On average, wild hedgehogs tend to live between 2 and 3 years, while hedgehogs in captivity usually live between 3 and 6 years. This number can vary greatly, though, depending on factors such as type of hedgehog, family history, daily care, and a little bit of luck.
As the owner of a hedgehog, it makes sense that you'd want to know the lifespan of your pet. Being aware of the average age of a hedgehog allows you to make more informed decisions when it comes to medical care and behavioral issues in your pet.
Obviously you want your hedgehog to live for as long as possible. Fortunately for you, there are a few different ways that you can help your hedgehog live quite a long and happy life.
This post will cover some of the most important strategies and facts that all hedgehog owners should be aware of.
How Long Can A Hedgehog Live?
This is a fantastic question that can only be answered by looking at hedgehogs that have lived to very old ages. While you'll commonly see captive hedgehogs living to be around 5 years old, there are some hedgehogs that have exceeded this lifespan by a good amount.
There have been hedgehogs recorded that have lived 8+ years!
What is clear is that hedgehogs that are kept as pets will almost always live a longer life than wild hedgehogs that have to fend for themselves. This discrepancy can be attributed to a captive hedgehog's constant supply of food, lack of predators, lack of disease, and a very consistently-safe environment.
All of these factors play a part in helping a hedgehog live for a long period of time.
It is difficult to say exactly what makes some hedgehogs live for twice of their expected lifespans. This phenomenon is likely due to a good combination of proper care, good genetics, and a handful of luck.
While luck is simply something that's out of your control, you as the owner are able to initially get a hedgehog with good genetics and then provide them with the proper care.
So, there are a couple things that a hedgehog owner can do to give their hedgehog a good chance of living for a long time.
Why Do Some Hedgehogs Live So Long?
As discussed above, there's not really a clear-cut answer as to why some hedgehogs live for so much longer than other hedgehogs. In general, though, it comes down to a mixture of great care and a healthy family history.
Both of these factors are able to be controlled in some way or another.
If you have a "healthy" hedgehog, or a hedgehog that comes from a line of hedgehogs that haven't exhibited any negative health conditions, then there is a good chance that your hedgehog will live beyond the average age.
It's never "old age" that causes death -- it's the medical issues that come about when a living creature gets older that does it.
So, if you can drastically reduce the possibility of your hedgehog experiencing those issues, they should experience fewer problems as they age.
A hedgehog's diet is another factor that plays a big part in determining their lifespan. If a hedgehog has a diet that provides it with all of its required nutrients, then they're likely to outlive other hedgehogs.
They can supply their bodies with the nutrients that it needs to grow big and strong and maintain that strength for many years.
On top of those points, a hedgehog's environment plays a big factor in their lifespan. When their environment is safe, comfortable, and stress-free, it tends to create healthier hedgehogs.
Therefore, if a hedgehog does live well beyond its expected age, it's likely that they had a life defined by a healthy diet, great genetics, and a safe and comfortable environment.
How To Buy A Healthy Hedgehog
If you want a hedgehog that has a good chance of living for many years, then your best option is to buy a hedgehog that comes from a line of hedgehogs with excellent health.
Genetics play huge roles in the health of humans and animals alike, and creatures that come from healthy families tend to live longer on average.
So how would one go about acquiring one of these healthy hedgehogs? It ultimately comes down to finding a reputable and experienced hedgehog breeder. When you buy a hedgehog from a pet store, there won't be any records kept of that hedgehog's predecessors' health. You're essentially taking a gamble on your hedgehog when you do this.
However, it isn't as simple as just finding an experienced breeder. You'll also need to find a breeder that keeps extensive records of their hedgehogs' ailments and behaviors and doesn't sell off their hedgehogs as young pups.
Many hedgehog ailments only become known to humans when the hedgehog reaches adulthood, so breeders that don't keep their hedgehogs this long won't be aware of the fact that their hedgehogs have problems.
While hedgehogs that come from a healthy line can still develop health problems, the chances of that happening tend to be lower.
Tips For Increasing Your Hedgehog's Lifespan
Every pet owners wants to keep their pet alive for as long as possible -- that just makes sense! So how should you go about increasing the lifespan of your hedgehog? While there isn't a guaranteed method of adding years onto your hedgehog's life, there are a few things that you can do to give them the best chance of thriving.
To begin with, if you haven't purchased a hedgehog yet, you should buy one from a reputable breeder that keeps records of their hedgehogs' health.
When you purchase a hedgehog that comes from a line of healthy hedgehogs, you're lowering the chances of yours contracting an ailment that shortens their life.
Once you have your hedgehog, the best thing that you can do for them is provide them with an excellent diet. You need to feed your hedgehog a healthy diet that meets their nutritional requirements so that they can grow and remain healthy for years.
A hedgehog's environment is also something that you should consider! You would be surprised just how much a clean and comfortable cage will benefit your hedgehog. Create a cage and environment for them that's big, comfortable, and very secure.
Keep this cage in a place in your house that gets some traffic but is mostly removed from the excitement of daily life.
Spending time with your hedgehog for a couple of hours per day will also keep them happier, lower their stress, and give them some physical activities to partake in.