How Big Does Hedgehogs Get?

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How Big Does Hedgehogs Get?

Tiny animal hedgehogs, named for their characteristic spiky coats, are becoming increasingly popular as pets and essential members of their natural environments. It is imperative to understand their size to care for hedgehogs and adequately create a suitable environment, whether in the wild or at home. This knowledge responds directly to the query, “How Big Does Hedgehogs Get?” which is essential information for potential pet owners and nature enthusiasts.

In the wild, hedgehogs are found in Europe, Asia, and Africa. They can live in various environments, including grasslands, woods, and deserts. Their diet, species and the habitat they live in can all affect how big they are. 

Conversely, because of selective breeding, domesticated hedgehogs—mainly the African Pygmy species—are more petite. Not only is it interesting to know how giant hedgehogs grow, but it’s also essential to maintaining their welfare. The hedgehog’s size, growth trends, and developmental stages affect proper nutrition, habitat size, and enrichment activities.



A Brief About Hedgehog

Many people still need to learn about specific amazing facts about hedgehogs even though they are fascinating little animals growing in popularity as unusual pets. Let’s explore the world of hedgehogs and find some exciting information!

The name “hedgehog” refers to the way they naturally behave. These little creatures like foraging among thickets and shrubs for edibles such as worms, snails, frogs, and insects. A hedgehog’s quill count is around 5,000. Approximately a year passes between each quill falling out and a fresh one taking its place. These hollow, pliable quills only stand upright when the hedgehog’s muscles contract.

Hedgehogs are autonomous in the wild. They only come together to mate; otherwise, they live alone. A hedgehog family can have one to seven young hoglets in a litter, although four to five is often the norm. Not all of the 17 species of hedgehogs known to exist are good pets, but the ones that may be enchanting and enjoyable company.


Hedgehog Size and Growth

Hedgehog Size and Growth

Growth Of Hedgehog

Birth to Four Weeks: Hedgehogs are born blind, and within the first week of life, they begin to grow quills, a characteristic that sets them apart from other pets. They get all their warmth and nourishment from their mothers throughout the first four weeks of life.

Five to Eight Weeks: Baby hedgehogs, also called “hoglets,” start to leave their nest as they mature and become less dependent on their nest. In addition to growing a taste for solid food in addition to breast milk, they begin to investigate their environment.

Nine Weeks to Adulthood: A hedgehog reaches nine weeks of age when it starts to show adolescent traits, such as increased activity and curiosity. The quills harden and begin to display color, having previously been only bud-like protrusions. This is the stage before hedgehogs reach adulthood.

Fully Grown: A hedgehog takes around a year to reach maximum size. Some people may take six to eight months to reach this point. They can be regarded as mature hedgehogs at this time, prepared to lead independent lives.

Size Of Hedgehog

As hedgehogs get older, they grow in a particular way. Newborns are around 5 cm long at birth. By reaching the 4-6 month mark, their size has doubled to around 10 cm. A hedgehog usually reaches 12.5 cm by 7-9 months.

They grow to around 17.5 cm in the 10–12 month phase. Hedgehogs continue to develop, reaching a height of 20 cm by 13 to 15 months. They reach around 22.5 cm in the last phases of their growth, between 16 and 18 months, and attain their maximum adult size of about 25 cm by 19 and 21 months.

It is crucial to remember that individual development might differ and that these are average measures. An adult hedgehog has a compact, rounded body with a short tail that is often covered in spines. Its typical length is between 20 and 30 cm from the base of its tail to its nose.


Factors Affecting The Size of Hedgehog

Factors Affecting The Size of Hedgehog

Like many other species, hedgehogs’ sizes are influenced by several circumstances. Here are a few crucial elements:

A hedgehog’s genetic composition is the primary factor influencing its size. Hedgehogs come in various sizes, and genetics can cause significant variance even across species. For example, the African pygmy hedgehog grows more petite than the European hedgehog.

Hedgehogs develop constantly until they reach adulthood, much like the majority of mammals. It is in their nature for a juvenile hedgehog to be smaller than an adult hedgehog. Genetics, diet, and overall health may all affect how quickly a person grows.

A hedgehog’s size is significantly influenced by the type and amount of food it has access to. Compared to a hedgehog that is underfed or has a bad diet, one that is well-fed and has access to diverse and nutritious food will usually grow larger and be healthier. This is determined by the availability of food sources in the wild, but the owner’s feeding practices determine when the animal is in captivity.

Parasites and illnesses may impede a hedgehog’s growth. Hedgehogs frequently suffer from skin conditions, intestinal parasites, and dental difficulties, all of which might impede their capacity to reach adulthood.

The growth of a hedgehog can be significantly influenced by its living environment. Growth is affected by several variables, including stress levels, humidity, and temperature. Hedgehogs in uncomfortable or stressful circumstances won’t grow as big as those in more relaxed ones.

Hedgehogs may encounter changes in the weather and food availability throughout the year in their natural habitat. These alterations may impact their total size and development. For instance, they may gain weight in anticipation of hibernating over the winter.

The phenomenon where males and females of many animal species, including particular hedgehogs, have different sizes is called sexual dimorphism. This discrepancy is frequently connected to roles and reproductive methods.

During hibernation, hedgehogs may undergo metabolic changes that impact their body mass and dimensions. They consume their fat stores to survive during hibernation, which may cause a discernible shift in size both before and after the hibernation period.


Measurement Guidelines for Hedgehogs

Measurement Guidelines for Hedgehogs

First, grab a soft measuring tape—which is more straightforward to handle and more comfortable for the hedgehog than a hard one—so that you may measure it. To keep your hedgehog from becoming stressed out, ensure the space is peaceful and quiet before you start. 

When you’re ready, carefully lift your hedgehog and give it full body support to make it feel safe. You may carefully run the measuring tape along your hedgehog’s body from the tip of its snout to the base of its tail once it has calmed down and potentially uncurled. 

Moving gently and avoiding pressuring the hedgehog to straighten out is crucial. Give your hedgehog time to unwind if it appears upset or coils up before attempting again. Remember that during this procedure, your hedgehog’s comfort and well-being should always come first. To reinforce the experience positively, give your hedgehog a favorite treat or some gentle stroking after measurement.


Hedgehog Diet for Size & Weight Maintenance

As opportunistic feeders, hedgehogs mostly eat invertebrates, including fly larvae, millipedes, beetles, earwigs, caterpillars, and earthworms. They occasionally consume ground-nesting bird eggs, fallen fruit, and carrion. The importance of supplemental feeding has increased due to the decrease in natural prey caused by agricultural activities. Hedgehogs can benefit from eating meat-based dog or cat food, specifically made hedgehog food and cat biscuits. Having access to fresh water is essential, particularly during arid weather. Although the extent of urban hedgehogs’ reliance on human food is unknown, it is believed to augment their natural diet and help them survive in areas where natural food is sparse.


Frequently Asked Questions

How big are pygmy hedgehogs in Africa?

Among the smallest hedgehog species are African pygmy hedgehogs, which are rather popular as pets. Typically, they reach 5 to 8 inches (13 to 20 centimeters).

How can I know if my hedgehog is overweight?

Your hedgehog’s weight and health must be monitored. Ask an exotic pet veterinarian to evaluate your hedgehog’s health and weight. Changes in appearance, mobility, or behavior may indicate overweight or underweight hedgehogs.

When do hedgehogs mature?

By 6–8 months, hedgehogs reach full size. Growth rates vary; therefore, monitoring their development in the first year is essential.

How can I raise a healthy hedgehog?

Give your hedgehog a balanced diet, suitable shelter and temperature, and regular exotic animal vet visits to grow healthy. Weight and behavior monitoring are also crucial for their health.

Do male and female hedgehogs differ in size?

Most hedgehog species have similar male and female sizes. Variations are usually negligible.


In summary

In conclusion, maintaining an active lifestyle, preventing obesity, and allowing growth to continue until eight months of age are essential to hedgehogs’ health and size control. Providing a large enclosure with opportunities for exercise, healthy food, and continuous access to clean water is crucial. Hedgehogs are easy to keep at a healthy size with the proper care, so even first-time pet owners may enjoy having one as a companion.

About the author

Susana

Susana

Susana Jean, Pocket Pet Expert and Sugar Glider Aficionado Hi everyone! I’m Susana Jean, your go-to wordsmith and pet enthusiast who has a special place in her heart for the fascinating world of sugar gliders.…Continue reading

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