Hedgehog Life Expectancy (And 13 Related Questions Answered)

Within the past decade or so, hedgehogs have grown in popularity among animal lovers. Today, they are a rather common pet and are available from a variety of different sources including pet stores and dedicated hedgehog breeders.

If you’ve been considering getting a hedgehog or have recently acquired one, you might be wondering how long they live. How long can you expect to have your cute little spiky companion in your life?

Well, today, we’re diving into that very topic. We’re going to discuss hedgehog lifespans, the oldest hedgies on record, the hedgehog life cycle, how to lengthen the life of your hedgehog, and much more.

What’s the Average Life Expectancy of a Hedgehog?

The average lifespan for hedgehogs is 4 to 5 years.

This number takes into consideration the average lifespan of both domesticated and wild hedgehogs, which gives us a pretty genuine idea of how long hedgehogs live as an animal.

It doesn’t factor in the specifics of environment, care, or nutrition.

How Long Do Pet Hedgehogs Live?

On average, pet hedgehogs live 4 to 7 years, with most living at least 5.

When cared for properly, pet hedgehogs live 2 to 3 years longer than their wild counterparts, which means that, in my opinion, we must be doing something right as hedgehog owners.

How Long Do Wild Hedgehogs Live?

In the wild, hedgehogs live for 2 to 4 years.

Their relatively short lifespan is a result of living in the wild where, obviously, their care isn’t monitored and their survival is up to them.

Do Certain Hedgehog Breeds Live Longer?

In the wild, European hedgehogs tend to live slightly longer than four-toed or pygmy hedgehogs.

On average, they live 3 to 4 years, while other species average 2-4 years. This gives European hedgehogs one extra year of life on average.

How Old Can Hedgehogs Get?

Hedgehogs can live up to 16 years!

That’s right – your hedgehog could potentially live long enough to celebrate its sweet 16. In fact, 16 is the age of the oldest hedgehog ever recorded and since its passing, no other hedgie has come close to beating that record.

To give you a bit of an idea of how old a 16-year-old hedgehog actually is, a 10-year-old hedgehog is equivalent to a 104-year old human.

How Can You Tell the Age of a Hedgehog?

There’s no concrete way to tell a hedgehog’s age, unfortunately.

Hedgehogs, unlike some other animals, don’t show signs of their age outwardly. Their quills don‘t turn grey the way a dog’s fur does and they likely won’t grow any of those charming old-age spots or warts that so many elderly animals do.

Sometimes, a hedgie’s facial mask will fade in color as they get older – but this isn’t guaranteed to happen and just because it does, doesn’t necessarily mean that the hedgie in question is approaching seniority.

How To Tell the Age of a Baby Hedgehog?

Most of the time, you can tell the approximate age of baby hedgehogs by looking at their size and considering how they act.

For example, a baby hedgehog might be more inclined to play with toys than older hedgehogs would be. They’ll also tend to be a lot smaller, with babies of two months old being significantly bigger than those that are two weeks old.

How To Prolong the Lifespan of Pet Hedgehogs?

You can prolong the lifespan of pet hedgehogs by providing them with good nutrition, plenty of exercise, and the proper heat requirements.

More specifically, you can give your hedgehog quality pellet food and provide them with an exercise wheel that is big enough that it doesn’t bend their back when they use it.

You should also set up some kind of heat source to ensure that your hedgehog stays warm to avoid him or her trying to go into hibernation, which causes stress on their system and can result in a shorter lifespan.

What Does the Hedgehog Life Cycle Look like?

The hedgehog lifecycle consists of all the typical milestones.

Hedgehogs will go from being newborns to juveniles to adults, which is when they will reproduce and become parents, starting the cycle over again.

How Old Are Hedgehogs When They Mate?

Males

Male hedgehogs reach sexual maturity (breeding age) at four or five months old.

After this time, they can mate whenever they want throughout their lifetime.

Females

Female hedgehogs are ready for mating when they reach five months old.

Before this age, they’re not finished maturing, which means that their reproductive system hasn’t finished developing.

(Read more about hedgehog reproduction in my dedicated article on the topic).

Do Hedgehogs Lose Spines As They Age?

No. Hedgehogs do not typically lose spines as they age.

If you notice your hedgehog losing an unusual amount of spines, you should take them to the nearest exotic veterinarian for an exam.

Aside from quilling and naturally shedding small amounts of quill every so often, hedgehogs should not shed their quills.

How Can You Tell If A Hedgehog Is Dying?

You can tell if your spiny little friend is dying by the physical symptoms it exhibits.

These symptoms often include but are limited to, having no energy, difficulty breathing, lack of appetite, and refusal to drink water.

However, you might also observe discharge coming from the eyes and mouth or blood in their urine or poop. In some hedgehogs, significant personality changes can indicate that something is very wrong, too.

Do Hedgehogs Die Easily?

Hedgehogs are relatively fragile creatures. Thanks to this, they’re sensitive to health issues and can die if ailments aren’t treated. They do not, however, die “easily”.

This being said, though, hedgehogs will try to hide their ailments from you so by the time you notice that something is wrong, your hedgehog might have been critically ill for weeks or months.

Because of this, it can seem like your hedgehog went from perfectly well to being on his death bed overnight, which can make it seem like he died easily.

There you have it! All the basics surrounding hedgehog age and lifespan.