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Home > Hedgehogs > How Do Hedgehogs Mate? Facts & FAQ

How Do Hedgehogs Mate? Facts & FAQ

Two hedgehogs on the ground

Hedgehogs are adorable little creatures that have managed to work their way into the hearts of many people in the last few years. Now, many pet owners are turning to not only wanting to keep hedgehogs as pets, but they’re also looking to breed these little animals.

It is important to note that if you breed hedgehogs, you must know how to do it safely, which may seem scary to a beginner at first. Of course, there are a thousand questions you’ll probably want the answers to before you even attempt to breed the pet hedgehogs you have purchased.

Questions like how do hedgehogs mate and how do you know when your hedgehog is pregnant are just a few of the questions you probably want and need answers to. Luckily, you’ve come to the right place. In this blog, we’ll try to give you the answers you need to know and a little bit more as well.

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How Do Hedgehogs Mate?

Your first question is probably going to be, how do hedgehogs mate? Though this may seem strange, it’s a valid question and something you should know before getting started. The process is quite delicate. First, the female takes a special position while the male mounts the female from behind.

Studies have shown that hedgehogs are quite promiscuous creatures, taking a few different mates during mating season. As a result, both females and males have more than one mate, and the babies born can have several different fathers as well.

What Are the Risks?

As with breeding any other animal, there are risks with breeding hedgehogs as well. You need to be prepared for those risks, so we’ll talk about them here. If you breed your Hedgehogs at an age they aren’t ready to be bred, then you run the chance of the mother eating the babies or them being stillborn. This can also happen if the mother is super stressed as well.

Complications from pregnancy can endanger the mother just as they can in any species. You also must watch your male and female hedgehogs when they reach breeding age to make sure there’s no violence between them that could cause either of them harm.

The best thing to do when you’re considering breeding these animals is to talk to an experienced breeder who can guide you in the process and give you tips on doing it the right way, as well as being safe when you’re breeding them.

What Age and Temperament Are Best for the Female?

You wouldn’t think that temperament would be of any concern with breeding Hedgehogs, but they are hereditary in hedgehogs. Therefore, you’ll want to look for a female hedgehog that has an even temperament and is friendly. A mother that’s friendly and even-tempered will have a greater chance of having friendly, even-tempered babies.

Once you’ve found the right gentle female, you need to wait until she’s the right age for breeding. This is when the hedgehog is over six months old, not any sooner. If you breed them too young, the mother won’t have the captivities needed to support herself and the babies during the pregnancy because she hasn’t finished growing.

What Age and Temperament Are Best for the Male?

The even and friendly temperament applies to the male hedgehog as well. It is also essential that the male of the species is not closely related to the female of the species for obvious reasons. Unlike females, the males can breed at any age, but it is recommended to wait until they are four or five months for the best success.

European hedgehog in the wild
Image By: aaltair, Shutterstock

 

How Often Can a Female Hedgehog Be Bred?

Of course, you’re not going to want to breed your female constantly. It’s recommended that you not breed her more than three times a year. It’s best to give her at least four months between litters because she is an animal and a pet trying to survive. You should treat your hedgehogs just as you would any other pet and take care of them that way, whether they’re for breeding or not.

Always Be Sure All Your Hedgehogs Are Healthy

If your hedgehogs aren’t healthy, then you can’t expect the breeding to take, or if it does, you can’t expect them to produce healthy babies. There are a few diseases and conditions you’ll want to watch for with your Hedgehogs. Never breed them if they aren’t healthy, as it’ll affect the health of the litter and the parents as well.

If you’re unsure if your hedgehogs are healthy enough to breed, it is best to make an appointment with your vet for a checkup and determination. He’ll tell you if they’re healthy enough to breed or if you need to wait for another time instead.

Check and See if You Need a License

Some states require you to have a license to breed your hedgehogs. This is called a USDA license, and some states require it while others don’t. The level of license will be determined by the state you live in as well. That will depend on the state you live in and even what you are planning to do with the babies.

It’s not a good idea to ignore getting this license because it’s intended to look after the health of the hedgehogs, their safety, and to ensure they’re in good hands.

How to Tell If Your Hedgehog Is Pregnant

Now that you’ve done everything you’re supposed to, and breeding has taken place, you probably want to know how to tell if your Hedgehog is expecting little hedgehogs. There are four signs that you should look for. We’ll list them below.

  • Your hedgehog has a bigger appetite and increased eating habits
  • Her abdomen is hard and taunt, plus her teats are enlarged
  • She starts to exhibit nesting behavior
  • Your Hedgehog is gaining weight

These are the major signs that your Hedgehog is pregnant, and your breeding efforts have been a success.

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Final Thoughts

This is pretty much what you need to know about how hedgehogs mate and how to go about helping your hedgehogs to breed. Remember, it’s best to get a mentor before you start the mating process because it can be dangerous and deadly for your hedgehogs if you don’t know what you’re doing. Follow the tips above, and you’ll have a litter of hedgehogs running around before you know it.


Featured Image Credit: markito, Pixabay

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