Have a little love for hedgehogs this Valentine’s day!
14th February 2019
It’s Valentine’s day and we’re wondering, do hedgehogs have a love life?
This Valentine’s day we thought we’d share with you the real “love life” of a typical hedgehog. Currently, hedgehogs are all tucked up and hopefully hibernating for winter. But, as soon as Spring comes they will begin to emerge and their “love story” will begin.
Their first job will be to build up the fat stores they used up over winter, but by May, the mating season will be in full swing.
Hedgehogs reach sexual maturity in their second year of life, and after this can breed every year. Males attempt to woo females in lengthy encounters that involve much circling, sometimes lasting hours, and rhythmic snorting and puffing. The commotion can attract rival males resulting in head-butting and chases.
The actual process of mating is a predictably delicate operation, with the female having to flatten her spines to allow a male to mount.
Radio-tracking studies have shown hedgehogs to be promiscuous, having several mates in a year…
After mating, the male leaves, taking no part in rearing the young. A female can often have a second litter of hoglets later in the summer.
So although it’s not the most romantic love story ever, it does mean that hedgehog numbers can boom, and populations will be genetically diverse enough to survive any dramatic changes in the world around them.