Hedgehog Labor Signs And Pregnancy Signs
If you’re suspecting your hedgehog to be pregnant, it’s important to be well informed on what goes on during their pregnancy. It’s even more important to be able to recognise the hedgehog labor signs such as laying on their side and laboured breathing. Although, the hedgehog will most likely give birth during the night, it’s still important to be prepared.
Hedgehog Pregnancy Process
Other than the hedgehog labor signs, it’s also important to get familiar with the whole pregnancy process steps such as:
- When do hedgehogs give birth
- How long are hedgehogs pregnant for
- Pregnancy symptoms
- Hedgehog labor signs
- Birthing process
- After labor hedgehog care
When Do Hedgehogs Give Birth?
Normally, hedgehogs will give birth in the summer months of June and July. This way the hoglet season can start early spring and go on until autumn, all grown up and ready for winter.
How Long Are Hedgehogs Pregnant For?
Usually, the female hedgehog’s pregnancy lasts between 32-36 days. However, if the weather is too cold, it can trigger hibernation for the female and subsequently the pregnancy will be extended. If this happens the baby’s birth is put on hold until the mother comes out of hibernation.
It’s well known that is very difficult to tell if a hedgehog is pregnant. This is because most of the symptoms on their own don’t mean anything. Some of the pregnancy signs include change in:
- Weight (gain)
- Eating habits
- Energy levels
However, one of the most telling signs of pregnancy in hedgehogs is when the mother starts building a nursery nest.
The nursery nest looks like the hide where the hedgehog would normally spend time during hibernation or winter. The main difference is that the nursery nest is bigger. This is to provide enough room for the newborns.
Another difference is that the hibernation hide is normally built with leaves, whereas the nursery nest would be made our of random bits such as paper and whatever else they can find.
In some cases, there won’t be any hedgehog pregnancy signs and you can end up being surprised by a littler of hoglets.
A common hedgehog pregnancy sign is weight gain. Gaining weight during pregnancy is normal in hedgehogs as it is in humans. If you’ve been keeping track of your hedgehog’s weight, you’d be easily able to tell if she’s gained weight.
However, in some cases the weight gain can be quite steady with the belly starting to get bigger and rounder only in the last week of pregnancy.
If you haven’t been weighing your hedgehog but are planning on breeding, ensure you weigh her before pairing up with the male.
Another hedgehog pregnancy sign is change in behaviour. The pregnant female hedgehog is more likely to come out during the day instead of at night. Another change in their behaviour is when the female starts building a nursery nest. She does that by gathering up her bedding and creating a nest for her babies.
A hedgehog pregnancy sign to look out for is change in their eating habits. The pregnant female hedgehog will start eating her meals quicker than usual, always looking out for more food. She’ll also be eating larger amounts.
Another change in their eating routing is what time they eat. The pregnant hedgehog will come out to eat in the middle of the day.
You’ll start noticing these changes in eating habits around day 3 or 5.
Changes In Poop
Another easy to notice hedgehog pregnancy signs is change in their pooping habits. A pregnant hedgehog’s poop will look different than usual such as:
- Stronger smell
- Different than their usual poop
Changes In Appearance
As already mentioned the belly will get rounder during pregnancy. To confirm this, you can inspect your hedgehog very gently by picking her up and touching her belly using only one finger. If you’re lucky, you’d be able to feel a lump that is not present in other hedgehogs.
Another change in the appearance of a pregnant hedgehogs are enlarged nipples, also known as teats.
The last pregnancy sign we are looking at is lethargy. Although, a pregnant hedgehog will keep busy biking a nest, she will still display signs of lethargy such as less time playing with her toys or going on her wheel.
Unusual lazy behaviour, especially when it’s paired up with any of the other symptoms mentioned can be a sign of pregnancy.
Hedgehog Labour Signs
It’s extremely important to be able to recognize hedgehog labour signs as once the hedgehog is close to giving birth, you should stay away from her cage and give her space. If you are interested in how the birth goes, you can attached a camera from above and connect to your computer or smart phone.
But how would you know that your hedgehog is close to giving birth? Well, nearer to her due date, her cage might smell particularly bad . This is mainly due to her urine’s smell becoming stronger and sharper.
And what about hedgehog labor signs? As there aren’t many reports describing hedgehog labor, there isn’t ton of information online about it. However, the hedgehog labor signs that are well known include the pose the hedgehog takes just before giving birth such as:
- Laying on one side
- Laying on her belly. If she’s laid on her belly her front paws will be extended and her bottom will be raised in the air
- She can be standing with her back legs apart
Other hedgehog labor signs include the future mother constantly licking her genitals, whilst her body is shaking from the contractions and she’s breathing heavily. In some cases you might observe hedgehog labor signs such as juddering or shivering sounds.
When a female hedgehog goes into labor, she will be very uncomfortable. However, don’t worry as this is a natural process.
When caring for a pregnant hedgehog, you might have questions about the birthing process such as how long it takes, does it hurt and if you need to assist your hedgehog in any way. The good news is that the hedgehog does all the hard work and you don’t have to do anything.
Normally, the mother will give birth during the night.
When getting born, the newborn hedgehog can come out either tail first or head first – both are normal. This is because of the fluid-filled tissue.
As soon as the baby comes out, the mother will start licking off the placenta and any other bits to get it clean.
How Long Does It Take For A Hedgehog to Give Birth?
How long it takes for your hedgehog to giving birth depends on the individual hedgehog and the size of the litter she’s giving birth to.
In some cases, a hedgehog can give birth in just a few minutes. Some reports say that it can take up to 2 minutes per baby in the best case. However, other times it can take up to few hours! Ouch!
Is Labor Painful For Hedgehogs?
Like any other birth, you should expect for the mother to be in pain during the process and unlike us humans, hedgehogs don’t have access to medications to ease their pain. The babies get born with small spines. However, those don’t hurt the mother because they are under the skin and protected by the fluid-filled tissue.
Overall, you shouldn’t worry about the pain as hedgehogs are hardy animals and this is a natural process that they are built for.
After Labor Care
After the mother has given birth, she will consume the placenta, lick the babies clean and keep them close to her for the next 24 hours.
It’s essential you don’t disturb the mother for at least a week. If she’s stressed after birth, there’s a risk of rejecting the babies or even eating them! Furthermore, the baby hoglets shouldn’t be handled in the first week for the same exact reason.
To learn how to look after a baby hedgehog in case they get rejected by the mother, read the full guide her How To Look After A Baby Hedgehog – Step By Step Guide
Female hedgehogs are hardy animals as they have to go through birthing a litter of up to 6 hoglets and unlike us humans, she doesn’t get any help! As there isn’t too much information about the hedging labor signs or birthing process online, we have gathered everything you need in this guide.
We discussed the pregnancy signs to look out for in a hedgehog such as foul smelling poop (more than normal), sleeping more, playing less with her toys and building a nest for her future babies.
We also highlighted the importance of giving the mother space and not handling her during the pregnancy. Stress can cause problems for the mother and the babies.
And lastly, we discussed the hedgehog labor signs to keep an eye out such as shaking of the boys, licking her genitals and bracing for birth by either spreading laying on her side or on her belly with her front paws and back paws with her rear end raised.
Related Questions Q&A
What Baby Hedgehogs Look Like After They Are Born?
Newborn baby hoglets are:
- Blind and deaf at first
- 10 to 30 grams in weight
- Length – 1.9 to 2.7 inches long
- Skin color is pink
- No spines. However, within a day, the spines will start appearing
How Many Baby Hedgehogs Are Born At Once?
Normally, the average hedgehog litter consist of 3 to 4 hoglets. Whereas, the biggest litters can be up to 6 hoglets.