How Long Will My Hedgehog Live?
What to know about keeping this cutie as a pet.
Considering adopting a hedgehog? The African pygmy hedgehog can be kept as a pet and is pretty darn adorable — but before you get too far in your research, make sure you live in a state where hedgehogs are legal to have as a pet. (They’re currently banned in the following states and cities: Georgia, California, Hawaii, Pennsylvania, Washington, D.C. and New York City.)
Given that hedgehogs (aka hedgies) aren’t the most common type of pet, you’ll want to do your research to make sure you can provide a hedgehog with the kind of environment and diet he needs to thrive.
Regardless of the animal you want to adopt, one factor you should always consider is their average lifespan, because you need to be prepared to take care of them for their whole life. So, how long do hedgehogs live?
For insight on the typical hedgehog lifespan, as well as what this animal needs to live a happy and healthy life with you, we spoke with Dr. Hilary Jones, veterinarian and chief veterinary officer at DodoVet.
How long do hedgehogs live?
On average, when kept as a pet, the hedgehog lifespan is about 4 to 6 years — with some domesticated hedgehogs living about 8 years.
“Hedgehogs can be prone to mites and parasites, certain cancers, heart disease, and obesity,” Dr. Jones told The Dodo. “Just like with other pets, it’s very important that pet hedgehogs receive routine veterinary care. Establishing a relationship with a veterinarian who is comfortable with hedgehogs will be vital to the longer term health of your prickly pal.”
Additionally, feeding your hedgehog a healthy diet and providing an environment that supports his natural behaviors are key to his survival.
According to Dr. Jones, hedgehogs should be fed:
- A specifically formulated hedgehog diet
- Supplement with mealworms or crickets
- Fresh fruits and vegetables
“They can often become overweight, so it’s important to feed appropriately and provide the opportunity for lots of exercise,” Dr. Jones said.
Hedgehogs are natural foragers, so their environment should support this way of exercising.
“The walls of your enclosure should be smooth to prevent hedgies from climbing out, and avoid wire-bottomed cages as they can cause injuries to hedgie legs and feet,” Dr. Jones said.
Other key factors to consider when it comes to your hedgehog’s environment include:
- Hedgehog bedding should be nontoxic and dust-free to prevent any respiratory issues.
- His habitat should be cleaned at least weekly.
- Provide a nice hiding spot where your hedgie can feel safe and sleep.
- As with hamsters, wheels are a great way for your hedgehog to get some exercise.
- Make sure the bottom of the wheel is not wire or mesh, as that can cause injuries.
- Pet hedgehogs come from much warmer climates, so an external heat source is necessary.
If you decide that you can provide a hedgehog with everything he needs to live a healthy and happy life, we wish you many fun adventures together!
Want access to a vet 24/7? With DodoVet, you can connect via video chat, phone or text with an empathetic veterinary expert who can help you be the best pet parent you can be. Say goodbye to Dr. Google and have all your pet parent questions answered anytime, anywhere. Learn more here.