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Hedgehog Lifespan: How Long Do Hedgehogs Live?

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little hedgehog peeking at flowers
There are four different species of hedgehogs, however, the most common pet hedgehog is the African pygmy hedgehog.

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The average lifespan of a woodland hedgehog is between 2-5 years. One of the most famous 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 wild hedgehogs.

If you're a hedgehog owner, you're probably curious how long your new friend will live with you. Read on to learn more about hedgehog lifespan and the factors that affect it!

How long can a hedgehog live?

Cutest Animal: Hedgehog
Wild hedgehogs have an average lifespan of 2-3 years, while domesticated hedgehogs can live 7 years or more with proper care.

©Miroslav Hlavko/Shutterstock.com

wilderness

The life expectancy of wild and domestic hedgehogs is very different. Due to the dangers of living in the wild, hedgehogs in their native habitat typically live only 2-3 years. Hedgehogs kept as pets usually live longer.

pet

Pet hedgehogs typically live between four and seven years, but some can even live up to ten years. The African pygmy hedgehog is the most popular pet hedgehog (Atelerix albiventris). The typical lifespan of the African pygmy hedgehog is four to six years.

Pet Hedgehogs: Factors Affecting Their Longevity

A hedgehog's health can be affected by diet, genetics, habitat and living conditions.

©iStock.com/Remiphotography

A hedgehog's lifespan is influenced by a variety of factors, including genetics, food, and the quality of the habitat it lives in. Because of the wide range of influencing factors, no two people's encounters with hedgehogs are exactly alike. However, here are some important things to keep in mind…

Nutrition

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

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environment

Hedgehogs, despite their small size, need a large cage to allow them to run around and play. (The cage must be unbreakable!) If the cage floor is wire, the little hedgehog's feet may get tangled. Choose a cage with a solid floor. Get your pet a cage with different levels so they can climb up. Place your pet's cage in a warm place where it can be seen day and night.

Mazes and tunnels will also help keep your prickly friend mentally stimulated. Your hedgehog will also need a small bag or structure to hide himself in — the enclosure must be large enough for him to turn around comfortably.

appropriate conditions

Not only should you know how to properly care for your new pet, but the two of you will be compatible. Given that hedgehogs are nocturnal, light sleepers may not appreciate their late night activities. If you have young children, they may want to hold a hedgehog, but this is not recommended as the spines may hurt.

Gene

Reputable breeders will work hard to produce healthy hedgehogs. A good breeder will breed hedgehogs from strains free of common hedgehog diseases. This doesn't guarantee that the breeder's hedgehogs will live longer; it just means they'll have a better chance due to better genetics.

examine

Watch out for common hedgehog diseases. Cancer, obesity, ear infections, ringworm, and heart disease are common. Hedgehogs need an annual inspection and should be brought in when problems arise.

The 4 life stages of a hedgehog

Little hedgehog on white background
The four stages of a hedgehog's life are embryo, piglet, adult and old age.

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1. Embryo

A female hedgehog is about 1 month pregnant. She usually has four or five children at a time, also known as "hoglets."

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2. Piggy

Hoglets are born with covered quills, although soft quills will begin to appear within a few hours. The eyes will open between 12 and 24 days old. Hedgehog mothers will start weaning them when they are 4-6 weeks old. By 13 weeks, they should be fully weaned.

3. Adult

Hedgehogs reach adult size on average at 6 months of age and mature at 9-11 months of age. Male hedgehogs reach sexual maturity at 6-8 months and females at 2-6 months.

4. Advanced

At about age 4, your hedgehog will be a senior hedgehog.

In summary

Four-toed hedgehog in a funny autumn photo
With proper care, your pet hedgehog can live a long life full of joy and entertainment.

©Kuttelvaserova Stuchelova/Shutterstock.com

Hedgehogs live from four to seven years. However, a hedgehog's lifespan depends largely on the care it receives. While some factors, such as genes, are beyond your control, you do have some influence over many others. Healthy food, spacious cages, a low-stress environment, and regular medical care can extend a hedgehog's lifespan exponentially.

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Hedgehog closeup on a white background

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about the author


I have spent a large part of my life as a writer and artist with great respect for viewing nature analytically and metaphysically. After careful investigation, the natural world reveals truths far beyond the obvious. For me, the source of everything we have is embodied in our planet; the process of writing and creating art around this subject is an attempt to convey the wonder of it.

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