Late hedgehog babies grow faster
Hedgehogs are born between June and October. It is important for the young hedgehogs to grow enough fat tissue before they go into hibernation, or else they won’t survive it.
It was assumed until now that hedgehogs born late in the season barely stand a chance. A British study has shown that the second litter of hedgehogs grows significantly faster than the first. Hedgehogs are born after a 34-days pregnancy. Two to ten young are born per birth. The hedgehogs are self-sufficient after six weeks. The fat supply for hibernation must weigh at least 400 grams.
The research was conducted with hedgehogs from a shelter in York between 1998 and 2006. It was found that the hedgehogs that were born in the second litter grew extremely fast. When the first hibernation period arrives, they weigh just as much as the hedgehogs that were born earlier in the year. It does not seem to be the case therefore that the date of birth is responsible for the high mortality rates among young hedgehogs.