The hedgehog is the most easily one of the most recognised of British mammals yet they are steadily disappearing from the wild. 

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Breeding

Hedgehogs are ready to breed in April. If you hear loud snuffling and grunting noises at night in the garden, it may be hedgehogs mating. The male (boar) circles round the female (sow), sometimes for hours, trying to persuade her to mate. After mating, the male leaves, taking no part in rearing the young.

The female makes a special 'maternity' nest of leaves and grass, and after a gestation period (the time between mating and birth) of about 32 days, three to five babies are born. At first, the young are blind and pink but soon sprout soft white spines. Their eyes open at about 14 days and they grow more and more brown spines. Their mother suckles them until they can hunt for themselves. She takes them on their first foraging trip after 4 weeks and 10 days later they all go their separate ways. A second litter may be produced in late summer, but seldom survives the winter because there isn't enough time to make a good store of fat.

Read More: Hedgehog Habits

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