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Why Do Hedgehogs Eat Their Babies?

Why Do Hedgehogs Eat Their Babies?

Why do Hedgehog Eat Their Babies?

It is common for any mother Hedgehog to eat her baby if there is a particular barrier/disturbance in her environment. Whether this is normal or not depends on the circumstances.

It is not common for them to eat their children when there is no environmental stress, and everything is calm and peaceful. Usually, any stress, including environment, feeding, social, or any other stress, is the primary cause of hedgehogs’ eating their young ones.

Hedgehogs should not eat their babies at all. When they are upset or low in nutrition, they only eat their babies to sustain their lives; the nutrients are absorbed into the body and reproduce again.

Another critical reason for Hedgehog to eat their children is fear. It may be a fear of hunter or fear of their children dying due to any calamity.

hedgehog is a small beautiful mammal has spines on its body. There are seventeen hedgehog species in five genera found in Asia, Europe, Africa, and New Zealand.

Essentials to avoid Hedgehogs eating their babies:

  • It is always essential to ensure that the atmosphere is calm for at least ten days, but you must go for two weeks for safety.
  • Keep the house quiet for a few days before the birth.
  • Do whatever it takes to keep the dogs out, turn on the TV, anything.
  • Please don’t move the cage after birth.
  • Do not disrupt their environment or give them stress in any condition

If the mother has eaten all the babies, try again in three months. If she eats babies even in a quiet environment, she will continue to eat due to bad habits. Try to change that Hedgehog

Why Do Hedgehogs Eat Their Babies?

What Do You Do When Your Hedgehog has Babies?

After about six weeks, it is vital to allow the Hedgehog to be fed extra food because they start to mature and ready to mate. To make things easier, you can soak wet cat food or dry kittens in water and offer them extra nutrition.

After seven weeks, it is okay to remove the baby’s hedgehogs from their mother’s care. Also, be sure to separate the male and female to avoid intercourse/mating – they will reach their sexual maturity by two months.

There are many details you may need to roll up your sleeves and look after your newborn’s Hedgehog. Continue reading to learn more about “A Guide to Nursing Hedgehogs”.

Do Hedgehogs Eat Their Babies? (Cont.)

Your female Hedgehog may have given birth to a baby unexpectedly, and now you are anxious to know what needs to be done. The most common purpose for this is that when new owners buy a pet hedgehog, they don’t even realize they were pregnant in the first place.

So what do you do?

First, let’s take a look at an essential piece of terminology that will help you better understand this post and other resources related to hedgehogs around the web.

What Is A Baby Hedgehog Called? Hoglet

The official name of Baby Hedgehog is Hoglet. A series of terms were used in the past, such as urchins or pups, but the Hoglet has emerged as the most used name in recent years.

While “Baby Hedgehog” is the easiest way to describe what kind of Hedgehog you are dealing with, it is also essential to be familiar with the word Hoglet. When breeders view articles or information on websites, they often use the term to describe their Hedgehog children.

Now that we’ve made it clear that you need to know the information you need to know when caring for a baby hedgehog.

Give the Mom Her Space Early On

Hedgehogs (mother and baby) need to be carefully watched from five to ten days after birth. If a mother hedgehog faces unnecessary stress, she may eat/reject her young (unfortunately but a common occurrence).

Another essential rule to remember to help keep a child’s Hedgehogs safe is a cage companion. It will almost always end in disaster. So always select your baby Hedgehog companion carefully.

The key objective is to keep the mother and Hoglet in a quiet place. Try to retain the space between 74 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit and use your existing lamps or pads to attain this temperature.

You can quietly inspect them and monitor the food supply to make sure the mother is eating. Never disturb their enclosure for at least five days. After these five days, you can try to clean the cage. If the mother feels pressurized and stressed, stop and try again in the ten days.

Why Do Hedgehogs Eat Their Babies?

What Is The Normal Time To Remove The Tiny Hedgehogs?

Baby hedgehogs twitch to open their eyes at 13-24 days old.

Their mothers Hedgehog weans them at four to six weeks usually.

What If The Mother Hedgehog Won’t Care For Her Baby?

In some unfortunate incidents, a mother will reject her babies. The baby may be pushed out of the nest area, and will not receive milk. You can try using a spoon to turn the Hoglet into a nest (you want to keep your scent a little away).

She can even kill or eat her young ones. It can sometimes happen if you try to keep them uncomfortable. If this happens, you will need to remove the children.

Suppose an attempt to reintroduce a baby hedgehog in their nesting area fails and the mother is not caring for her young anymore. In that case, you have to foster the newborn hoglets independently.

How Do You Rear The Hedgehogs Babies Yourself?

Raising a hedgehog can be raised with the right setup. If you have another female hedgehog with recent litter, you can keep small babies in her litter. By rubbing a baby Hoglet in the new mother’s bedding, you will make Hedgehog baby smell familiar to her, and she thinks that Hoglet is also hers, and she can nurture it for you.

If another foster Hedgehog mother is not available, you will need to wean the baby hedgehogs yourself. Like any newborn parent, you need to be prepared for a weird sleep schedule. Hoglets must be fed every two to three hours during the first three weeks of life.

Feeding a Rejected Baby Hedgehog

To do this, you need:

  • Plastic syringe-(some even have rubber “nipples”).
  • Sheep’s milk-(it is close in nutrients to hog milk or a form of milk replacer).
  • Raw egg-(a little can be assorted with the milk into a “formula”.
  • A damp cloth/baby wipes for initiating urination and bowel actions.

You can slowly inject a small amount of the formula into the baby’s Hedgehog’s mouth. Watch the Hoglet, if the recipe comes out of his nose, clean his face and give him a chance to eat that then offer more.

After feeding, you will need to initiate urination or bowel movements in the baby’s Hedgehog. Mothers usually lick their young ones for this. You can wipe with a moist cloth or use baby wipes, and gently rubs the baby’s waist/anus to encourage it to defecate. It is essential to do this after each feeding.

Way to Go!

When it comes to caring for hedgehogs, you know the basics. It’s a process that may seem scary at first, but with these guidelines, you’ll move on quickly!

Remember if you have any concerns/queries about hedgehog care. Contact your breeder or local foreign doctor immediately to make sure your Hoglets are taken Care of.

Do Male Hedgehogs Kill Their Babies?

As far as males are concerned, they will kill the babies to mate again with their females. Mothers will kill inferior babies because their instincts tell them that something is wrong with them. It may be any defect or something else. Sometimes there is a defect that we cannot see physically.

Do Hedgehogs Eat Their Poop?

Yes, it is relatively healthy for the Hedgehog to eat his/her feces. They get quite many nutrients and proteins, and cellulite remains undigested and preserved in the excretion. It is only harmful when eating poop from other animals, or other hedgehogs infected or severely sick.

Why Do Hedgehogs Eat Their Babies?

Hedgehog Nutrition and Feeding

The easiest way is to feed them with fixed feed prepared from mix 2 to 3 high-quality cat food brands. There are many well-known products in the market, use any of them.

You can also include insects that are part of their natural diet. Insects such as silkworms, mealworms, and wax worms are good options for hedgehogs and are available in everyday pet stores. You can also provide them with fresh vegetables and eggs.

Sometimes the Hedgehog is not eating. There is a simple reason for this, i.e., you may have recently changed the brand of their food or product. Hedgehogs are very good at their food, and they understand food by its smell.

So, if you want to change their diet, do it slowly and deliberately. Do not change the diet one after the other at once. If you’re going to test our statement, you can provide some brand new feed while replacing the old one and see how they react.

What Can Hedgehogs Eat?

In the wild, hedgehogs live on insects and sometimes small mice, such as rats. They also eat at night. So it is a good idea to provide them with fresh vegetables and a source of end pests. Here are our favourite food lists that get you hooked every day.

  • Crickets: It can be found in both dry and live forms. They also provide hedgehogs with chitin but make sure they process the gut load before handing it to the hedgehogs. Also, providing live cricket is better than providing them with dry food. Live crickets are extra juicy, and hedgehogs can play with them before taking them out.
  • Gut loading insects: They are significant because you can provide hedgehogs with nutritious foods they don’t usually like to eat. You can give the insects healthy vegetables and fruits that your Hedgehog does not eat in the process. Foods such as lettuce and celery should be avoided as they are deficient in micronutrients. Pet stores provide items for insect gut loads. It is also essential that you get your pests out of place known for hygienic breeding methods and should not contain pesticides or parts of fertilizers.
  • Fruits and Vegetables: Always provide fresh fruits and vegetables such as bananas, apples, berries, and citrus. Dry foods should be avoided, and foods such as avocados are plentiful. They can be dangerous for hedgehogs.
  • Meat and eggs: Serve meat (such as poultry) and eggs in a small form and always cooked.
  • Cabbage (hedgehog cabbage or cat Kibble): Cabbage will be the most prominent part of your hedgehog diet. Both cat-specific cabbage and hedgehog Kibble products are available. But, in general, cat hedgehogs also work, and they are cheaper. Make sure it contains at least 30% protein and no more than 20% fat.
  • Mealworms and wax worms: Both can be purchased at a pet store. They come in both fresh and frozen forms. However, providing hedgehogs with live food helps with mental exercise and gives them playtime. Besides, mealworms can provide standard proteins, and they are a source of chitin (a type of protein that has a lot of fiber in them). The amount is slightly less than that of mealworms

Hedgehog Breeding and Offspring

Female hedgehogs can be produced at any time. As human beings, they do not have a monthly cycle. They have an average “heat” of nine days and an average of seven days. When breeding hedgehogs, most experienced breeders keep males and females together for four to five days, then isolated for another four to five days.

How Many Babies can a Hedgehog Have?

Hedgehogs give birth in June and July, and their average litter consists of four or five young ones. However, they usually have only two or three successful clutches. If mother Hedgehog is upset, she is responsible for giving up or eating Hoglet.

How to Take Care of a Newborn Baby Hedgehog

From the birth of a hedgehog to until he/she gets mature, every stage is critical. Many things can go incorrect during this time. And hedgehog breeders must provide diligent Care so that their baby Hedgehog can grow up without any stress. The life of a baby hedgehog can be endangered by their parents when they are born. If they survive the berthing experience, the newborn Hoglet usually has six siblings in the clutch who also fight with each other. So being a Hedgehog is a difficult task

Why Do Hedgehogs Eat Their Babies?

The Birth of a Baby Hedgehog

According to the Chicago Exotics Animal Hospital, a hedgehog is born blind, and their eyes are after 2-3 weeks. They do not open their eyes for the first week. If a Hoglet is lucky enough to survive the mother’s wrath, the baby must also compete with his siblings for nursing and nourishment. If they can’t get proper nutrition, they will probably die of malnutrition or be get too much week.

A Baby Hedgehog During the Suckle Phase

When a mama has rejected all or some of her babies in some circumstances, we must take alternative measures. Baby hedgehogs will need to be raised, and for that purpose, surrogate mother Hedgehog can be used. Mother Hedgehog breastfeeds younglings 24 hours a day usually (after every 2 hours) so raising them on your own is a difficult task.

Sometimes the motherless Hoglets refuses the surrogate mother and dies. It is more common with wild hedgehogs than with domestic hedgehogs.

Once the mother hedgehog starts to show signs of nursing distress, breeders usually begin offering solid food and socialize more. These are good milestones that indicate that baby hedgehogs are maturing and thriving. When mother Hoglet gets tired of nursing, she starts to get away from her babies and leave them alone.

So in response to that and quench their hunger, the baby will start eating from Hedgehog’s feeding tray. This behavior increases as young baby grow up, and when the mother avoids them for a long time. The length of the weaning procedure varies from litter to litter. Occasionally it can take up to 7-10 weeks for the baby Hedgehog to wean.

Hedgehogs-Health Problems

Hedgehogs have many unique problems. Understanding these issues will help you take better Care of your pet and reduce future health care issues.

  • Cancer
  • Obesity
  • Eye problems
  • Dental disease
  • Necrosis of foot
  • Oral foreign objects

Difficulties in the examination

The Hedgehog usually “ball up” when examined. It is a minor defence reaction and makes it difficult, if not impossible, to be tested by your veterinarian. Expert says that “Most hedgehogs will also need anaesthesia even for a simple test.”

Some other Common Diseases of Pet Hedgehog

Other common conditions of pet hedgehogs include external and internal parasites, ringworm, gastrointestinal diseases and pneumonia.


Both external and internal parasites are seen in hedgehogs. Intestinal parasites (“worms” and protozoa) can cause diarrhea and can be diagnosed based on a feces test in these animals. This test may be even performed on healthy animals that show no symptoms.

External parasites include fleas, ticks, and mites and cause a variety of dermatitis. Caparinia tripolis is a small mite commonly found in pet hedges. It is often discovered during facial examinations, as they run around the face, forehead, and ears. These infected Hedgehogs when making direct contact with other healthy hedgehogs they also contaminate them with parasites. So affected animals must be separated from the healthy ones.

Although many animals show no clinical signs, signs may include flaky skin, spine loss, crusts at the spines’ base, and rubbing or scratching against stationary objects. Ear mites can also affect your pet Hedgehog. Fleas affect almost all warm-blooded mammals, and hedgehogs are no exception. Ticks are uncommon in them, especially if the Hedgehogs are kept indoors.

Ringworm is actually not a worm but a fungus. Clinical symptoms may include hair loss, no shine, and skin crusting. It may also spread to other pets and people.

Hedgehog Lifecycle

January and February:

In these winter months, most hedgehogs will start hibernating.  They may wake a little during these months but remain inactive unless disturbed or when the weather has turned too mild.


Hedgehogs stop hibernation slowly and lose one-third of their body weight during their hibernation period. This is the perfect time for pet parents to start putting out supplementary food and water as they will be too hungry and thirsty.


Most hedgehogs will find a place in the cage to make the nest and prepare them for breeding. So pet owners must provide them with proper bedding material in the nest; otherwise, they will be stressed out.


It is the month where they start breeding and mating with each other. Keep an eye on them and listen to their loud grunting and snuffling noises at night; it may be hedgehogs mating! Males will circle the female, trying to persuade her to mate, sometimes even for hours. After mating, the male goes away and takes no part in rearing the babies.


The female starts giving birth to 6-7 hoglets in this month. And start caring for them


If babies survive, they try to learn and eat with their mother in feeding trays or pens at the end of July.


Hoglets start to mature and learn how to live on their own. Some even live separately and show mature behaviour.


As mentioned above, some mature Hedgehog females may mate for a second time and thus repeat all the last couple of months. However, their natural diet/food will significantly reduce in autumn, so late litters will struggle to gain the fat reserves necessary for hibernation.


As the environment and surroundings become cold, adult hedgehogs will continue to eat as much as they can and start building their nests to get ready for hibernation.

November – December:

Most hedgehogs will start hibernation during November and will typically remain in this state until February or March of the following year.

Final Thoughts

hedgehog is a small beautiful mammal that has spines on its body. It is common for any mother Hedgehog to eat her baby if there is a particular barrier/disturbance in her environment. Whether this is normal or not depends on the circumstances. It is not common for them to eat their children when there is no environmental stress and everything is calm and peaceful. Usually, any stress, including environment, feeding, social, or any other stress, is the primary cause of hedgehogs’ eating their young ones.