Posted: August 13, 2009, 5 a.m. EDT
Q: We mated our hedgehogs last week and have already separated them. How will we know if our female hedgehog is pregnant? Last month we mated them, but the result was disappointing. This time, we prepared everything for her. We weigh her every two days. It seems that she has gained 10 grams every two days and her appetite is increasing. What is your advice?
A: Good record keeping is key. Always weigh the female hedgehog before she is introduced to the male hedgehog. Once breeding has taken place, which usually occurs on the first day, the gestation period is around 34 to 36 days. It could be a few days more or less, but 35 days is the norm.
Signs that your female hedgehog may be pregnant include weight gain during weekly weigh-ins and increased appetite. You will notice the female hedgehog coming out to feed in the middle of the day more, and you will see that she is putting on more weight. Her belly will become big and round during the last week or so before giving birth. Her stool may look different, usually bigger. She will start building a nest by gathering up the bedding and placing it in the nest box.
All these signs can indicate your female hedgehog is pregnant, but I have had females who have not shown any of these typical signs and surprised me with a littler of hoglets.
When you do hear those little peeps coming from the nest box, try not to let your curiosity get the best of you. Leave the female hedgehog alone for the first week or so to give her time to bond to her babies. Noise and distractions can cause the female hedgehog to abandon or even eat her young.
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