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African Pygmy Hedgie Facts

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Classification CLASS: Mammalia
ORDER: Insectivora
Number of Genus 4
Number of Species 14
Domesticated Species African White-Bellied Hedgehog
(Atelerix albiventris)
Average Life Span 3.5 years
Maximum Life Span 9 years
Common Life Span 4-6 years
Heat Cycle Ovulation induced by male
Estrous:  2 - 5 days
Diestrous:  2 - 5 days
Gestation period 35 days
Litter Size: average 4, up to 9
Eyes open 14-16 days
Weaning age 5-7 weeks
Time to remove from mother: 6-7 weeks
Complete Physical Maturity 10 - 11 months
Average Adult Weight 9 - 19 ounces
255 - 540 grams
Recommended maximum number of litters per year per female hedgehog 2
First Sexual Capability  
Male 7-9 weeks
Female 8-12 weeks
First breeding best 6-7 months
Female fertility ends Approximately 3 years
First quilling 4 weeks
Second quilling 6 weeks
Third quilling: 9 weeks
Adult quilling 12 weeks
Adult color quilling 9 weeks
Best Room Temperatures 72 - 80 degrees Fahrenheit
20 - 27 degrees Celsius
Hibernation Hibernation can be lethal for pet hedgehogs
Sexes Males and females should be housed separately
Quills Quills are modified hairs, they are not very sharp and do not have barbs
The average hedgehog has 5,000 -7,000 quills
Quills are hard on the outside, filled with soft air pockets on the inside
There are 2 large muscles on either side of a hedgehog's back to raise and lower its quills and curl into a ball. This is a hedgehog's only defense.
DIET
Diet in the Wild Beetles
Ants
Termites
Grasshoppers
Moths
Centipedes
Earthworms
Diet in Captivity

Dry Cat food
Mink and Ferret food
Cooked poultry (never raw meat)
Cooked egg (never raw)

Diet Supplements (treats) Insects (mealworms, crickets, etc)
assorted fruits and vegetables
Dairy Products Hedgehogs are mildly lactose intolerant. Dairy products should be fed sparingly or not at all 
Suggested Nutritional Requirements Protein
Suggested requirement - 22%
Fat
Suggested - 5%
Fiber
Suggested - 15%
Calcium
Suggested - 0.9%
Phosphorus
Suggested - 0.9%
Iron
Suggested - 75 ppm
Copper (mg/kg) 4-23 7-16 3-7
Manganese (mg/kg) 11-146 11-70 5
Zinc (mg/kg) 20-175 100-190 30 
Recommended Caloric Intake 70-100 calories per day
HOUSING
Min. Recommended floor area 4 sq feet
0.37 sq Metres
Cage Floor Solid - NO Wire
Exercise

Hedgehog Wheel (solid running surface, no wire)
Toilet Paper Tube (for hedgehogs over 3 months of age only!)
Small child-safe toys
Ferret-size ball under supervision
Daily Handling

COMMON AILMENTS
Wobbly Hedgehog Syndrome (WHS) A genetic disorder that causes progressive paralysis similar to the human form of MS. There is no cure and the afflicted hedgehogs slowly and eventually become totally paralyzed. The disease appears to be carried by a recessive gene making detection and eradication difficult. Breeders should avoid using hedgehogs with any WHS in their family lines.
Cancer Hedgehogs can suffer from cancerous growths and lesions to the same extent as other comparable species. Common to female hedgehogs are ovarian, uterine and mammary tumors; and to males, jaw and testicular tumors.
Eyes Eyes can be lost to quill pokes, most commonly when multiple hedgehogs are housed together. Infection is common if not treated immediately.
Teeth Tooth loss and wear can occur in older hedgehogs. Weight loss can occur in extreme cases. There is some speculation that an all-hard food diet can cause premature tooth wear. Hedgehogs with poor dentition should be fed a soft food diet to compensate and prevent weight loss.
TERMINOLOGY
Males Males
Females Females
Young Hoglets or pups
Breeding Group Herd
Quills Quills or Spines
Anointing or Self-Anointing The act of frothing at the mouth, arching the head back over the shoulders and depositing the frothy saliva onto the quills. Triggered by pungent smells and new tastes. The exact purpose of anointing is unknown.

Created by: admin Last Modification: Wednesday 04 of March, 2009 10:45:47 EST by admin


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