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How Long Do Pet Hedgehogs Live?

how long do hedgehogs live

Hedgehogs have become rather popular pets since the 90s. If you or your child want to own a pet hedgehog, make sure that you can properly care for these little animals.

Since you likely don't have much experience in keeping a pet hedgehog, it's wise to learn as much as you can in advance. Begin with how long hedgehogs live as pets and what it takes to help them live longer.

Pet hedgehog lifespan

Pet hedgehogs can live for at least five years. When you properly care for a hedgehog in your home, it has the potential to live for eight years or slightly longer.

Of course, the breed plays a role. Here are the two most popular pet hedgehogs:

  • African pygmy, or four-toed hedgehog has an average lifespan of 5 years;
  • Long-eared hedgehog can live as a pet for over 7 years.

Try and convert hedgehog age to human years using our online calculator

Whichever you choose, a hedgehog isn't a type of pet that you will only have to care for briefly. It's a commitment that you'll be making for several years.

hedgehog on a blanket

There are other things that will impact the life expectancy of hedgehogs. That includes genetics, diet, and living conditions.

As for wild hedgehogs, they don't live nearly as long as domesticated hedgehogs. A wild hedgehog will typically only live two or three years due to its facing more danger.

What affects pet hedgehog life expectancy?

There are some factors that you must consider when thinking about pet hedgehog life expectancy. You need to look out for certain things when your goal is to keep the hedgehog alive for as long as possible.

  • Genetics can play a role in how long hedgehogs live. Make sure you get a hedgehog from a professional ethical breeder. They make sure pet hedgehogs are less prone to different diseases.
  • The diet also impacts the lifespan of the hedgehog. We’ll give some advice on feeding a hedgehog later in the article.
  • How active a hedgehog is might determine how long it'll live.
  • Stress can impact hedgehog's lifespan negatively.
  • Having an appropriate environment is important to keep hedgehogs alive and healthy.

Common pet hedgehog health issues shortening its life expectancy

Health issues can make hedgehogs live shorter lives. If your pet hedgehog develops some of these health problems, you'll want to solve them as soon as you can.


Obesity can easily cause hedgehogs to die early. You need to be very careful how much you're feeding these pets.

Feeding hedgehogs the right food and giving them reasonable portions is a must. It's easy to overfeed hedgehogs if you're not paying attention to recommendations.

Ensure that the hedgehog is active and has enough space to explore. It's also beneficial to purchase toys for these pets to encourage more activity.

Problems with mites

Mites can wind up bothering pet hedgehogs. Pretty much all hedgehogs have a small number of mites.

Skin mites can cause significant skin irritation. This will stress hedgehogs, and their quality of life will nosedive. Both skin mites and ear mites are known to be problematic.

Respiratory Infections

Respiratory infections can seriously harm hedgehogs. Pet hedgehogs can easily catch such infections when they're young. But older ones are not safe either.

The most common types of respiratory issues to impact pet hedgehogs include bacterial infections and pneumonia.

Gastrointestinal Infections

Many hedgehogs carry the bacteria known as salmonella. It can even be passed to humans.

Sometimes this bacteria will infect the hedgehog and cause it to get sick. When this occurs, it's crucial to take the hedgehog to see its veterinarian.

The hedgehog might need antibiotics or other treatments to get better.

Wobbly Hedgehog Syndrome

Wobbly hedgehog syndrome is a condition that most often impacts hedgehogs that are less than two years old. It begins with neurological issues and progresses.

This condition is very serious as there is no cure. Ill hedgehogs won’t be able to walk. They'll also stop eating and will lose a lot of weight.

Often, euthanasia is the best option for hedgehogs who are dealing with this health issue.

How to Extend Your Pet Hedgehog's Life

You can take steps to extend the pet hedgehog's life. Paying attention to the things that matter the most and putting in the necessary effort will make a huge difference.

  • Feed pet hedgehogs properly. It's important to give pet hedgehogs the right mix of nutrients and vitamins.
  • Make sure your hedgehog’s living conditions are stimulating an active lifestyle. Hedgehogs need exercise to stay in good health. A spacious cage and an exercise wheel are a must. Also, toys can help hedgehogs to be more active and feel happier.
  • Ensure that the hedgehog has high-quality bedding.
  • Avoid stressing your hedgehog. Don't keep hedgehogs in noisy rooms.
  • Regular veterinary checkups will help notice health issues early. Going to the vet once per year should be enough.

In general, hedgehogs are easy to care for pets. Knowing their life expectancy and how to keep pet hedgehogs healthy should help you create many precious moments together.