There are also a lot of problems with reproduction. Of course you want to prevent them as much as possible, but not everything is that easy and it is not always possible to prevent it. That is why this part of the page is designed for all occurring problems, their causes and consequences. Then as a breeder you immediately know what to look out for and what to do if it does happen.
Most of the problems are very unpleasant to see, so we do not post shocking photos and videos in this part of the website. But above all, read it carefully.
Problems in advance
Mother to son, father to daughter. These are usually the thoughts that you as a novice breeder have about the story about incest or inbreeding. But although those combinations are part of it, the story goes even further. A woman who only has two parents in a pedigree after three generations is still inbreed and can still cause major problems. You prefer to have a pedigree as long as possible, so that you can calculate the inbreeding as accurately as possible. It starts with the fact that the combination mother x son, father x daughter and brother x sister has 50% inbreeding. Niece x cousin is 25% and so on. Only below 2% is it accepted among breeders to practice inbreeding and it is in principle “safe”, although problems can always arise. We call line breeding below 2% inbreeding. That is the limit to which it is accepted accepted. The problems that arise with inbreeding are different, but often these are hereditary defects that must always be seen by a vet if the young survive.
The closer to 0% inbreeding, the better it is and the less problems in general, provided you keep a good selection. Although the occasional litter with line breeding can also ensure good, strong and healthy lines and is therefore certainly not always wrong. But as a beginner you better not do it.
No chemistry while pairing
When mating a male and female, there may be no click and the female keeps running away. Usually she will enter after a few hours and a mating takes place, but it may also not happen. In itself this does not cause too many problems, other than that the woman does not become pregnant. However, it usually has to do with another issue that is causing her not to want to be covered. It could be due to stress, but it could also be due to health problems. In such a case, it is best to try one more time after two weeks of rest and if she doesn’t want to, a check by a vet might be useful. But it could also be that she simply does not click with the man and will never let him mate. Then it may be that with another man it works right away.
Man stays stuck during mating
It may happen that a man gets stuck with his penis in the woman’s vulva during mating. In almost all cases this ends with a bloody outcome and an amputation of the genitals by a veterinarian is necessary. And in most cases this is very easy to prevent. The man must have a good weight (minimum 300 grams, preferably above 320 grams) and not be used too young (at least 4 months).
Male injured while mating
Injuries while mating or mating are also common. The female may have had enough of mating attempts and attack instead of running away. But it could also be that the man is busy with the cover and the woman keeps running. The man will then bite into the spines and will try with his front legs to find even more grip in the spines. Both the legs and the mouth can then be severely damaged. However, this usually goes well and you can treat any wounds with a bath with biotex or natural soda. This keeps the wound clean and you can easily avoid inflammation. This is very stinging and is very uncomfortable for them. So always keep an eye out during mating!
Problems during gestation
Once the woman is pregnant, she may gain weight for a long time and then suddenly drop and nothing happens. Most of the time the fetuses will be absorbed and they will become slower and sometimes very ill. Checking by a vet is useful to see if there are still little ones in her stomach that are still alive or if she is really completely empty and the body is processing. It could also be that she has had or is going to have a miscarriage. Then you will see blood in her vulva and in the sawdust (see photo) and you may even see small fetuses. In this case it is necessary to consult a veterinarian to avoid further problems.
With a uterine infection before, during or after pregnancy you will notice that the vulva is set, red and sometimes loses blood. The woman may also show that she is in pain and / or avoid suckling the boy. Always take this to a vet!
Should the inflammation be over, there are two options left to reduce or prevent recurrence altogether. Prevention can be done by having the woman neutered and removing the uterus. However, operations are always a high risk in such small animals. The other option is to have a nest as soon as possible, with or without a short break. Of course, this sounds very illogical, but a new pregnancy will completely cleanse the uterus by the body and thus also reduce the risk of new infections. Of course, do not do this when the lady is over 12 months old, you have no experience with nesting and / or it would be her first litter. This option is really only reserved for experienced breeders. You can also let it run its course after the treatment, but keep in mind that the chance of recurrence will remain.
If the female is not heavy enough for a litter (at least 350 grams), she can have serious problems during pregnancy. This too can be a cause for an absorption or miscarriage, but there is more. She may endure pregnancy, but eventually dies herself because the young in the womb take away all the nutrients and energy. Rather a hedgehog that is a little too fat and pregnant than a little too thin. They badly need the reserves for pregnancy and lactation. So feed her kitten food in time (already during the two weeks of coupling) and feed varied!
If the man or woman does the cover too early (woman at least 6 months old, men at least 4 months old), the above problems can also occur. The body is still busy growing, but also has to put energy into the development of the boy. In this case, even kitten food and a varied complementary diet are not sufficient and the risk of death of the mother is very high. In men you will notice that they suddenly lose up to 100 grams of weight due to the premature mating, where it is normally a few dozen (up to 40 grams). This can also become fatal to the man or at least lead to serious growth complications.
Bad genes/weak lines
Sometimes you have combinations of parents who do not respond well to each other and cause problems. These can be anything from underdeveloped and / or deformed young to serious health problems. A weak line with animals that more often have minor problems also have a higher risk of these types of problems. Making good inquiries with the breeders of the parent animals and checking the health of your own animals yourself makes a big difference in this.
Problems during childbirth
Premature labor can sometimes occur. It is often caused by stress or illness, but it can also be due to a genetic defect in the color (lethal factor). The first factors can easily be prevented by maintaining good hygiene and not handling the pregnant hedgehog too much during pregnancy and not disturbing the nest built, even while there are no young ones yet.
A lethal factor is less easy to prevent, because genetics is not yet well known and it has not yet been investigated whether there are defects. A lethal factor occurs in genes that are healthy with one allele, but give young in two alleles that are born early with a miscarriage or do not grow after delivery and die within two weeks. Sometimes it also happens that a lethal factor causes deformed youngsters, youngsters who remain deaf / blind or have a strong growth delay and develop many health problems at a later age.
After the birth of a young or more young, the amniotic sac remains in the uterus. Within minutes to hours, these sacs and blood vessels separate from the uterine wall and are squeezed out. We call this the afterbirth. Sometimes, however, it happens that these parts do not detach properly from the uterine wall. This is very dangerous, because then there is a gene afterbirth and the uterus becomes irritated or even inflamed. This is called uterine inflammation or “UI” for short.
A uterine infection can be life-threatening for a hedgehog if not taken timely. While it is not recommended to disturb the mother after delivery, you can lure her out of her nest and check her briefly. The vulva must be clean after childbirth, so free of pus, blood and amniotic fluid. If you do discover something, go to a vet immediately and have the inflammation treated with an antibiotic treatment. She may not feed the young after this, but as a breeder it is the rule of thumb to always put the mother above the young. This means that you will have to feed the young yourself. Sometimes, however, it also just goes well and the mother can just keep on suckling.
Sometimes deformed young are born. A leg that is missing or shorter, a curvature in the back or worse .. This is often the result of inbreeding and weak lines. Often these boys do not make it or they get a lot of pain and discomfort later in life because of their disability. It is best to euthanize these youngsters immediately and to stop using the parents to breed, to prevent recurrence.
Litters where young are still born often do not have very specific causes. Sometimes it’s because of poor lines, sometimes because the mother doesn’t get enough nutrients during pregnancy, because lethal hereditary factors are involved. Usually there is not much that can be done and every breeder experiences it regularly. White-bellied cones are simply not stable in health and the mother usually determines whether young are healthy and strong enough to continue to live.
So you cannot do much with it, but it is important to be prepared for this. You can come across their half-eaten bodies. If you come across these, it is important that you remove them in time before they start to mold. This eating by the mother is harmless, very natural and even very good for her. This way she gets some extra energy to raise the rest of the young.
Hoglet stays hooked/bumped
A young that gets stuck or in the breech position during birth can cause serious problems. They block the birth canal and if timely action is not taken, they can die. Also youngsters who are supposed to be born after them will be left behind and also die. Logically, the mother is in extreme pain and will lose a lot of blood. Because the birth canal remains open, she continues to push constantly to get the young out and she can die from the exhaustion and pain. If she survives, she is still more susceptible to inflammation, which can lead to life-threatening uterine inflammation. If you notice that a pup is stuck in the birth canal or a pup gets stuck in a breech position or takes a lot of effort to squeeze out, call a vet so quickly.
Also in this case, if the mother dies and she has already given birth to young, they will have to be fed by hand.
Hips are grown together
When a female hedgehog is more than one year old, the hips start to draw together and eventually grow together. If she then becomes pregnant, there will not be much going on during pregnancy, but once labor is initiated, the situation is life-threatening. Due to the hips growing together or too close, depending on age, the young cannot pass through the birth canal and will die. The mother giving birth will constantly push and try to push the boy through the birth canal and becomes so exhausted that she will die. The only way to eat this safely and properly is through an early Caesarean section, even before the actual delivery is initiated. However, because White Belly Cones are very sensitive and very small, this is also very risky.
There is only one way to avoid a situation like this: Always pair a lady before she turns one year old. Preferably between the ages of 6 and 11 months.
Problems after childbirth
Mom passed away
Sometimes it happens that a mother dies, for whatever reason. The young are then left alone, you with great grief for the mother and often there is no other mother present who can take care of the boy. You will then have to raise the young yourself to prevent them from dying.
It happens more often, a young that lags behind in growth and may even develop other health problems. White-bellied cones are anything but stable, partly due to the inbreeding that was previously used to make a large population in captivity. Avoiding inbreeding helps, but not always. What you can do with this guy to help them live a good life varies from case to case. The one young suffers from an adjusted diet or accommodation, while the other dies at an extremely early age or is put to sleep because it is not feasible to let them live in a way without too much suffering.
Vulva keeps bleeding after childbirth
If the vulva continues to bleed after giving birth, blood vessels may be ruptured in the uterus. This is very dangerous for the mother. It can become infected (Uterine infection or UI) and the combination with often severe blood loss can kill the mother, leaving the young alone. A quick check after the delivery really does not hurt, as long as it is done discreetly. Don’t drag houses and don’t pick up a boy, just take a quick look to see if everything is going well is enough. If action is required, you will see this soon enough.
If it happens, pick up the mother and young and see an experienced vet as soon as possible! Closing up yourself often has the opposite effect and is life-threatening for the mother. It is possible that the mother will bite the young from the stress, but as a breeder there is only one thing here: mother for the young! Be well prepared for these kinds of moments, because as a breeder you will certainly experience them.
Hoglets are injured/killed
It happens more often than not: fry are bitten to death or half-eaten while they are still alive. The appearance is horrible, but often there is a logical explanation for it. Mothers who are too stressed bite their young to death before cleaning them up. Mothers who eat their young lives are often deficient or the young are sick or weak. But there are plenty of options to rule out stress and thus avoid that reason. Provide enough nesting material prior to giving birth (a few days) so she can build a nest. After the delivery, make sure you quickly check whether everything is going well and not disturb the mother and children too much. If mother indicates that she is not fond of your visits: leave them alone! One hedgehog will be easier at this than another. There is little you can do about youngsters who are still alive while they are half eaten: only go to a vet if you think that they will not die of the pain and the bleeding before then, to put them out of their misery sooner.