Hedgehogs are insectivorous animals that have found a place in the hearts of humans nowadays. The keeping of hedgehogs is becoming popular; hence information relating to them and their upkeep is quite important. They are friendly and little animals that have proved to be non-picky eaters. They are also not harmful. In fact, before people started keeping them as pets, they are regularly found around gardens and farms. Hedgehogs find solace in the human habitat. That might be a good reason why they adapt easily as pets.
As close as hedgehogs have been, a lot about them are not known until recently. A good example is their food; hedgehogs feed on cat food, and some hedgehog owners still feed them that, because that’s the closest hedgehog food humans could get them. This piece will be focusing on how hedgehogs mate, how to go about mating two hedgehogs and all necessary steps.
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How old must the adult Hedgehogs be?
Before the question of how your little hedgehogs’ mate come to play, it is important to know what age mating should happen. Such information will allow you to make any necessary preparation. Such preparation could be, knowing certain foods to give the hedgehog, how often, and the food to withdraw. You will also be able to prepare for other needs like a certain temperature the cage must be.
Never breed a hedgehog before 4-5 months. That is important so that there are no complications. Until after 4-5 months, hedgehogs are still developing and maturing. Since pregnancy withholds the continual growing of hedgehogs, breeding them before they are mature is not encouraged.
While the minimum that you need to breed hedgehogs is a male and a female, there are other factors to consider. It is not necessary to mention that ill-tempered hedgehogs are not good for breeding. Breeding of related hedgehogs is not advisable. You have to be careful in choosing the partners. Other factors you should consider in choosing breeding mates are color, temperament and so on.
When is my Hedgehog too old to be bred for the first time?
There have been cases where complications arise inbreeding as a result of the age of the hedgehogs. When a hedgehog is over one and a half years old, it is too risky to breed such for the first time. It is possible that a female hedgehog might not be able to hold a pregnancy. This is due to the fact that the bones in her pelvic area will have fused.
How exactly do Hedgehogs mate?
You might wonder, “What do I need to do to ensure the hedgehog mate?” The answer is that you don’t need to do more than put the male and female hedgehog together, sit back and watch the fun. Like humans, the female will maybe play the hard to get game and the male will squeak very loudly.
In the end, both hedgehogs know what to do. The female will have to assume a certain body position with her spines flattened, and the male will mount her from behind.
It is always encouraged that you take the female hedgehog to the male hedgehog’s cage so that the male does not feel out of place and is able to do its job. However, before you bring the hedgehog together, ensure the clearing of the cage. Any toys or level can serve as a hiding place or distractions.
Do I need a license to breed Hedgehogs?
In some states, it is illegal to breed hedgehogs, and in some, you will need a license. Whatever the case, ensure you find out for sure what works in your state. While it is illegal to breed in certain states, some breeders have a license that allows you to take your female hedgehogs to them for breeding. In other states, you can acquire the license and breed the hedgehog yourself.
Do not be surprised; however, it is also possible that a license is not required at all of you. Just find out for sure as you don’t want to put yourself in trouble.
How long should I leave the female hedgehog with the male?
While it is always advisable to ask for advice of an experienced breeder, most time trial and error is the method employed. Most people leave the pair alone and watch if the female responds for about 10 days. In another case, you can leave the pair for 4-5 days, separate them for another 4 and put them together for another 4-5 days. Again, this is only a trial and error method, but it has proved to be effective.
How do I know my hedgehog is pregnant?
After you must have returned the female hedgehog to its cage, it’s time to find out if your pet is pregnant. The gestation period is between 34 and 42 days, so you can start counting from the day you separate it from the male. The average gestation period is 35 days though. One of the things you will observe is the increase in weight due to its increased appetite. While this is always correct, it is a good way to start.
Another thing you can do to find out if your hedgehog is pregnant is gently palpate her abdomen and you might be able to feel her babies as she gets closer to the birthing date. Achieving result with this is difficult even with professional breeders, so don’t beat yourself if you can’t tell for sure. Another sign is that her nipples or teats may become enlarged or more obvious as time draws closer.
As time gets closer for her babies to arrive, you might notice a strong odor from her urine. In other times she might start making nests from her bedding in other to get ready for her babies.
In the days leading to the babies being born, she might also lose appetite. In spite of all these signs, it is possible that she is not pregnant. So no one can say for sure until late into her gestation period.
Care for the Mother
During the gestation period, there is a minimal thing you can do. Ensure you put enough food and fresh water in her cage regularly. It’s not a time for a diet, as she will need it in other to produce nutrients to feed her babies. Another thing you can do is keeping the cage warm. A temperature of 16OC – 24OC is ideal for the mother. You can introduce a bulb if the cage is too cool. However, you must ensure you use a thermometer to check the temperature so you don’t overheat the cage.
Upon delivery, it is possible that there are complications especially if it is the first time. So, keep an eye on the mother. It is possible that it loses the babies, which is not uncommon or probably seems very inactive.
The possibility is that she suffered a problem during birth or some babies are still caught up inside her. Whenever you notice unusual
Care for the Babies
Normally, there isn’t much you should do for the babies until they can feed on their own as the mothers will take care of them. However, there have been cases of bad mothers, and you will have to care for the babies. In such a case, especially if the mother starts eating her babies, you can take the babies away from her and care for them. Since the little ones like their adults don’t eat much. In fact, it has been said that hedgehog only needs about 5% – 10% of their body weight in food each 24-hour period. Now, accounting for the weight of the babies, you see what is required is relatively small food. Just enough to keep the babies alive is sufficient.
Aside from the case of a bad mother, there is relatively little or nothing you can do for the babies. In fact, it is advisable not to disturb the mother and babies when they are born as they are resistant to disturbance.
If you will have to take care of the babies yourself, you must take note that they are blind at birth. You must also note that babies, most times do eat beyond what their body can take, so be careful not to overfeed them. Aside from getting obese, they can die of septic shock within a few hours. Septic shock is caused due to intestines impacting, stomach bloating and or ruptured colon.
Mating your hedgehogs is an amazing process. However, you should be careful about how you go about it. Ensure it is legal in your state, don’t mate underage hedgehogs. You must also provide all necessary materials that ensure a conducive environment for your little pets.
In case of complications, however, don’t hesitate to ask for help from competent professionals. Good luck!