomy and has good ventilation 20-gallon size and above are best because hedgehogs love to run. You may also want to put an exercise wheel in the cage. Hedgehogs also like to play, so you will want to supply some pet-safe toys like a squeaky rubber ball for him to play with.

Hedgehogs don’t usually climb, but it’s still good to have a screen on the top to keep other things like insects out of his cage. You can use a sturdy tip-proof bowl for food and water. You can also use a water bottle.

Hedgehog Facts – Feeding

Wild Hedgehogs are insectivores and will eat things like crickets and mealworms. You can find these at your local pet store. You will also want to purchase food that is specially formulated for hedgehogs. If there is none available around your area, ask your vet for recommendations.

Hedgehog Facts – How to Bath Hedgehog

Hedgehogs do need to be bathed regularly. Depending on your hedgehog, this could be easy or incredibly painful for you if he hates the water. It’s best to wear gloves to prevent scratches in the unfortunate event yours doesn’t live water. 

Fill a sink with warm water and wash him with baby shampoo. Make sure to clean his quills with a soft toothbrush. Rinse him off thoroughly and make sure you dry him off good. Keep him out of drafts, so he doesn’t catch a chill.

After time your hedgehog will become accustomed to getting bathed and may become less combative. You may also need to trim his nails if he doesn’t get the opportunity to wear them down on his own.

How long do they live?

Hedgehogs have a life span of approximately six years. In the wild, hedgehogs live for only three or four years, though in suitable climatic conditions, they may live up to seven years.

Having a hedgehog as a pet

Hedgehog pet care! The habits of hedgehogs, their habitat, and eating patterns. How to house and look after them and rear them from babies.

Many of us never really give much thought to hedgehogs. Often the only time we see them is on the side of the road, the victim of a car accident. Sometimes they’ll be found in the garden during the spring cleanup in their nests hibernating.

Tragically though, more often, they’ll be found in the garden by the next major killer of hedgehogs – the weed trimmer. When this happens, we often find ourselves as a surrogate pet parent. At this point, we realize that our fondness for the small animals exceeds our knowledge of them. So let’s look at some basic facts, habits, and traits of the hedgehog.

Hedgehogs belong to the family Erinaceidae and are distant relatives of shrews, moles, tenrecs, and moonrats. There are 14 species of spiny hedgehogs split into four genera; Atelerix (found in Central/Southern Africa), Paraechinus (Northern Africa), Hemiechinus (Middle East), and Erinaceus (Europe, UK, and New Zealand). In the USA the species Atelerix albiventris has been explicitly imported for being kept as pets, but not released into the wild.

Hedgehog Facts – Diet

A hedgehog’s diet should consist of food that is formulated especially for hedgehogs.

Hedgehogs are insectivores by nature. They thrive on a primary diet of insects, therefore be prepared to feed your hedgehogs insects such as mealworms and crickets.

You should only feed them insects that you buy at a pet store; feeding them insects from your backyard can expose them to parasites.

To ensure they are getting a proper diet with enough protein, hedgehogs should have a base of either specialized hedgehog food or kitten food every night.

It should range from thirty to forty pieces of kitten food in addition to on 4 to 6 mealworms or crickets. It is essential to feed them kitten food instead of cat food (if you don’t use the specialized hedgehog diet) because kitten food is higher in protein.

Hedgehogs can have a bit of fruit in their diet but use it sparingly. They are especially fond of bananas.

An adult hedgehog should be fed approximately one tablespoon of hedgehog food per day along with five or six mealworms and one or two crickets.

Hedgehogs can also be fed a mixture of fruits and vegetables such as spinach, or lettuce, diced apple, carrot, banana, and raisins or grapes.

This mixture should amount to approximately one and one-half teaspoons. One-quarter teaspoon of a crushed, feline multi-vitamin should be mixed in. Experts suggest using a water bottle with a drinking tube or a crock to provide a hedgehog’s drinking water. The bottle or crock should be cleaned with hot, soapy water every day.

Variety is the key

Their diet consists mainly of earthworms, beetles snails, and caterpillars, but they also eat an extensive range of other insects. Individual hedgehogs have slightly different foods depending on their environment; some will eat more snails to beetles or more earthworms; in fact, some hedgehogs have been seen to jump in the air to catch moths!

Though primarily having an invertebrate diet, hedgehogs have been known to eat carrion, small birds, or small mammals. They will eat insect eggs too, cracked eggs, or those ejected from its nest. In a captive environment, they will happily eat dog biscuits and the occasional piece of sweet soft fruit.

Hedgehogs have poor eyesight, so they rely mostly on hearing and smell to locate and catch their prey.

Having a poor vision is not a problem as hedgehogs are nocturnal and spend most of the night searching for food while sleeping during the day.

Their hearing is so acute that a hedgehog will locate an earthworm by putting its ear to the ground and pulling the worm straight from the soil!

Hedgehogs can also be trained to come to a dish of food each night. Dad has a bowl undercover and fills it with broken dog biscuits; the animals come out at approximately dusk and tuck in.

Hedgehog Facts – Hibernation

In the colder climates, hedgehogs will hibernate through the six colder months of the year. In countries that have a more temperate climate, such as New Zealand, or where the hedgehog is kept inside as a pet, the hibernation cycle is missed or very minimal.

During hibernation, the hedgehog will seem dead as the heartrate lowers from 190 beats per minute to 20 beats per minute, and the body temperature drops from 95˚F to 50˚ F(35˚C to 10˚C) During this period, the hedgehog lives off its fat reserves, and it has been determined that if they have a bodyweight of fewer than 600 grams, the likelihood of living through the winter is slight. For this reason, having an obese or overweight hedgehog is dangerous.

Hedgehog Facts – Reproduction and Rearing

The breeding season begins late spring/early summer. The female flattens her spines, and the male connects; the male has a very long appendage (as much as 10% of its body weight), no doubt on its ability to avoid the spines. The gestation period is generally between 30 or 40 days, and hedgehogs can have up to 2 litters per year. Litter sizes can vary between 1 to 8.

Typically, this will depend on food availability, and in the wild, those living nearer human habitations have access to a greater range of food and will have larger litters.

Immediately after birth and up to 5 weeks of age, the female will rear the young without any assistance from the male and makes an excellent mother.

But a word of warning if breeding in captivity; as the mother recognizes her offspring by smell, do not handle the young, or the mother will react to the human scent and desert her babies. Another point to remember is that if the mother is only partially domesticated, she can either desert, kill, or even may eat her young if she becomes threatened or distressed.

After six weeks, the young become fully independent, with the mother becoming disinterested in their welfare. During the next two weeks the youngsters, now having left the nest, will learn to find their food and fend for themselves.

How to uncurl a hedgehog

Sometimes you may need to unroll a hedgehog for examination. Firstly pick it up, turn it over to identify where the nose is located. Hold the hedgehog by its back with the head under your fingers. Gently rock forwards and backward, when the nose starts to show, the front legs will also emerge. As the legs reach for the ground, lightly put the hedgehog down.

How to Raise Baby Hedgehog Orphans

Sometimes due to road, dog, or other accidental death, the mother leaves a nest of orphans. This part of the article will explain how to deal with such occasions and how to raise baby hedgehogs.

Its appearance can determine the baby’s age. At birth, they are blind, deaf, and have skin with fluid underneath, much like a large water blister. Within an hour, the first baby spines will have penetrated the skin and released the liquid.

At one week, the baby is still blind and deaf but has some darker spines growing through the pale baby ones. Two and a half weeks of age will see the youngster with both eyes and ears open, beautiful hair growing on the face, and the adult set of spines showing.

By four weeks, they are alert and active with milk teeth established, and the snout has changed from the elongated baby shape to the more pointed adult shape.

If an orphan is found, its age will determine how it is fed. On initially finding the youngster, the main problem will be dehydration.

Use an eyedropper and mix up a very weak solution of glucose and warm water; don’t expect it to take more than 2 – 3 ml of fluid, so anything between 1ml and 3ml is adequate.

How to Raise Baby Hedgehogs – Bowel Evacuation

Another difficulty with young or baby hedgehogs is that up to four weeks of age, the mother forces bladder, and bowel evacuation by licking around the tail area, in the case of hand-rearing this can be achieved by gently rubbing a cotton bud soaked in baby oil around the tail region. So if the baby will not accept the fluid try this method to empty the bladder and induce it to ingest something.

How to Raise Baby Hedgehogs – Feeding

From birth to one week of age, use an eyedropper and feed approx. 2 ml of either lamb milk or goats milk (most often available in powder form) mixed with a little egg yolk every 2 -3 hours. Some experts suggest adding minerals and vitamins to the mix, but I would recommend speaking to a vet first to get the right combination and quantities. Do not feed them cows milk, as hedgehogs cannot digest it properly.

One to two weeks provide 2-3 ml of milk mix every 3 hrs.

Three to four weeks, up the quantity to 5ml and feed at 4 hr intervals.

From four weeks onwards, reduce the amount of hand feeding and leave out a dish of milk and another of water. Solid food can also be introduced, some puppy food or a soft scrambled egg is ideal. By this stage, the youngster will be quite active, so use dishes that are hard to upset; otherwise, the frustration factor will rise as you fill the dishes every 2 minutes.

By six weeks, hand feeding will have given way to self-feeding. Provide a dish of milk and water with two additional small feeds of puppy food daily. The reason for the rationing of solid food is because hedgehogs are voracious feeders and will consume as much food as you put in front of them.

From eight weeks, they will be adolescents going on to adulthood and be fully weaned. Now their diet should consist of snails, worms beetles, vegetables and fruits, etc., If you wish to keep the hedgehog as a domestic pet, you can source mealworms (BUT ONLY AS TREATS) from the pet shop and compost worms from a garden center. Supplement with dog biscuits and cat food, also if you have the opportunity to hunt out slugs and snails, as even the shells are consumed.

Hedgehog Facts – Hedgehog-Proofing

If living in the UK, Europe or New Zealand, a rabbit hutch outside is ideal – though be warned hedgehogs are marvelous climbers and escape artists so the roof should be secure.

If you wish to keep a hedgehog inside once again, ensure that the cage is secure. It is generally estimated that 1 square meter of floor space is required for each hedgehog.

There are many different types of cages or pens from cardboard boxes to dog cages. Some of the most successful designs to date use large sealed plastic containers with plenty of air holes in the top. Joining them together with a 100mm plumbing pipe can create an entire complex, giving bedrooms, exercising rooms, or feeding rooms. This design also allows for easy cleaning.

If you wish the hedgehog freedom of the garden ensure that iyou have hedgehog-proofed your garden or surrounding by doing the following:

  • Do not use snail/slug killer as it also attracts hedgehogs and is fatal; use a beer trap instead.
  • If you have a pond incorporate gently sloping sides or a ‘hedgehog ramp’ to prevent drowning.
  • Have plenty of low shrubbery at the edge of the garden to provide shelter during the day.
  • A compost heap with plenty of dry leaves is a good idea, but be careful when pulling it apart as hedgehogs love to nest and hibernate in them.
  • There are many other small alterations you can make to your garden, but one of the best things you can do for your hedgehog friends is just aware of them.

Is Your Hedgehog Sick? – External parasites

Dealing with various internal and external parasites of hedgehogs.

Although several internal and external parasites may affect a hedgehog, they are, for the most part, not dangerous to humans or other pets.

Every hedgehog should be examined periodically for external parasites. This examination can be done by simply picking up the animal and looking at the skin.

Fleas are the most common form of external parasites for hedgehogs. There is a specific flea that lives on hedgehogs, but if you have dogs or cats in the house, their fleas can often infest the hedgehog as well.

As a rule, these dog and cat fleas will only reside on the hedgehog for a short period before going on to look for their natural host.

Whenever fleas are discovered on a hedgehog, immediate treatment is recommended.

Severe infestations can lead to anemia or even death in the animal. There are a few sprays and powders that are safe for puppies and kittens that may be used, but the safest method is to shampoo the hedgehog. The owner needs to remember to treat the cage, bedding, and hedgehog all at the same time.

Fleas will lay eggs that develop into larvae, which in turn will turn into other fleas and re-infest the hedgehog. This flea cycle takes approximately five weeks to complete.

Fleas are generally at their worst during the summer months in areas that have distinct seasonal changes. For those in the Gulf Coast area where ice and snow are the oddities and not the norm during the winter months, fleas are a year-round problem.

Not as common as fleas are mites. The type of mite that will infest a hedgehog is larger than the common flea and won’t hop when you try to remove it. Mites will suck the blood from a hedgehog, cause a great deal of irritation, and will cause loss of some of the spines. In most instances, the treatment used for fleas will work against mites as well.

Occasionally ticks can even be found on hedgehogs. For those owners who are not able to remove the ticks themselves, it is recommended the hedgehog visit a veterinarian for assistance. The entire tick must be removed from the animal to prevent any type of secondary infections or skin irritations from arising.

External parasites

In addition to the hedgehog’s external parasites, there are a few internal ones that can cause problems for the hedgehog. Most of these will be avoided if the pet hedgehog is kept on a manufactured diet and not environmental slugs, worms, or other “natural” dietary supplementations. To check for the presence of internal parasites, a veterinarian will be needed to do the actual tests.

One of the most prominent of internal parasites is the lungworm. Since part of their life cycle includes a stay in an intermediate host such as a snail or slug, the worm is acquired by the ingestion of what the hedgehog considers a natural part of the diet.

Some of the more common symptoms of lungworm infestation in hedgehogs are coughing, wheezing, loss of appetite, and severe weight loss. There are no home remedies to treat the condition, and medication needs to be given under the close supervision of a qualified veterinarian.

Another internal parasite is the intestinal threadworm. Although they don’t require intermediate hosts like the lungworm, the threadworm can be carried via earthworms. If a hedgehog is diagnosed as having threadworms, the owner will have to keep the cage as clean as possible by changing the bedding frequently. If this isn’t done, the hedgehog can continue to re-infect itself from its stool. Symptoms of intestinal threadworms are usually depression, diarrhea, weight loss, and an overall weakening of the animal.

Although not a true parasite, there is a protozoan organism named coccidian that is extremely resistant to drastic changes in environmental temperatures and conditions. In severe cases of infestation, bloody diarrhea is a common symptom. As with all the internal parasites, a veterinarian will be needed to prescribe the correct medication and dosage for treatment while the owner will need to empty the cage and scour it as well as discarding all the bedding.

With proper care and preventative measures, a hedgehog can make an ideal pet for adults and children by giving years of love and enjoyment.

How do I take care of a hedgehog?

Hedgehogs are small exotic pets that are becoming increasingly popular. Caring for a hedgehog is easy, but they have some special needs.

Body Languages

The hedgehog is an interesting, exotic pet that is becoming very popular. Hedgehogs are cute little furless creatures that are quite timid. Hedgehogs are usually friendly.

Some mature hedgehogs do not like to be held and will try to escape from your hold. Hedgehogs rarely bite, but they may curl up into a ball, puff out their quills, and hiss when frightened.

There are some behaviors that are in the sole possession of the hedgehog. The sounds that a hedgehog makes are small chirping noises and hissing.

The most peculiar behavior exhibited by these animals is something that is called self-anointing. When a hedgehog comes into contact with an unfamiliar scent or taste, it creates a great deal of saliva, and it will splay its legs and use its tongue to coat its spines with the foaming saliva. It is a behavior that is very strange, indeed.

Caging – Envroment Enrichment

As a rule, when housing hedgehogs, housing should be done in an enclosure that has a solid bottom and sides high enough to prevent escape.

Housing is an important consideration when buying a hedgehog. They are incredibly active animals and need to have a rather large cage. They cannot be house trained, so having the run of the house is usually not much of an option. Two cages work out well. A pet taxi that you would typically have for a small to medium size dog works well, as well as an aquarium, preferably a twenty-gallon long size. Some pet owners have a small cage for the hedgehog but have a big play area. Hedgehogs do well in a toddler’s swimming pool (with no water, of course) as a playground.

Aquariums and pet taxis make good enclosures. They can be lined with pine shavings or shredded newspaper. To help keep the cage clean for a longer period, droppings should be removed each day.

The entire cage should be thoroughly cleaned at least once a week, depending on the type of bedding being used. If strong cleaners are used, be sure to thoroughly rinse the cage to avoid exposing the hedgehog to harmful fumes.

Research Suggests equipping the cage with an exercise wheel designed especially for hedgehogs. Wire wheels are not safe for hedgehogs and should not be used. Since hedgehogs are timid creatures, you may want to provide a place to hide within the cage. A paper lunch sack works well since it is disposable and easily replaced.

Bedding

Hedgehogs like to burrow, so it is vital to take into consideration bedding for your new pet. Pine bedding should be avoided since they are prone to cause respiratory diseases to your furless friend.

It’s recommended to buy an aspen bedding variety that does not contain any of the harmful pine oils that you find in pine bedding.

It is vital to change this bedding often because it is unhealthy for your animal if you don’t, but also, if you don’t change this bedding, a hedgehog can get create an awful odor pretty quickly. The least expensive bedding that works exceptionally well is shredded paper.

Hedgehops love to play in the shredded paper because they are burrowing animals, so the shredded paper encourages them to burrow.

Hedgehogs also like to have a sense of security, and they prefer to have some sort of sleeping quarters. A cardboard box works well, or use a piece of PVC piping for this purpose.

It is imperative to keep your hedgehog cage away from drafts. When a hedgehog gets cold, it will go into hibernation. What is recommended is that you invest in a heating pad that you can purchase at your local pharmacy and place it under one half of the cage.

Do not put the hedgehog directly on the heating pad. If you ever come across a hedgehog that has gone into hibernation, it is crucial to get it warm as soon as possible. Holding it in your hands in a warm room usually does the trick.

How to Tame a Hedgehog

Now that you have your hedgehog, how do you care for it? The first thing you need to be concerned with it is taming your hedgehog.

Hedgehogs are not a domesticated animal and therefore need to be tamed so that you can handle them. The best way this can be done is to spend some quality time with your pet hedgehog. Hold the hedgehog, and even if it rolls itself into a ball, continue to hold it.

The hedgehog will soon adjust and realize that you are not a threat and will slowly begin to unroll itself. You will need to do this every day. If you successfully get out of the habit of repeating this ritual, your hedgehog will go back to being hard to handle.

In your first attempts at handling your hedgehog, it is recommended that you invest in a pair of gloves, so the spines don’t hurt your hands. These animals are nocturnal so that you will be doing the majority of your bonding in the evening hours.

Hedgehogs have small brains, but their senses are exceptionally well developed, especially their olfactory sense (smell). They will get used to your scent more quickly than anything else. Combining the hedgehog’s olfactory sense with its keen hearing makes the hedgehog an excellent hunter. 

If your hedgehog decides that you would be a tasty bite to eat, by the way, it is crucial not to wiggle free. A hedgehog has an instinct that if the prey is still shaking or wiggling, they will latch down even harder.

Can I have more than One Hedgehog?

Hedgehogs are solitary animals and do not live in groups. In fact, they usually only come together during mating. If you do decide to have several hedgehogs, each hedgehog must have its own separate cage. Hedgehogs tend to be on the territorial side and will attack intruders that come into their territory.

Do they get along with other pets?

For the mot, part hedgehogs do not get along well with other animals. Your dog will think it’s a new play toy, and when it goes to play with it, the hedgehog will roll itself into a ball, showing the dog that things aren’t always what they seem.

Do Hedgehogs need vaccinations?

Hedgehogs generally do not need vaccinations. It is essential to find a veterinarian in your area that is familiar with these animals in case the animal falls ill. Hedgehogs are small animals, and when they get sick, it is essential to get them to the vet as soon as possible. It is necessary to observe your hedgehog on a daily basis and note peculiar behavior or missed meals.

Every couple of weeks, you will have to trim your hedgehog’s nails. This is usually easiest with baby nail cutting scissors. You want to make sure you leave the first toenail a bit longer, and you don’t want to cut the nails too short. If you are not sure, it is best to contact your veterinarian. Hedgehogs generally live between three to five years, so it is best to find a veterinarian that is knowledgeable of the animals. Hedgehogs can get infections, and being such a small animal; they can get very sick very quickly.

Breeding Pygmy Hedgehogs

Deciding to breed your hedgehog can be a prickly situation. By nature, the African pygmy hedgehog is of a solitary nature. Very territorial, there can never be a cage large enough to hold more than one at a time.

Courtship

In the wild, they “own” an area around their burrow that can have a radius of up to 350 yards. Even hedgehogs of opposite sexes do not share quarters or territory willingly, and forced sharing will result in injured animals. Hedgehogs only get together only when they need to breed, they will wish for separation within 24 to 48 hours after the actual copulation.

The African pygmy hedgehog is sexually mature at one year of age. Males and females can be easily distinguished from each other due to the well-defined penis of the male.

When choosing to breed, be sure of the stock you plan to use. If the hedgehogs you own have no previous breeding history, try to obtain information from parents, when applicable.

Make sure the stock you have come from mothers (dams) that have healthy litters, good temperaments, and conformation. Males should have a strong, healthy sex drive and be persistent in courting the female.

Once you have decided you have the best stock possible to breed, you will want to keep them separated until you are ready and able to keep a watch upon them to reduce the risk of fighting and injuries.

Use the female’s cage as a love nest, but be sure to remove all pans and “house” areas in which she could hide in or behind. Have the pen in a quiet environment to reduce the chances of loud noises or voices upsetting the courtship.

Quietly and without any fanfare, slide the male into the cage and be prepared to watch a unique type of courtship. The female will play hard to get while the male circles her and makes a variety of sounds in his attempt to seduce her. He will snort, twitter and squeak while gently nudging her, as is his way of caressing her. The female hedgehog, on the other hand, will puff up with all her spines standing straight up. She will jump and hiss while her body actually will vibrate. This is where you need a male with a good, strong libido.

Most females can be won over, but it will take persistence, stubbornness, and a true need from the male. If he gives up too easily, you will know to look elsewhere for a male for future breeding attempts.

Once the female has decided to give in, she will lay her spines as flat as possible, and the male will mount her carefully from the rear. It is recommended that you leave the hedgehogs together for no longer than 48 hours at a time. If you are not sure of an actual mating, you can wait a couple of days and attempt putting them back together again.

Hedgehog Breeding

Each time you put the animals together, it is vital that you mark the date down on a calendar. Normal gestational periods for African pygmy hedgehogs are 30 to 40 days. If by some chance, you put a male in with a female during her birth time, it wouldn’t be at all uncommon for the male and female to eat the babies. If this occurs, it isn’t a fault of either hedgehog but the result of their instincts.

Once you have bred the female, you can start examining her on a regular basis to check for pregnancy. If pregnant, you will feel the change in her abdomen, plus her nipples will change to where you will see the two distinct rows of breasts. They will also increase in size.

To enhance the chances of a healthy litter, you will need to prepare the female for the upcoming birth. She will want a nest to have her babies in, so provide a home for her. This needs to be a small, enclosed area made of wood or plastic. It will need to be dry, draft-free, and darkened. You will also want to keep the environment surrounding the hedgehog quiet and semi-warm. A constant 70 to 75 degrees is ideal. If this isn’t possible, place a heating pad under the cage. Never place the pad in with the animal as they can chew the cords and suffer electrical shorts or become burned by the pad itself.

Hedgehog Gestation

As the estimated time of birth arrives, restrict your handling of the mother.

If you hear the squeaks from newborn babies, resist the urge to count and examine them. Mothers will often reject babies that have been handled by humans. Try not to disturb your pet friend any more than necessary to change the food and water quietly.

When the baby hedgehogs are three weeks old, you will be able to see them venturing out of their “den” and examining the world around them. Don’t be surprised when the newborns don’t look exactly like their parents.

Born blind and with only a few soft, white spines, they will take 30 to 35 days for their permanent spines to appear. The eyes will open sometime between 10 and 18 days, and the mother may continue to nurse her young up to two months.

Young hedgehogs need to remain with their mother until they are eating solid food as their only nourishment. Once they have been weaned, the mother will again become territorial and begin to try and run her babies away. This is normal behavior and not a sign of a poor mother.