Life Cycle of a Hedgehog


Did you know that hedgehogs are one of only three British mammals that hibernate in winter? (The others are dormice and bats). You can learn about the hedgehog life cycle below, and enjoy our fun resources with the kids.

Life Cycle of a Hedgehog - Resources for Kids

You might start to see hedgehogs in early spring. They have just woken up from their long winter hibernation and they are very hungry and thirsty! They will hunt for food to build up their strength, and begin to look for nesting sites.

Hedgehogs usually mate in late spring, around May or early June. Males then go off and leave the females to get on with raising the young! About 4 weeks later, mother hedgehogs give birth to 5-7 baby hedgehogs - known as hoglets. The hoglets are born blind, pink and very tiny - even a week later they might only measure 5-10cm (2-4 inches) long. They live in a nest with their mother and feed on her milk.

After about a month the hoglets will begin to leave the nest and go foraging for food with their mother. They are still drinking milk, but now they are also eating beetles, worms, other small insects, fruit, mushrooms and discarded food from humans if they find it.

Within 2 months the hoglets are grown enough to hunt for food for themselves and make their own way in the world. They leave their mother's nest and find their own.

In the autumn, a hedgehog's main job is to eat! They need to build up their weight so that they can survive their long winter hibernation!

In November, hedgehogs will curl themselves up in their nests and begin their long sleep right through the winter until early spring, when the cycle starts again.

Our Hedgehog Life Cycle Resources

Hibernating Animal Worksheet Blank

Hibernating Animal Worksheet Blank

Use this useful blank worksheet for the kids to fill in when they are studying hibernating animals. Write a description and a little about the animal's habitat, draw or paste in a picture, and then tick the boxes to categorise the animal.

Life Cycle of a Hedgehog Booklet

Life Cycle of a Hedgehog Booklet

Print, fold and fill in your own little booklet about the life cycle of a hedgehog. We've got 4 versions to choose from below: colour and black and white, lined or blank.

Life Cycle of a Hedgehog Colouring Page

Life Cycle of a Hedgehog Colouring Page

Colour in this life cycle of the hedgehog colouring page - starting from hibernating hedgehog snug in its winter nest, through mating, hoglets, feeding in autumn and back to hibernating!

Life Cycle of a Hedgehog Poster

Life Cycle of a Hedgehog Poster

This colourful poster takes you through the life cycle of the hedgehog - from hibernation in the winter, breeding in the spring, raising young in the summer, feeding in the autumn and back to hibernation again.

A Year in the Life of a Hedgehog

January - February
Hedgehogs are all curled up in their nests hibernating.

They start to emerge from their nest. The hedgehogs would have lost one third of their body weight and will be very hungry and thirsty.

Hedgehogs are normally very active during April. They are hunting for food to build up their body fat and looking for nesting sites.

May is mating season. Once the hedgehogs have mated they go their separate ways. The males are not involved in raising the young.

The females give birth about 4 weeks after mating. They normally have 5 to 7 hoglets, although often only 2 or 3 survive. For the first 3 weeks the hoglets will not leave the nest and will drink milk from their mother.

Newborn hoglet

The hoglets now join their mother when she goes foraging. They are still drinking her milk but are starting to learn how to find their own food. Hedgehogs mainly eat insects and some fruit.

The hoglets are now independent and go out foraging by themselves.  They will start to leave the nest and find their own homes.

Some females mate for a second time but hoglets born later in the year struggle to gain the weight needed for hibernation.

Now the hedgehogs need to eat as much as they can to gain extra weight for hibernation and they need to build a nest.

November - December
Hedgehogs normally start hibernating in November and will stay asleep until March.

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