whats the average lifespan of a hedgehog

whats the average lifespan of a hedgehog

whats the average lifespan of a hedgehog

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The average lifespan of a woodland hedgehog is between 2 – 5 years. One of the most well-known hedgehogs is the African Pygmy hedgehog, also known as the “four-toed” hedgehog. This is the most common pet hedgehog and is known to live longer than its wild counterparts.

Hedgehog Lifespan: How Long Do They Live?

How long do hedgehogs live?

The average hedgehog lifespan is between 3-7 years for pets. There have been cases where pet hedgehogs have reached the 8-10 year range, but that’s rather uncommon.

In the wild, hedgehogs live to be around 2-3 years old. The reason for this massive difference in potential lifespan is because wild hedgehogs have to face predators (this is what ends the life of most of them) and a higher risk of disease and injury.

Next, we’ll explore the factors that influence a pet African pygmy hedgehog’s lifespan. These are all things that you can impact on some level, so understanding them can help you have more precious time with your hedgie.

whats the average lifespan of a hedgehog
whats the average lifespan of a hedgehog

What’s the Average Lifespan of a Hedgehog?

Wild hedgehogs and pet hedgehogs have wildly different lifespan lengths. Due to life in the wild involving predators and a greater risk of disease or injury, hedgehogs in their natural habitat typically only live between 2-3 years. Hedgehogs who are pets tend to live longer than that, though.

Pet hedgehogs usually average a lifespan of 4-7 years (although there have been reports of some living as long as 8-10 years!). As we said above, however, there are many factors that contribute to just how long a hedgehog will survive – genetics, diet, whether they’re in a healthy environment, and much more. Everyone’s experience with hedgehogs will be different due to these many variables.

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Why Do Some Hedgehogs Live Longer Than Others?

Learning about the factors that can affect your hedgehog’s lifespan is essential so that you can provide the best care for them. The care you give them can add years to their life, enabling you to enjoy more time with your pet.

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What factors impact a hedgehog’s lifespan?

There are a large number of factors that can impact the lifespan of a hedgehog. Some of these are natural or genetic, and others are environmental.

Take some time to learn these so you can provide better care, and add valuable years to your hedgehog’s life. You would be surprised how beneficial it can be to look at everything through this lens.

whats the average lifespan of a hedgehog
whats the average lifespan of a hedgehog

Genetics

We hear from a lot of potential owners who want to know what they can do to make sure their pet hedgehog has the best life expectancy as possible. But a lot of them assume that the genetic and natural component is out of their control.

It’s not.

Your choice of breeder plays a huge part in getting a hedgehog with a good genetic makeup. Good genetics serve as the foundation for your hedgehog’s ability to live a long healthy life.

A responsible breeder will use smart and ethical breeding practices to make sure their hedgehogs aren’t prone to health problems. Find a breeder that’s recommended by the community and knows their stuff.

If you neglect to do this there are a number of problems it will cause. You’ll own a hedgehog who has a lower life expectancy and more likely to become ill. They might still be cute and lovable, but this isn’t fair to them. Keeping bad breeders in business just causes more hedgehogs to suffer in the future.

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It’s worth noting that this isn’t a perfect system. Getting a hedgehog from a reputable breeder doesn’t mean that they’re guaranteed to have a long lifespan.

Congenital birth defects are always a possibility and you simply cannot account for the randomness of life.

Their diet

Just like with humans (and any other animal), the quality of your hedgehog’s diet will dramatically impact its lifespan.

If your hedgehog isn’t getting the necessary vitamins and nutrients from their food there are a number of problems this can cause. Here are the most common ones:

  • Developmental issues
  • A weaker immune system
  • Higher chance of getting diet-related illnesses

While we have a good idea what the best food for your hedgehog is, it’s not an exact science as of yet. Breeders and owners are still tweaking and experimenting with what they feed their hedgies to try and find the optimal nutritional intake.

The best thing you can do is follow the recommendations that the hedgehog community has tested over time, and use common sense when feeding your pet. That will help ensure that your hedgehog has the best chance to live as long as possible.

Amount of exercise

Hedgehogs are naturally very active creatures that need a good amount of exercise to thrive. Hedgehog lifespans can be greatly influenced (positively or negatively) by the amount of activity they get on a daily basis.

This not only helps them thrive physically but mentally as well. We go into the specific effect of stress on hedgehog life expectancy a bit further down, but it’s worth noting the importance of exercise on their stress levels.

In order to help facilitate this, you’ll want to make sure their environment is well-suited for activities. Give them a wheel to run on (hedgehogs are known to run multiple miles on their wheel each day) and some space to play. Toys will also give them something to fuss with and encourage movement as well.

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You can also take them out of their cage to let them explore. The change of scenery and different smells will almost certainly get your hedgehog moving.

whats the average lifespan of a hedgehog
whats the average lifespan of a hedgehog

Bedding quality

Your choice of bedding can impact your hedgehog’s health and in turn, how long they live. This is a commonly overlooked factor but we highly encourage you to take it seriously.

The reason why their bedding can be so important is the fact that for most of their lives they’ll be breathing right next to it for the majority of their lives. Unsafe or suboptimal bedding can quickly become a problem due to the constant and prolonged exposure.

You’ll want to avoid softwood bedding which has been linked to respiratory problems in hedgehogs over time. If your hedgehog has to deal with this for too long it can have a negative impact on their lifespan.

Level of stress

This is another major factor that hedgehogs share with humans. Stress can impact hedgehog lifespans in a major way if unchecked.

If your hedgehog is regularly upset, grumpy, or nervous, that will undoubtedly cause issues in the future. You should always keep an eye on the mood of your hedgehog to make sure they’re happy. If you notice anything out of place it’s on you as the owner to figure out what it is and get it fixed.

Stress can be caused by anything from a noise in your home that’s constantly disturbing their sleep, or the time of day you’re handling them. Fortunately for you, your hedgehog will give you some signs if they’re stressed.

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