Learn about a year in the life of a hedgehog - a cycle of mating, raising young, foraging and hibernating.
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.
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
There are 6 word cards and 6 picture cards in this pack. Cut them out and see if the kids can match them up correctly.
Cut out the cards and then put them into a hedgehog life cycle sequencing display. We've included arrows and a title card too.
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.
Draw a hibernating hedgehog and add it to this nest! You might want to draw it on another sheet of paper, cut it out and stick it on...
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.
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!
Can the kids fill in the labels on this illustration of the life cycle of a hedghog? We've provided a word bank to choose from.