Baby hedgehogs, otherwise known as Hoglets, are born in the summer.
However, with hedgehog numbers declining, it’s a challenging feat to survive to adulthood for these adorable creatures.
In this article, I cover some key information about hedgehog babies. So, next time summer rolls around, you’re better prepared to help baby hedgehogs if you happen upon some in your garden.
So, let’s get started.
When are baby hedgehogs born?
The first litters of hoglets may be found in May, June, and July. Additionally, the second litters are born in August to September.
The average litter is four to five hoglets. While hedgehogs can have bigger litters than this, having a larger litter can reduce the hoglet’s chances of surviving through to adulthood.
When baby hedgehogs are born, they are incredibly small, just 25 grams or one ounce in weight and they have no visible spines.
Hoglets are incredibly vulnerable when they’re born. Not only is this true because they are born blind, but also because their mother may abandon them if their nest is disturbed.
That being said, if you find a nest of hoglets in your garden, you should avoid consistently looking in it as this can cause distress to the mother and subsequently cause her to abandon her babies.
How long are hedgehogs pregnant?
Typically speaking, a female hedgehog is pregnant for around four weeks before giving birth to her litter.
During her pregnancy, the female hedgehog will go about building a nest to nurse her babies. Once the hedgehog babies have been born, the mother will forage and return to feed her young while they are too small to leave the nest.
Following three or four weeks after the hedgehog babies are born, they will begin joining their mother for the foraging trips, which can lead to issues if they become separated.
There are many dangers a baby hedgehog will face in its first few weeks of life, let alone on its journey to maturity. With a challenging life and the odds stacked against them, what are some of the dangers a hedgehog baby will face?
Dangers for hedgehog babies
One of the biggest dangers for hedgehog babies is when their nest is disturbed soon after hoglets are born. In this circumstance, the mother may abandon or even eat her young. However, if a nest is disturbed when the hoglets are a little older, the mother may move them to a new nest.
In the wild, hedgehogs are prey to a variety of predators. Badgers, birds, and foxes are predators adult hedgehogs face in the wild. These predators are a bigger threat for hoglets, and they may also be attacked or injured by cats and dogs in your garden.
Becoming separated from their mother
If hoglets are out with their mother on foraging trips and happen to become separated from her too early, they are likely to lack the skills needed to survive on their own.
Insufficient milk production
During a dry summer, natural resources can become scarce. As a result, the hedgehog mother may struggle to get enough food herself to produce the milk she needs to feed her hedgehog babies.
Tips on how to help hedgehog babies in your garden
Leave out food for hedgehogs
Make sure that there is plenty of food and water left out for the mother in your garden. Providing food and water during periods of dry, hot weather is important as natural resources can become scarce in these conditions.
Be mindful when you’re gardening
You should always be careful when you’re gardening, but especially around the summer months when hedgehogs start having litters. A hoglet could be in your garden and the lawn mower or strimmer is sure to kill them in an instant!
Keep an eye out
Make sure to look out for distressed baby hedgehogs who may have lost their mother.
Very young hedgehogs make a shrill squeaking noise, similar to a baby bird. If you find a baby hedgehog in your garden, be prepared to take responsibility and call someone with the right experience for help.
Call your local veterinarian or hedgehog shelter
Baby hedgehogs are extremely vulnerable creatures, and they need specific care in order to provide them with the best chance of surviving. That being said, if you happen upon a nest of abandoned baby hedgehogs, you should call your local vet or hedgehog rescue immediately to ask for their advice.
What should you do if you find an abandoned baby hedgehog?
In this circumstance, you need to act quickly if the baby hedgehog is to survive. Begin by lining a cardboard box with a soft towel.
Place a hot water bottle inside the box (or a plastic bottle filled with warm water) and wrap it in another towel. Place the hoglet inside of the box so that it remains warm while you seek assistance.
Next, you will need to call your local vet or hedgehog rescue straight away. While rearing a baby hedgehog might seem like a good idea, they have specific needs that need to be taken care of.
That being said, it’s best to seek professional help as you need to prioritize the survival of the baby hedgehog above anything else.
Baby hedgehogs face many trials and tribulations in the wild and need help in their journey to maturity.
You can help by providing baby hedgehogs with food and shelter, making sure that your gardens are safe, and keeping an eye out for hedgehogs in danger.
If you happen to find an abandoned nest of baby hedgehogs, make sure you call your local vet or hedgehog shelter immediately and seek assistance. Rearing hedgehogs yourself is a tricky business as they require specific care and attention, so it’s best to leave it up to the experts.