Do Hedgehogs Mate For Life?

2 hedgehogs having sex as owner inquires Do Hedgehogs Mate For Life?

Tired of the loud mating hedgehog sounds on your property at night or looking to breed hedgehogs at home? Knowing more about their reproductive behavior can be vital, including whether they keep the same partners in the wild or show signs of promiscuity.

This article answers the question “Do Hedgehogs Mate For Life?” by revealing the sexual behavior of hedgehogs in the wild where mates may abound. We also discover more details about their reproductive habits. Let’s get started.

Do Hedgehogs Mate For Life?

Hedgehogs are far from monogamous and engage in sexual activity with multiple partners throughout their lifetimes. Hedgehogs only socialize during the mating season and partners often separate once the season is over so each hedgehog can continue with its solitary lifestyle. Males have no need to hang around females even after pregnancy because they do not participate in raising the hoglets.

Knowing more about hedgehogs’ mating behavior can come in handy for not only prospective commercial breeders but anyone who wants to breed a male and female successfully. Stay tuned within the next couple of minutes as we share some intriguing facts about the cute spiky little creatures.

When Do Hedgehogs Reach Sexual Maturity?

adult and younger hedgehog in close proximity as owner wonders When Do Hedgehogs Reach Sexual Maturity?

Hedgehogs are considered adults at 11 months which is the best time to breed males. However, females achieve sexual maturity earlier but experts recommend never breeding female hedgehogs until they are at least 6 months old.

No need to own a male and female to breed hedgehogs since they typically give birth to multiple hoglets. You can reach an agreement with another hedgehog owner to form a breeding pair and split the resultant offspring.

It is recommended that the male is taken to the female and not the other way around. Hedgehogs should be separated for 5 days after 5 continuous days of staying together. Another 5 days of pairing up are recommended to increase the chances of successful mating and pregnancy.

How Can You Tell A Male From A Female?

Knowing the difference between males and females is basic for anyone who wants to breed hedgehogs. Male hedgehogs feature a penile sheath found halfway from the tummy while female hedgehogs have a sexual opening located right next to the anus.

Males and females typically have teats found on each side under the tummy fur which can be spotted after looking underneath their underbellies. Identifying the gender of a hoglet could be difficult due to the lack of sexual organ development.

Are Hedgehogs Monogamous?

Wild hedgehogs do not mate for life because males only seek out females during the mating season after which they separate. Pregnant hedgehogs go through the 30-40 days of gestation alone without any male present and raise their hoglets independently.

Male hedgehogs look for another female during the same mating season to continue expanding their brood without worrying about how the hoglets are raised. The females also mate with other males during the same mating season even if fertilization may have occurred after the initial mating escapades.

Neither males nor female hedgehogs are monogamous. They are independent creatures that mate with members of the opposite sex as and when necessary without any sense of loyalty to previous sexual mates.

How Do Hedgehogs Mate?

Males initiate sexual contact by conducting a weird ritual that involves certain sounds and movements at the onset of the mating season. The male encircles the females in a courting ritual to attract its attention and once the female gets ready, it flattens the spines for the male.

The male happily mounts the female and inserts his penile sheath after some slight initial fumbles. Once the male climaxes, the female is dismounted and they both go their separate way until another member of the opposite sex is encountered to mate with in the near future.

Males are typically more promiscuous because they actively seek and mount as many female hedgehogs as possible during mating season. Females on the other hand need to be courted before allowing another male to mate with them.

Females also stop mating with other males once signs of pregnancy become apparent as the focus shifts to building a nest for the hoglets’ comfort upon arrival.

Do Hedgehogs Have To Have a Partner?

Hedgehogs do not have to have a partner because they are naturally solitary animals that prefer forging ahead in life on their own. Females may meet and mate with males they are attracted to but quickly separate after.

Can You Breed Brother And Sister Hedgehogs?

2 hedgehogs moving side by side but Can You Breed Brother And Sister Hedgehogs?

Breeding brother and sister hedgehogs are frowned upon because it is technically in-breeding which can result in offspring engulfed with serious health problems.

Sibling hedgehogs will have no physical problems mating with each other because there’s no biological mechanism to help them identify their close relationship. However, the negatives of in-breeding could be severe which is why the practice should never be entertained.

How Long Do Hedgehogs Mate For?

Hedgehogs have a reproductive cycle of 9 days on heat and 7 days off and breeders recommend allowing them to mate for 5 days continuously before separating for another 5 days. The pair should be allowed to mate for an additional 9 days.

This mating cycle ensures overlap of the hedgehog’s mating and “heat” period to guarantee an increased chance of pregnancy.

How Long Do Females Nest After Mating?

Female hedgehogs nest for up to 6 weeks after delivery of the hedgehogs. The first 10 days are often intensive with absolutely no form of disturbance to the new mother and her babies because this is the period where hoglets are at most danger of dying.

Checking in on the hedgehog and newborns after the 10-day mark could be tolerated but avoid being a nuisance in their lives. After week 6, when the newborns have developed some teeth and may be going through their first round of quilling, the mother often takes them along when going out at night to forage for food and water.

Once hoglets in the wild gain experience in the art of foraging for their own food outdoors, the preparation to leave the mother’s nest begins. The majority of hoglets leave the mother’s side after week 12 but wandering around their cages during the night becomes more frequent.

Many hedgehog breeders hand out hoglets to new owners once they reach weeks 10 to 12 when they have well-developed baby teeth to be able to munch on solid foods.

What Materials Do Female Hedgehogs Nest With?

Grass, leaves, feathers, and sometimes even moss, are the most popular materials female hedgehogs employ during nest building. They begin focusing on their nests once pregnancy is confirmed and the first step is usually identifying the right spot.

Females pick spots they believe offer their newborns the best chance of survival from predators and harsh weather. Tree roots and ground holes are popular options because they provide relative warmth and hiding opportunities from predators.

Female hedgehogs apply several techniques to keep out cold temperatures to increase the hoglet’s chances of survival. Waterproofing is equally important to keep out the rain especially when it is that time of the year.

What is Hedgehog Pregnancy Duration?

Hedgehog pregnancies typically range from 30-40 days depending on the breed and environmental factors. Signs of pregnancy can be subtle and by the time they become apparent, females are close to giving birth.

How Do Pregnant Hedgehogs Look Like?

Female hedgehogs gain weight during pregnancy and they keep on piling the pounds week in and week out until delivery. Their appetite increases suddenly and it is not uncommon for pregnant females to experience rounder bellies with each passing day.

Pregnant female hedgehogs also typically experience abnormally large stools as they start piling up cage bedding for nest building.

How Long Before Hoglets Are Weaned?

hoglets following their mother but How Long Before Hoglets Are Weaned?

Hoglets are weaned around 12 weeks after delivery when their baby teeth are developed for eating wet or dry cat food and other diets without problems. By week 12, hedgehogs have undergone the first round of quilling and should be able to defend themselves against some environmental threats in the wild.

How To Breed Hedgehogs

Here are the step-by-step instructions for breeding hedgehogs with a high probability of ending up with healthy offspring. Always make sure to provide enough food and water for the pregnant female and newborns while preparing for the possibility that the hoglets may get cannibalized by the females.

  1. Make sure hedgehog breeding is not illegal in your state
  2. Obtain a USDA License if you intend to breed commercially
  3. Select healthy-looking females that are 6 months to 11 months old
  4. Select healthy-looking and well-developed males that are not related to the female biologically
  5. Bring the female to the male’s cage for an increased chance of success
  6. Leave the female in the male’s cage for 5 days and separate them for another 5 days
  7. Return the female to the male’s cage for another 5 days
  8. Once pregnancy is suspected, note the female’s projected delivery date by marking the date of mating and counting another 35 days
  9. Build a nest for the hedgehog from a one-gallon plastic tube with a lid turned upside down
  10. Create a 10cm hole an inch above the base and add some dry hay to enable the female to build a nest
  11. Replace the hay with a fresh supply 3 days before the projected due date for the babies to provide more warmth and comfort.
  12. Maintain temperatures ranging from 70 F to 75 F to keep the mother and newborns warm.
  13. Provide more food and fresh water during the pregnancy and after delivery.
  14. Keep your ears on the ground until squeaking noises are heard which is proof that the newborns have arrived.
  15. Glance the cage and remove any dead hoglets quietly.
  16. Stay calm if the female eats any of the newborn babies.
  17. Count the hoglets after 10 days.
  18. Begin handling the hoglets gently and increase the physical handling times gradually.
  19. Start leaving extra food for the hoglets around 6 weeks after delivery.
  20. Wean the hoglets after 10-12 weeks.


Hedgehogs are promiscuous animals that mate with as many members of the opposite sex as possible. Males and females typically separate after mating and each forges ahead to find more partners to mate with.

Hedgehogs do not mate for life unlike some other animals because they are solitary creatures that enjoy living on their own. Females only stop mating with other males after discovering signs of pregnancy which shifts the focus to building their own nests.

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