Do hedgehogs eat their babies? This is a question that many people have wondered about, but the answer is not as clear-cut as you might think. In this blog post, we will explore the truth behind this question and discuss what happens when hedgehogs give birth. Stay tuned to learn more!
Do hedgehogs eat their babies?
There is no definitive answer to this question as it depends on the specific species of hedgehog and on the circumstances under which the baby hedgehogs are born. In some cases, hedgehogs will cannibalize their young if they are born in a high-stress environment or if there is not enough food to go around. However, in other cases, hedgehogs will care for their young and protect them from predators.
What Do Hedgehogs Eat?
Hedgehogs are insectivores, which means they eat mostly insects. Some of their favorite foods include:
- Fireflies and glowworms
- Bugs like crickets and grasshoppers
- Insect larvae like maggots and grubs (found under bark and in decaying wood)
Are Hedgehogs Carnivores Or Omnivores
The hedgehog is a small mammal that has very unique and distinct features. Unique in the sense that it’s covered with quills; not fur, but sharp spikes that cover its back and face. To help ensure predators know to keep their distance, the hedgehog will roll into a ball when threatened, effectively exposing only the spiky areas of its body.
1. What is a carnivore?
A carnivore is an animal that eats meat. Carnivorous animals have adapted to be able to thrive on a diet of only meat, with the aid of sharp teeth and claws used for ripping through flesh. Their digestive systems are also more suited for breaking down raw meats. Cats are considered carnivores; they are obligate carnivores. This means that the only foods they can digest properly are meats, and there aren’t any other nutritional requirements for their food.
2. What is an omnivore?
An omnivore is an animal that eats both plants and animals. Omnivores have adapted to be able to live on both a diet of meat and on a diet of plants. Their digestive systems are more suited for breaking down raw meats or raw vegetables.
3. What are some foods that hedgehogs eat?
Hedgehogs have an extremely varied diet – they eat insects, worms, frogs, toads, lizards, snakes, slugs, snails, eggs from birds and other animals, as well as fruits and mushrooms.
4. What have been some studies on the hedgehog’s diet?
One study showed that there was a wide variation in what a single hedgehog will eat. Based on an examination of excrement from captured hedgehogs, researchers found chemical signatures of fruits, berries, insects, earthworms, mollusks, and amphibians.
5. What is a key component to being an omnivore?
In order to be considered an omnivore, it’s necessary that the animal eats both plants and meats. There needs to be a dietary requirement for more than one type of food to be able to properly call an animal an omnivore.
6. Does this mean hedgehogs are omnivores?
Hedgehogs were labeled as omnivores because of their ability to eat both meat and plants. However, it’s generally accepted that hedgehogs are actually insectivores – eating insects and other bugs. While they will munch on something like an apple or a mushroom if it’s available, there is no nutritional benefit for them to do so – and it doesn’t make sense to only give them one type of food when there are other options available.
How To Take Care Of A Baby Hedgehog
Baby hedgehogs require a habitat very similar to adults, just smaller in size. A wire-top cage should be provided for baby hedgies or they can be transported in a small travel carrier when necessary. Most experts feel that wire top cages are preferable because they provide ventilation, easy access, and their open nature allows the hedgehog to feel more secure. Since baby hedgehogs are small enough to crawl out of an enclosure if, given the opportunity, it is necessary to prevent them from escaping at all costs!
Hedgehogs should be fed a suitable milk replacement formula designed for infant mammals. A milk replacer specifically formulated for rodents may be used for young hedgehogs. However, it is essential that the product contains the correct balance of protein and fat, which can vary significantly between brands so check your kit’s label or ask your veterinarian before feeding it if you are unsure about any aspect of its nutritional makeup. Some hedgehog breeders prefer to make their own milk replacement formula by boiling a quarter pound of fresh ground beef in one cup of water with egg yolk, bonemeal supplement, and a small bit of Karo syrup. Use this enhanced recipe over the commercial products until the babies are eating well on their own.
3. Milk Replacement Formulas:
You can offer your baby hedgehog some “pinkie” mice (no fur so they are easier to digest) about once weekly until you notice them eating on their own. The author has had good success using frozen pinkies for this purpose when home-prepared food is not available or when shipping or quarantining new hedgehogs. Be sure that all frozen foods are thawed completely before feeding.
Baby hedgehogs should be kept between 65 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit (18-29 degrees Celsius) to ensure proper growth and health. The room the babies are housed in should be draft-free and relatively quiet as nursery-type rooms tend to be. Noises such as the TV, children playing, or even a radio can be annoying to a baby hedgehog so pick a quiet area for them.
5. Quarantine Period:
Since hedgehogs are very susceptible to disease, any new arrivals should go through a quarantine period of at least four weeks before being introduced into your home population. This also applies if you buy two males…they will fight! If you cannot house your new hedgehog(s) alone you may need to place them in an outdoor cage or shop for a quiet room to use as quarantine quarters.
Baby hedgehogs should only be handled every other day during the first three weeks, after which they should begin being handled daily. When picking up your baby hedgehog, hold it around the hips and tuck its head against your body so that it feels safe and secure. You should continue holding them this way until they calm down otherwise they will become stressed. Even adults seem to enjoy being picked up by their hip area…it’s like babysitting!
7. Cage Maintenance:
As with all pets, good housekeeping practices are essential for maintaining a healthy environment. Be sure to spot-clean your hedgehogs’ cages at least once weekly or as needed.
Hedgehogs are nocturnal, so they rest during the day and become active at night. If you have an extra bedroom that can be closed off from activity for a few hours in the evening, then your hedgehog will appreciate having time to play in there under controlled circumstances when you cannot watch it closely. At this age, they do not need exercise wheels inside their cages because they would just fall off anyway!
9. Other Pets:
Since many types of rodents carry parasites harmful to hedgehogs, great care must be taken in housing these animals together. There is a very high risk of parasitic infestation if a hamster, gerbil, rat, mouse, or rabbit has shared a cage with your hedgehog or another rodent. If you still think they would be good playmates, it is advisable to house them in separate cages and rotate them so that each animal gets a rest from the other’s parasites.
The author does not recommend handling young infants daily until they are mobile at about three weeks of age when their spines completely harden into protective quills similar to those of an adult. Before this time, hedgehogs may find it very stressful when handled and may even go into shock which could cause serious problems or death.
Hedgehogs can be quite the surprise when it comes to their parenting skills. While we may not know all of the answers about these spiny creatures, one thing is for sure – they make interesting parents. Do hedgehogs eat their babies? It’s still up for debate, but either way, they are definitely an unusual and fascinating species.