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It’s often said that wild hedgehogs in the UK live for 2 – 3 years on average. This is true as far as it goes. But it’s really just a headline statistic, and as with so many things, the devil’s in the detail. When we look at the detail of how long hedgehogs live we\ll see a much more complex picture. And we’ll start to understand why our support for hedgehogs, particularly autumn juveniles, is so essential for the future of hedgehogs in the UK.

When we think about how long humans live, lots of us will think of the “Three score years and ten” or 70, quoted in the bible. Natural causes kill many young wild animals, but hedgehogs suffer significantly from human activity too. For example, one reason they are unlikely to survive to this age is that they will be unable to eat, with teeth worn down from years of chewing gritty food. A study by Sophie Lund Rasmussen for the University of Southern Denmark autopsied 700 wild hedgehogs. Wildlife online cites another study where a female European Hedgehog kept in captivity lived to be 15 years old. He found that although stillbirths in hedgehogs are relatively low at around 3%, one in five hoglets don’t make it out of the nest. Once they are past their first winter, things improve dramatically with the death rate declining by about 30% for each additional year of life. But along with the challenges presented by nature, hedgehogs (and every other creature on the planet) now face a whole range of life threats created by man. In Sweden, Hans Kristiansson found that on average 33% of hedgehogs die during hibernation every year. The figure varies a lot depending on the climate, the weather in the preceding summer and the severity of the winter. And several studies have shown that hedgehogs in New Zealand who don’t hibernate live roughly twice as long as the same species of hog in the UK and Europe who do. Mothers too, especially those who have had a late litter, can struggle to get back up to a good weight after weaning hoglets. But in a long cold winter, even the fittest and fattest hogs can face challenges if the hibernation period becomes extended. A dry summer can result in a scarcity of food that may not threaten hogs whilst they are active but could cause problems come hibernation time. Providing additional food and water for hedgehogs in our gardens can help them to survive hibernation. There’s also evidence of a phenomenon called “nibbling” which hedgehogs are found with wounds in their skin and patches of short of missing spines. This is thought to be caused when hibernating hedgehogs are pecked at by magpies or nibbled by rats or mice. Hedgehog houses offer protection from larger mammals and birds but probably wouldn’t stop nibbling by rats or mice. These nests are often flimsily constructed and poorly sited affairs which are unlikely to protect the hedgehog through the winter. We know that most hedgehog houses are occupied by young hogs during hibernation, and there can be little doubt that these will help with survival. Whilst many of these are not fatal when present at a low level, if the parasite load on an animal becomes high, it’s always a cause for concern. Gas develops and gathers under the skin, so that the hedgehog blows up, like a balloon and sometimes to the size of a football. The legs are forced out to the sides, the hedgehog can’t walk and will eventually suffocate if not treated. Pop Off is a prolapse of the orbicularis muscle which stops the hedgehog from curling up and can therefore be very dangerous. Human Related Damage Hedgehog rescuers report that 80% or more of hogs brought to them are injured or dying through “human-related” conditions. Political pressure for the inclusion of wildlife bridges and tunnels in new road schemes is one way. Garden netting, string and wire and stuff like tin cans or old yoghurt pots are prime suspects. Foods high in phosphates interfere with the hedgehogs’ ability to process calcium and can lead to bone disease. There are of course a whole host of other problems which we humans cause for hedgehogs, for the full run down take a look at this article . But added to those dangers, hundreds of thousands of UK hedgehogs are dying early each year from “man made” causes.

How long do hedgehogs live as a pet?

Dr. Keller says, “With appropriate care and keeping, your hedgehog will live about five years, and some even live longer than eight years.” If you have any questions about hedgehogs, contact your local veterinarian.

Can hedgehogs live for 10 years?

Hedgehogs can live up to 10 years in captivity, but those hedgehogs are few and far between. A 10-year-old hedgehog would be as rare as 104-year-old grandma. Some believe the hybridization of the Algerian and White Bellied species resulted in a more resilient hedgehog that lived longer.

Are hedgehogs a good pet?

Pet hedgehogs are quiet, active, entertaining, and require a lot of care. They make great companion pets, however, as nocturnal animals, you will need to feed and care for them in the evening hours.

I wanted to find out how long hedgehogs live for as pets on average. As well as whether I could influence the lifespan by adopting strategies to prolong their life.

Some hedgehogs do live longer but generally at around the age of 3, diseases like cancers are common, affecting the mouth, digestive tract including the stomach. Other diseases like Wobbly Hedgehog Syndrome (WHS) can also limit their lifespan, as this is a degenerative neurological condition with no cure. Hedgehogs are prone to cancer, where sarcoma type tumors, normally appear around the mouth and face, quickly spreading around the body and causing extensive damage to their organs. Once the tumor starts spreading, the prognosis for the hedgehog is grave and within 2-3 months they struggle to feed themselves, stand, curl up and even keep their spines erect. Ahedgehog’s lifespan can be limited to illnesses and symptoms can include weight loss to them eating less, changes in their stools to swelling around their body especially in their face and mouth. Hedgehogs live longer as pets than in the wild, where natural predators are the biggest cause of premature death. This then leads to quadriplegia or tetraplegia where the hedgehog suffers total or partial loss of use of the torso and limbs. Other possible causes include exaggerated reaction to dietary changes, genetic predisposition or previous parasitic and infectious diseases. While the thought of brushing your hedgehog’s teeth may sound somewhat weird, it doesn’t necessarily mean you shouldn’t do it. Note that calculus, tartar and plaque refer to the brown or black stuff stuck on your hedgehog’s teeth. Leaving any dental condition affecting the gum-line untreated opens an easy path for infection to all major organs in the hedgehog’s body. Bladder tumors and kidney infections are other examples of disease that can affect a hedgehog’s urinary tract. Metabolic Bone Disease or MDB in short, is a crippling and agonizing condition that mainly affects European and African Pygmy hedgehogs. Despite the agony and pain though, the hedgehog’s survival instincts will kick in and force it to keep on moving in a bid to find water and food. There are several signs you may need to be on the lookout for anytime you suspect your hedgehog is suffering from a blood infection. Immobility, high breathing rate, lethargy and odd behavior all stand out as symptoms of a blood infection in hedgehogs. Early intervention with prescribed antibiotics is recommended when it comes to treating blood infections in hedgehogs. The use of pliers or tweezers can apply pressure on a tick’s abdomen and force infected blood back into the host hedgehog . Demodex erinacei mite infect hair follicles of both African Pygmy and European hedgehogs, but generally do not cause serious harm. Keep in mind though that while many different forms of fungal infections like Histoplasma, Candida albicans , Torulopsis , Emmonsia and Rhodotorula affect hedgehogs, ringworms stand out as the most prevalent . Either way, symptoms of ringworm infestation in hedgehogs include spine loss, clumps on the skin and extremely dry and swollen ears. Hedgehogs can be hosts to many different parasitic worm species including cestodes, nematodes, acanthocephaids and trematodes. This has quite a lot to do with the fact that hedgehogs in urban areas grapple with higher densities as well as increased contact with other parasite carrying species. Over and beyond feeding it well though, lies yet another fact – that vet care and attention is a necessity for any hedgehog to enjoy optimum health.

Well-cared for domestic hedgehogs live considerably longer than their wild cousins. In the wild, these small insect-eating animals seldom live beyond the age of 3 years. Although you shouldn’t bring a baby hedgehog home before he reaches the age of 6 weeks, a young hedgehog is more likely to bond with his owner than an older animal.

In order for him to reach that average life span, you’ll need to provide him with a proper diet, housing and care. If a commercial hedgehog diet is not available in your local pet store, a low-fat, dry cat food formula can fill the bill. He should also receive regular samplings of mealworms, cooked meat, vegetables, fruits and crickets.

Typically, pet hedgehogs live between 3-6 years, although the averages can span anywhere between 2-8 years. Estimates do vary by sources, but we’ve found that 3-6 years seems to be the safest bet.

Every single species in this planet have different life expectancy, and most of the times, based on their own habitat and metabolism. On the hedgehog side, the breed, living conditions, and any preexisting illnesses are also strong factors to reduce it. In the wild, hedgehogs are much more susceptible to harsh weather conditions, predators, and injury than they are in domestication. You can boost the chances that you hedgehog live the healthiest and longest life possible by making sure:

How Long Do Hedgehogs Live?

It’s complicated. Although the average life expectancy of a wild hedgehog in the UK is 2-3 years, hedgehogs certainly aren’t old at 3 years.But hang on, how do you even tell how old a hedgehog is? They don’t come with birth certificates, after all.

How Do You Tell How Old a Hedgehog is?

Figuring out how old hedgehogs are is the first step in calculating how long they are living for.There are several methods, For long term studies of hedgehog populations, it’s possible to mark the hogs so that you can see how many of last years hogs are turning up the following year, and so on.This is a bit of an imperfect method. You can’t assume that hedgehogs who don’t appear this next year have died, you could just have failed to spot them.There are changes to membranes in the eyes as hedgehogs age, changes to cartilage in the legs and many older hogs take on a gingery tinge. But none of these is really an accurate method.The most accurate method we have is described by Pat Morris. It involves looking at sections of the jawbones of dead hedgehogs. The bone grows each year during the spring and summer, but then growth slows and stops during hibernation. This creates a pattern of growth rings in the bone, just like those in a tree. With each ring representing a year of life. The method still isn’t perfect. Pregnancy can disrupt the growth rings, so can failure to hibernate. But this method allows us to make some reasonably accurate estimates about how long hedgehogs are living.

What is Old for a Hedgehog?

When we think about how long humans live, lots of us will think of the “Three score years and ten” or 70, quoted in the bible. So for many centuries, 70 was considered to be about how long people lived. This was the case even back in the days when the vast majority of people didn’t make it past 50. But still, 70 was seen as a good age, 70 was OLD.So let’s start by looking at what’s old for a hedgehog.Though the average lifespan for a hedgehog is 2-3 years, hedgehogs certainly aren’t old at 2 or 3. Pat Morris tells us that hedgehogs only start to be old at 5 years.In the UK 4 hedgehogs in 1000 make it past the age of seven, and maybe one in 10,000 makes it to 10 years old.Morris explains that by ten years hedgehogs really are suffering the effects of old age. For example, one reason they are unlikely to survive to this age is that they will be unable to eat, with teeth worn down from years of chewing gritty food.A study by Sophie Lund Rasmussen for the University of Southern Denmark autopsied 700 wild hedgehogs. One was found to be 16 years old, another 13 and several were aged between 9 and 11 at the time of death. And yet the average age of the 700 was only 2 years.Wildlife online cites another study where a female European Hedgehog kept in captivity lived to be 15 years old.So we can see that in a perfect world, our hedgehogs have the potential to live to a ripe old age. So why are we seeing such a low average life expectancy?

When Do Hedgehogs Die?

Pat Morris’ 1976 study is still the benchmark for when hedgehogs die. He found that although stillbirths in hedgehogs are relatively low at around 3%, one in five hoglets don’t make it out of the nest. He found a higher death rate amongst hoglets who were part of larger litters.This is perhaps not surprising given the extra demands a larger litter puts on the mother.On leaving the nest, a further 30% – 50% of hoglets will not make it to their second year.These statistics sound shocking, but they are really not unusual for wildlife. Infancy and youth are the most dangerous and challenging times in any creature’s life. Compare the hedgehogs to, say sea turtles, where only 1 in 1,000 makes it to adulthood.Still, when you think that hedgehogs don’t reach sexual maturity and can’t breed until their second year, its easy to see why helping more hoglets make it through their first winter could help the species.Once they are past their first winter, things improve dramatically with the death rate declining by about 30% for each additional year of life.But the challenges faced by hedgehogs – mostly man-made one way or another, continue to stop hedgehogs reaching old age and threaten the future of the species.

Why Do Hedgehogs Die?

The majority of wild animals don’t live into old age. The natural world presents too many dangers and challenges for that.But along with the challenges presented by nature, hedgehogs (and every other creature on the planet) now face a whole range of life threats created by man.Here are some of the main reasons our hedgehogs die before reaching old age.

Hibernation

Although hibernation is an essential strategy for hedgehog survival in colder climates, it’s also the time when most hedgehogs die.In Sweden, Hans Kristiansson found that on average 33% of hedgehogs die during hibernation every year. The figure varies a lot depending on the climate, the weather in the preceding summer and the severity of the winter. But any way you look at it, its an alarmingly high number.And several studies have shown that hedgehogs in New Zealand who don’t hibernate live roughly twice as long as the same species of hog in the UK and Europe who do.So why do so many hogs die in hibernation?

Starvation

This is probably the primary cause of hedgehog deaths during hibernation.Hedgehogs lose 40 – 50% of their body weight during hibernation. Juveniles, especially those from late litters may simply fail to put on enough weight to survive the winter. Mothers too, especially those who have had a late litter, can struggle to get back up to a good weight after weaning hoglets.But in a long cold winter, even the fittest and fattest hogs can face challenges if the hibernation period becomes extended.A dry summer can result in a scarcity of food that may not threaten hogs whilst they are active but could cause problems come hibernation time.Providing additional food and water for hedgehogs in our gardens can help them to survive hibernation.

Weather Events

Hedgehogs in hibernation are vulnerable to extreme weather events. And obviously, with climate change, these are becoming more and more frequent.Whilst hedgehogs are good swimmers and pretty speedy runners a hibernating hedgehog stands no chance in flood.

Predation

Hedgehogs are especially vulnerable to predators during hibernation. Badgers are hedgehogs main predator in the UK. Still, there is speculation that foxes may also take hedgehogs during hibernation, though it’s unclear whether the hedgehogs they are taking are hibernating or already dead.There’s also evidence of a phenomenon called “nibbling” which hedgehogs are found with wounds in their skin and patches of short of missing spines. This is thought to be caused when hibernating hedgehogs are pecked at by magpies or nibbled by rats or mice. Though nibbling is unlikely to cause death in itself, it can lead to a potentially fatal infection.Hedgehog houses offer protection from larger mammals and birds but probably wouldn’t stop nibbling by rats or mice.

Inexperience

Hedgehogs learn how to build good, solid, well-insulated hibernacula. The attempts of juveniles hibernating for the first time can often be easily spotted.These nests are often flimsily constructed and poorly sited affairs which are unlikely to protect the hedgehog through the winter.We know that most hedgehog houses are occupied by young hogs during hibernation, and there can be little doubt that these will help with survival.

Natural Injuries, Illnesses and Diseases

Like any other animal, hedgehogs are subject to a range of natural illnesses, injuries and diseases, some of which can prove fatal.

Injuries

Hedgehogs can pick up a range of injuries in the course of their natural lives. Legs taken off by foxes or other predators and wounds incurred during courtship and mating are some of the most common.It has been noted that hedgehogs have a truly remarkable ability to heal. It’s not unusual to see a three-legged hedgehog wandering around, surviving perfectly well after such a severe injury.However, when injuries become infected, this is where the trouble starts. And an untreated infection can quickly lead to serious illness and death.

Parasites

Like all wild animals, hedgehogs are subject to a range of internal and external parasites.Whilst many of these are not fatal when present at a low level, if the parasite load on an animal becomes high, it’s always a cause for concern.For example, lungworm can quickly lead to fatality in hedgehogs if not treated.Many ticks are often found on very sick hedgehogs, and it was thought that the ticks were causing the sickness. Some researchers are now speculating that sick hedgehogs might actually be more attractive to ticks.

Illness and Diseases.

Like humans, hedgehogs get illnesses caused by bacterial, viral and fungal infections. And like humans, these illnesses can be mild or may become more severe or even fatal.There are other diseases which are very much hedgehog specific.Balloon Syndrome is caused when an injury goes untreated. Gas develops and gathers under the skin, so that the hedgehog blows up, like a balloon and sometimes to the size of a football. The legs are forced out to the sides, the hedgehog can’t walk and will eventually suffocate if not treated. Luckily that treatment is reasonably simple involving removing the built-up gas with a syringe.Pop Off is a prolapse of the orbicularis muscle which stops the hedgehog from curling up and can therefore be very dangerous. It causes the spines to ride up on the back, exposing the tail and legs. Pop off is often caused by trauma, like a hedgehog trying to tree itself when trapped. In young hogs, the muscles will usually heal themselves, but older hogs typically need medical attention.

Human Related Damage

Hedgehog rescuers report that 80% or more of hogs brought to them are injured or dying through “human-related” conditions.It’s a horrific statistic, but thankfully something we can all help to reduce.Let’s take a quick tour through some of the human-related issues that shorten hedgehogs lives.

Roads

A 2020 survey from Nottingham Trent University estimates that 335,000 hedgehogs may die on UK roads each year.With the national hedgehog population standing at just 1 million this is a truly shocking figure.Hedgehogs die on our roads because they must cross them, in the dark.Hedgehogs need to roam between 1 and 2 miles each night to collect the food they need. Road bisect their ranges, so must be crossed.With an ever-expanding road network, the problem is getting even worse.But we can help with this in lots of ways. Political pressure for the inclusion of wildlife bridges and tunnels in new road schemes is one way. Support for driver education schemes is another. But perhaps the most significant way we can help is by making and encouraging hedgehog highways.As gardens become more and more critical as hedgehog habitat, developing an extensive network of highways linking our gardens, parks and public spaces might offer the best chance of getting hedgehogs off our roads.

Garden Injuries

Though our gardens are an essential habitat for hedgehogs, they can also be hazardous, and many hedgehogs die each year through garden-related incidents. These include:Foods high in phosphates interfere with the hedgehogs’ ability to process calcium and can lead to bone disease. Culprits include mealworms and peanuts.High-fat foods like some cat food can lead to obesity and heart problems for hedgehogs who are designed for a low fat, high protein diet.And milk can cause severe digestive issues for lactose-intolerant hedgehogs.We have a guide to what hedgehogs eat and what you can safely feed them here.There are of course a whole host of other problems which we humans cause for hedgehogs, for the full run down take a look at this article.

H

We noticed a swelling on the right side of our hedgehog’s face and a reddening near the bottom of his mouth. When we took him to our veterinarian, he was diagnosed with teeth problems and we were told hedgehogs do tend to have problems with their teeth rotting.Some of his teeth had become rotten in his lower jaw and had caused an abscess in his gums, so we had to have these removed, on the advice of the veterinarian. He had to have a course of antibiotics and painkillers to reduce the swelling and the pain.During the operation, the veterinarian found a mass of cells around the same area as the abscess and asked us whether we wanted to have a biopsy of a small sample of these cells to make sure there wasn’t anything more serious. These sample cells were sent away to a specialized laboratory for analysis.The veterinarian also removed as much of the mass of cells as possible and when we picked our hedgehog up, his swelling had come down but there was still some slight swelling there. We assumed, this was down to the operation and after a course of antibiotics the swelling would recede.A week later we had a call to confirm our deepest suspicions that it was indeed a tumor, a sarcoma to be exact and it was incurable. This was a body blow, knowing our hedgehog might not survive the following few weeks to get to his fourth birthday.The prognosis was to carry on feeding him and giving him painkillers twice daily, until he eventually stops eating. We will then need to take him to the veterinarian, where he will be sedated and put to sleep.It took us a few days to come to terms with this terrible news but we were happy to have had him in our lives and will make sure his last few weeks, he can live with minimal pain and enjoy the foods he loves most.We’re giving him Metacam, a painkiller to keep his pain at bay and at first found it difficult to give him this along with the antibiotic Baytril, as he would shuffle around so much, making it difficult to put any of these medicines into his mouth. We tried putting some on his dry cat biscuits but he wouldn’t have it, even when we had crunched the biscuits down for him to eat, especially in light of his missing teeth.In the end, we found small pieces of cooked chicken, which he adores, allows us to squeeze the medicine on the pieces, taking care none of the medicine ends up on the fabric below and is totally absorbed by the chicken. You can see him eating chicken in the video at the bottom of this page.Hedgehogs may live longer as pets but it’s down to them avoiding the diseases which can make their lives shorter. Unfortunately there’s not much that can be done with diseases like cancers and tumours.

1. Wobbly Hedgehog Syndrome

Despite numerous studies on the disease, it main cause remains unknown to this day. It however believed that it could genetic. A possibly dietary role also remains a suspected cause.

Symptoms and signs

Observe your hedgehog as it stands to be certain it is suffering from WHS. Wobbling as it tries to get some balance is not a good sign. Left untreated, ataxia and paresis often progress from the hind legs to the front part of the body.This then leads to quadriplegia or tetraplegia where the hedgehog suffers total or partial loss of use of the torso and limbs. Its muscles will then loss mass and strength causing severe weakness. You may also notice significant weight loss. This can easily happen within days.

Diagnosis

The only definitive and conclusive diagnosis is after the examination of brain tissues and the spinal cord. Unfortunately, such conclusive diagnosis reports mostly come in after death.

Treatment

Using towels to keep the ailing hedgehog upright, cleaning the animal and increasing its accessibility to food and dish can also go a long way to help the affected hedgehog combat WHS. Euthanasia may come in handy as the last option if a hedgehog is chronically and terminally affected.

2. Cancers And Tumors

Cancerous tumors have been reported in nearly all the body organs in hedgehogs. They are however, especially common in the gastrointestinal and moth tracts. Symptoms are often vague and non-specific. That fact notwithstanding, be keen once you notice sudden weight loss, lethargy and loss of appetite.Treatment includes surgical procedures where a tumor has been detected early enough before it worsens. Note that oral tumors are extremely common in hedgehogs. Such tumors may be locally invasive and lethal enough to impede eating, cause considerable discomfort or even death. Uterine and mammary gland cancer are also common in female hedgehogs.

3. Gastro-Intestinal Diseases

It is easy to understand how and why gastro-intestinal diseases affect hedgehogs. The large intestine maintains electrolytes and fluid balance. It also absorbs nutrients and temporarily store fecal waste which once excreted, provides the environment with healthy bacteria. Once the large intestine gets infected, its primary functions become compromised. Parasites then abound within and around it, causing diarrhea.Colon inflammation, also referred to as colitis is yet another common gastro-intestinal disease that commonly affects hedgehogs. The disease is particularly common in middle-aged, purebred hedgehogs. The cause is still unknown though bacterial, traumatic, parasitic, allergic and kidney-related causes are all suspected causes.For colitis, inflammation may be a result of a serious defect in the function of the immune system in the colon. Other possible causes include exaggerated reaction to dietary changes, genetic predisposition or previous parasitic and infectious diseases.Taking specific preventive measures can go a long way to keep gastro-intestinal diseases affecting hedgehogs at bay. Such preventive measures include routine vet check-ups and only handling your hedgehog with clean hands. It is also important to ensure that you don’t handle or keep your hedgehog where food is eaten or handled.

4. Dental Diseases

An adult hedgehog can have up to 44 tiny teeth. Like other rodents, they have incisors, premolars and canine teeth. Interestingly, hedgehogs get their teeth when they are just three weeks old. This means they have teeth almost their entire lives. They can in fact, chew and grab food shortly after they are born.While the thought of brushing your hedgehog’s teeth may sound somewhat weird, it doesn’t necessarily mean you shouldn’t do it. They need dental care pretty much the same way humans do. The only exception is that you’ll need a pet veterinarian to get the job done.Note that brushing hedgehog’s teeth at home on your own isn’t entirely impossible. There are however, precautionary you must take. For instance, you can’t use toothpaste to clean your hedgehog’s teeth. Use a Q-Tip instead to gently rub all teeth. You may also have to pay extra attention to the back molars.Be gentle as you brush. Then by all means, don’t panic if you notice the gums bleeding. This only means the hedgehog isn’t used to brushing and that the teeth may not be strong and healthy. With time, you’ll notice some change. Be sure to contact a vet if you notice too much tartar, halitosis and excessive bleeding.Note that calculus, tartar and plaque refer to the brown or black stuff stuck on your hedgehog’s teeth. It is mostly made up of food particles, bacteria and saliva. It is a huge problem mainly because it makes teeth unhealthy as it sits on the gum line. Remember that the gum-line, just like it is the case in humans, is a direct pathway to your hedgehog’s blood supply.Leaving any dental condition affecting the gum-line untreated opens an easy path for infection to all major organs in the hedgehog’s body. You can easily brush off softer plaque, but calculus and tartar may prove a challenge as they are hard to completely brush off without professional cleaning.An abscess can occur mostly due to infection. It can cause a bump under the eye on the side of the face where the affected tooth is. The bump may look like a zit and may pop up on its own within days. Early intervention can by way of extracting the bad tooth is usually the only way out for the hedgehog.

5. Urinary Tract Infections

Uriothiasis (bladder stones) is also known to cause hematuria (bloody urine). The condition makes it hard for a hedgehog to urinate. In severe cases, it causes death. Radiographs, urinalysis, bladder ultrasound and radiographs can all aid in diagnosing urinary tract diseases that affect hedgehogs. Bladder tumors and kidney infections are other examples of disease that can affect a hedgehog’s urinary tract.

6. Metabolic Bone Disease

Eating the above mentioned foods will force your hedgehog to make up for lack of calcium by simply taking it directly from its bones. The bones will then become weak with time as the hedgehog grows thin. Note that the disease comes along with extreme pain and discomfort.Despite the agony and pain though, the hedgehog’s survival instincts will kick in and force it to keep on moving in a bid to find water and food. Soft tissues will eventually swell as the pain becomes unbearable. At this point, it may be too late to treat the hedgehog.

7. Blood Infections

There are several signs you may need to be on the lookout for anytime you suspect your hedgehog is suffering from a blood infection. Immobility, high breathing rate, lethargy and odd behavior all stand out as symptoms of a blood infection in hedgehogs.Early intervention with prescribed antibiotics is recommended when it comes to treating blood infections in hedgehogs. Note that blood infections in hedgehogs are often fatal if left untreated.

8. Parasites

Fungal Infections

Hedgehogs have an uncanny reputation for carrying fleas and passing them on to dogs. Interestingly, hedgehog fleas (It is also interesting to note that for a long time, hedgehogs have been thought to be flea prone. Such misconceptions stem from the fact that hedgehogs cannot groom their spines. There is also no truth whatsoever from the common misconception that removing fleas from a hedgehog can kill it. A hedgehog can actually contort its body to groom its spine.Ticks (Note that removing ticks from a hedgehog by simply plucking them off their skin can easily cause the ticks to regurgitate blood. This can then lead blood poisoning which is usually fatal. To safely remove ticks from a hedgehog, twist each tick separately using a lasso or a commercial tick-twister.The use of pliers or tweezers can apply pressure on a tick’s abdomen and force infected blood back into the host hedgehog. You may also end up only breaking the body but leaving the tick’s head embedded into the hedgehog’s skin. Smothering the tic with oil or Vaseline or even burning it can also cause regurgitation

Internal parasites

Hedgehogs can be hosts to many different parasitic worm species including cestodes, nematodes, acanthocephaids and trematodes. Of all parasitic worms that infest hedgehogs though, lungworms stand out as the most common one.They manifest mostly in form of dry, ratting cough. This happens as newly hatched larvae get coughed out of the lungs before they are almost immediately swallowed before being expelled into droppings. Lungworm infestation can be fatal if left untreated.There are also suggestions that parasitic challenges are more prevalent in urban areas compared to rural areas. This has quite a lot to do with the fact that hedgehogs in urban areas grapple with higher densities as well as increased contact with other parasite carrying species.

Hedgehog Life Span

You can expect your little pet to keep you company for the next four to seven years. In order for him to reach that average life span, you’ll need to provide him with a proper diet, housing and care.