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Hedgehog Awareness Week Day 6: Romancing the hedgehog

10th May 2019

Do hedgehogs have a love life?

Usually 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…

Breeding hedgehogs, photo by Steve Burke from Dorset
Breeding hedgehogs, photo by Steve Burke from Dorset

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.

So, let’s have a little love for hedgehogs.