Hedgehog research and education platform

A litter of 2018

As a beginning breeder it can be difficult to recognize how hedgehogs are begin born and how they grow. Especially since most countries do not condone picking up your hoglets until they are 14 days old, which is absolutely understandable! Most hedgehog mothers, especially first time mothers, are very protective of their young and having your scent on them could trigger the mother to kill and eat them. On the other hand, checking up on them and picking them up could also prevent a lot of issues in regards to mothers who need help or recognizing babies with health issues. This page is solely to let you have some sort of a guideline in their ways of developing from birth to moving out at 8 weeks of age.

In this litter of 2018, a very experienced mother with a very easy attitude towards the owner is used to make the guide. Snow White, to be specific, walks straight out of her nest when she hears her breeder coming into the room and has absolutely nothing against her picking up her hoglets for a quic check, weigh and photo. Because she’s so experienced and shows the same attitude in her litters, we were not that wiery of using her litter to make this page.

* Please note: You should always follow your own countries guidelines to breeding or that of your club/registry. It might have consequences if you do not follow them and touching babies without experience in how to do so or choose the wrong female to do it with, could mean killing an entire litter.

Day 1

We wanted Snow White to have a day of rest before we checked her babies fully. She did walk out of nest the first night, but wasn’t too relaxed yet and still a bit off from delivering her babies. So we let her be for the night, apart from a quick check into the nest if everything was okay. We saw three babies that were happy and healthy and could even spot a small milk tummy! Off to a good start!

Day 2

I waited until about 9 pm before getting ready for the second check-up to make a few quick pictures and weigh the hoglets. Let me start off by stating i made sure not all of the hoglets were gone and i was picking them up seperately, to prevent Snow White from having any worries that her hoglets were gone. Even despite her being a super relaxed mom and walking out of the nest when hearing me enter the room, i don’t want her to be unnecessarily stressed. As long as she hears them squeak in the nest, there’s no issue.

There were three hoglets and when weighing them they turned out to be 8, 10 and 14 grams. All three still had milk tummy’s and were happy and healthy allround. When looking closer to their bodies, knowing they are born blind, bald and deaf, there are already a huge mount of changes going on in the first days! Their quills become visible within the first hour after birth, which is a common known fact. But apart from that…

They have tiny whiskers growing on each side of their noses, which at this point are nothing more than a few tiny, white hairs. Their eyes are visible through their skin and clearly visible that all of them are back eyed or dark ruby.  Their nose is open and clearly working as you can see them move a bit when breathing if you take some time. Their ear flaps are already loosened as well and not sticking to the sides of their heads. They even have destinct feet with tiny, flexible and very sensitive nails. Also, if they have pigment, you can spot some color differences on their skin already and with one of them i could even spot one tiny colored quill already!

Day 3

The hoglets start to drop a bit of weight, due to their growth spurt and the firt mommy milk (colostrum) starting to fade away. They have to drink a lot more to gain weight again and it can take a few days before they do. Usually they cn drop about 2 grams a day for about 1-3 days, before gaining weight again. (These hoglets were 10, 10 and 14 grams today, so didn’t lose and only the smallest hoglet gained weight) These first days, they are growing really fast in size, but also continuesly replace their quills for stronger ones. If you look closely on their backs, you can see the pigment and even a few colored quills coming trough.

Day 4

Today, the hoglets gained weight again! The smalles hoglet gained another 2 grams and has now gotten from 8 to 12 grams. The other two have gained 2 grams so far, being 12 and 16 grams. As like yesterday, they are still growing and replacing their quills. Their whiskers are about twice as long as on day 2 and the nails on their feet are clearly visible now. Also the pigment in their skin is increasing rapidly, making it very easy now to see the patters on their backs. Also it’s visible, their heads are turning less purple and more pink, which indicates that their skull is developing.

Day 5

The hoglets are forming their eyelids slowly and still growing and changing their quills. One of the hoglets has a very clear pattern on its back. Another hoglet has a very small round of color on the back and the third seems to be fully white at this point still. It could still develope a bit of color as they grow older.

Day 6

They are still in the same phase of developement, mainly growing quills, forming their eyelids and ears, developing their skull and generally growing. However, it’s pretty clear now how far they’ve developed over the track of a few days when you look at their bone formation and pigmentation. Also, they seem to have learned how to roll op like a real hedgehog!

Day 7

The navel cords have fallen off! They seem to get a really soft, almost invisible kind of fur on their tummies as well. Their eyelids and ears are still forming as well as their skull. The pigment in their skin and their quills is getting more intense and the difference between a grey and a brown hoglet is getting more and more clear now. Too early to tell if the browner hoglet is cinnamon, brown or something else and if the grey hoglet is a grey, dark grey, black or something else, but the difference in the shade is pretty obvious nevertheless. The biggest hoglet weighs 22 grams now, the other two both weigh 18 grams.

Day 8

They have tiny hairs on their heads now, aside from the whiskers. Their fur on the belly is also slowly developing, although not as visible as on their heads. And taken a picture of their belly to show how it looks now without the navel cord. They eyelids and ears are starting to develope more, as they will open in about a week. And their nails have become visibly bigger as well. A high development rate in just two days time, which probably explains why they haven’t gained weight today. Only the biggest hoglet gained a bit and now weighs 24 grams, whilst the other two are still 18.

Day 9

The hairs on their head are becoming more and more visible and the nails are becoming stronger as well. Not really uch has changed apart from that, but did al did gain 2 grams extra today!

Day 10

The changes today are primarily behavioural changes instead of visible changes! They’ve learned to anoint today and they all can ball up now too! They are getting more active and are wiggling around much more. Another 2 grams added to all three of them as well.

Day 11

Today, i’ve seen them change a few quills again and replacing them for bigger quills with a better color pigment. They are quite grumpy and haven’t gained much at all. The biggest hoglet even dropped 2 grams!

Day 12

They’ve grown massively since yesterday! The smaller hoglets have grown past their bigger sister now, with the smaller hoglets weighing 32 and the biggest hoglet weighing 30 grams. Still all a perfect weight, though! Their eyelids have developed some more and the ears are getting into shape as well, preparing for the big day to be able to hear sounds and look around!

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