If you have a pet hedgehog that’s recently given birth to hoglets you may be wanting to know when the hoglets or baby hedgehogs are weaned?
Even though the weaning process will vary from litter to litter, we have researched the thoughts and opinions of many experts and veterinarians to bring you the most accurate answer possible.
So when are hedgehogs weaned? Baby hedgehogs or hoglets most commonly start the weaning process at around 4 weeks old and they are usually fully weaned by the time they reach 6 weeks old. This time frame can obviously differ slightly from litter to litter.
Read on to learn…
When Are Hedgehogs Weaned (More Info)
As we mentioned above, after researching many vegetarians we found that most baby hedgehogs or hoglets start the weaning process at around 4 weeks old.
This process usually takes around 2 weeks to complete and the hoglet should be fully weaned somewhere around the 6 weeks mark.
This is just an average and individual litters and hedgehogs can be weaned both earlier and later than this number.
Live Science states that hedgehogs in the wild can be on their own as early as 4 weeks old and as late as 7 weeks old, which backs up our thoughts that the weaning process can vary greatly depending on individual circumstances.
Are All Hedgehogs Successfully Weaned?
It can be great to see a litter of hoglets successfully weaned, raised and finally allowed to become independent hedgehogs that can look after themselves.
Unfortunately, not all hoglets will make it to the 6-8 weeks old mark and are successfully weaned.
Usually, only around 50% – 60% will survive and be weaned successfully by the mother.
There are many reasons why so many baby hedgehogs die from birth to the end of the weaning process.
One of the reasons is because sometimes the mother will eat some of her babies. As barbaric as this may seem, it’s a natural process that can help to save the rest of the litter.
What Does a Hedgehog Eat While It’s Being Weaned?
In the wild, a hedgehog will consume its mother’s milk whilst it’s being weaned.
The hoglets will also go out on foraging trips each night and learn how to find food in the form of insects, worms and more.
At around 3 weeks old baby hedgehogs will start to grow teeth and this will gradually become more and more painful for the mother when they are feeding.
As the babies near 6 weeks old, the mother may start to reject them as feeding can become very painful. This will force the hoglets to mainly if not fully eat food that they find while foraging such as the worms and insects we mentioned above.
Hedgehogs in captivity will again drink their mother’s milk at the beginning of the weaning process.
As the owner, you will need to gradually start to add solid foods over the next couple of weeks to allow the weaning process to happen.
There are different diets and methods to feeding hoglets that are weaning, however, we have included a guide to help you below…
4 Weeks – Start to liquidise some puppy meat with some formula such as ‘Esbilac milk formula’ and feed this to your hedgehog as it will be easier on their stomach and growing teeth.
5 Weeks – keep offering the same foods as week 4
6 – 7 Weeks – Now it’s time to feer thinned puppy food and a bowl of shallow water.
8 Weeks – Now you should be able to offer your hedgehog either cat or god food without it being thinned as well as continuing to provide a fresh bowl of shallow water each day.
What Does a Hedgehog Eat After It’s Weaned?
In the wild, once a hedgehog is weaned it can eat a whole variety of foods.
Some of the live food that hedgehogs eat can be quite jaw-dropping, to say the least.
Apart from eating a small amount of fruit and vegetables and the obvious insects such as worms, wild hedgehogs can eat lizards, frogs, small mammals and even snakes! Source:
In captivity, your pet hedgehog doesn’t need to eat such a wide selection of pray to be healthy, although you do need to carefully select their diet as captive hedgehogs are known to become obese very easily.
Both dog and cat meats are widely used and recommended by lots of owners, however, we strongly recommend that you use food that’s specifically designed for hedgehogs.
Hedgehogs foods supply your hedgie with the nutrients they need to be healthy and are easily the best option in our opinion.
You can see which hedgehog foods we recommend in our guide here, this will allow you to save both money and time when looking for high-quality food for your hedgie.
One other thing that’s worth mentioning is that you need to provide your hedgehog with fresh food and water daily. This is very important according to Pet-MD
How to Wean a Wild Hedgehog With No Mother
There may be some circumstances where you need to hand feed and wean a hedgehog.
This could be a hedgehog that you’ve found in your garden/yard or a pet hedgehog in captivity.
Below is a straight forward guide weaning a hedgehog courtesy of hedgehog-rescue.org.uk
First – You will need the following in order to feed your hedgehog efficiently…
- Esbilac milk formula (don’t use cows milk)
- Food warmer (must be fed a body temperature)
- Sterile syringe (1m, 5m 10m depending on feed size)
- Short piece of sterile rubber tube such as Catac Teat ST1
- Steriliser to clean equipment
- Fennel tea bags
The milk powder needs to be mixed well in order for it to dissolve and the fennel tea helps to make it up as well as helping with bloating issues that may occur.
Birth to 3 Days Old – 1-2 mil of the milk substitute every 2 hours
3 Days to 1 Week – 1-2 mil every 3 hours with the last feed between 12pm to 2am
1-2 Weeks – 2-3 mil of formula every 3 hours
2-3 Weeks – 3-5 mil of formula every 3-4 hours
3 Weeks – 5-6 mils every 3-4 hours and leave a small dish with feed in to encourage the baby to lap the formula
4 Weeks – liquidize some puppy food and mix it with the formula.
5-6 Weeks – Time to phase out hand feeding and offer the liquidised puppy meat and milk formula in a bowl
6-8 Weeks – Offer thinned puppy meat and a shallow bowl of water
8 Weeks + – Now you can offer either dog or cat food
Please note that Hedgehog Rescue states that hedgehogs are not easy to wean and help may be needed for a vet or other animal care professional.
Other things to note are that you should never try to feed a hedgehog while it’s on it’s back as this can cause it to drown if too much formula is inhaled.
It’s advised to put the syringe or rubber tube under the hedgehog’s lip and squeeze out just a drop of the milk.
Some hedgehogs will try and guzzle the milk and others will take longer to understand and get the hand of the process.
It’s important to take it slow and let them feed at their own pace.
We strongly advise that you get advice from your vet before attempting to feed and wean a newborn hedgehog.
Once a Hedgehog Is Weaned, How Long Before It’s Considered An Adult?
Once a hedgehog is successfully weaned, it quickly grows up and becomes an adult.
By the time a hedgehog is 6 months old, it will be fully grown and also considered an adult.
This means that if a hedgehog is 6 weeks old once it’s weaned then it will be an adult and fully grown only a short 18 weeks later.
At birth, hedgehogs can weigh as little as 3g and it’s quite remarkable that in 6 months African pygmy hedgehogs can weigh around 450g and European hedgehogs can weigh up to 780g.
You can find out exactly how big African pygmy hedgehogs get and how much they weigh compared to other hedgehogs you can check out our guide with charts here…