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< > APPEARANCE / MORPHOLOGY: MEASUREMENT AND WEIGHT with literature reports for the West European Hedgehog: Use sub-contents list below, or simply scroll down the page to view findings.

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MEASUREMENT AND WEIGHT- Editorial Comment

Editorial Comment (Editorial Overview Text Replicated on Overall Species page - Erinaceus europaeus - West European Hedgehog)

LENGTH
Adult:
Head-body length is about 200-300 mm. Males tend to be slightly longer than females.
Newborns: Newborns are about 6 - 10 cm long.

HEIGHT
Adults and sub-adults: Height when walking approximately 13.2 cm, and when crouching approximately 11.9 cm.
Juveniles: Height when walking approximately 10.4 cm.

WEIGHT
Adult:
Adult weights can range from a low just after hibernation of only 600-700 g up to 1.1 or 1.2 kg prior to hibernation. They may rarely reach as high as 1.6 kg and in captivity grossly overweight individuals may even pass 2 kg. Males are generally slightly heavier than females.
Newborns: The weight of hoglets at birth is variable and may range from 8-25 g. Hoglets at the top end of this range may be considered abnormally large and may lead to difficulties with parturition.

GROWTH RATE
Hoglets grow rapidly but there may be considerable variations in weight between individuals of any litter. The head-body length may reach about 16 cm by weaning; weight may reach about 120-350 g by weaning and about 600 g prior to hibernation. 

(References are available in detailed literature reports below)

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Length

Adult SUMMARY: Head-body length is about 200-300 mm. Males tend to be slightly longer than females.
  • Head-body length in the West European hedgehog (Erinaceus europaeus) and East European hedgehog (Erinaceus concolor) are approximately 200-300 mm. (B228.1.w1)
  • Head-body length: 26 cm plus in adult hedgehogs. (B142); 135-300 mm (B147); 25-30 cm / 10-12 inches (B258.w7, B144); 16-26 cm. (D30)
  • Head and body length average 230 mm in males, 217 mm in females. (B255.2.w2)
Neonate / Young SUMMARY: Newborns are about 6 - 10 cm long.
  • Newborn length 6-10cm / 2.4-4.0 inches. (B52)

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Height

Adult SUMMARY: Adults and sub-adults: Height when walking approximately 13.2 cm, and when crouching approximately 11.9 cm.
Juveniles: Height when walking approximately 10.4 cm.
  • Adults and sub-adults: Walking 13.2 cm +/- 0.8 cm; crouching 11.9 cm +/-0.7 cm. (Th6.5.w5)
  • Juveniles: Walking 10.4 cm +/- 1.0 cm, crouching 10.4 cm +/- 1.1 cm. (Th6.5.w5)

[Height = highest point measured]

Neonate / Young
  • --

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Weight

Adult SUMMARY: Adult weights can range from a low just after hibernation of only 600-700 g up to 1.1 or 1.2 kg prior to hibernation. They may rarely reach as high as 1.6 kg and in captivity grossly overweight individuals may even pass 2 kg. Males are generally slightly heavier than females.
  • As a general guide, adult hedgehogs weigh approximately 600-700 g body weight early in the active season after they emerge from hibernation and increase to 900-1000 g by autumn in preparation for the following winter. Boars may reach a slightly higher body weight than sows in the autumn of 1100-1200 g. (B228.1.w1)
  • 800-1000 g. (B258.w7)
  • Adult body weight 1.1 kg to (rarely) over 1.6 kg, exceptionally 2 kg or more in captivity. (B142); usually 400 to 1100 g. (B147); 400-1100 g / 14 oz.-2.5 lbs. (B144)
  • The weight of an individual hedgehog may vary considerably between years as well as seasonally. (B255.6.w6)
  • Hedgehogs have their greatest fat deposits prior to hibernation in the autumn and may lose 30% of body weight over the winter as their energy stores are used. (B142, B262.2.w2)
  • Captive hedgehogs often have a body weight of over 50% more than their wild counterparts of a similar age. (B262.2.w2)
  • Hedgehog body weight varies by 300 g on a seasonal basis with increase due to fat deposition prior to hibernation and decrease during hibernation as fat deposits are consumed. (B260.1.w1)
  • Whilst boars are typically larger than sows with a greater body weight, the difference in their body weight is smaller than its variation related to season. (B228.1.w1, B260.1.w1)
  • Seasonal variation in body weight "overshadows" that related to age and sex. (B142)
  • The body weight of hedgehogs falls from autumn through winter to spring and then rises again through the summer to the autumn. (J205.S380.w3)
  • Erinaceus europaeus individuals resident in mainland and eastern Europe are commonly larger that British animals. (B228.1.w1, B254.2.w2, B254.3.w3, B260.1.w1)
  • Hedgehogs tend to increase in size and body weight with age. (B254.2.w2)
  • Hedgehog body weight is governed by seasonal variation in the availability of food. (B254.2.w2)
  • In general, males of Erinaceus  spp. may be larger than females. (B287)
  • Males may be larger than females on average but only very slightly (5%). (B255.6.w6)
  • Greatest weights recorded in a laboratory breeding colony were male 1440 g and female 1355 g. (B271.29.w29)
  • Average in males 900 g in June rising to 1200 g in September or October with a maximum weight recorded of 1440 g; females 800 g in January rising to 1000 g in July, with a maximum weight recorded of 1355 g. (B255.2.w2)
  • Weight of both males and females drops during hibernation, reaching 30% below peak weights (July to September) in January to April. (J206.84.w1)
  • Males averaged 12.8 +/- 2.1% greater weight than females. (J206.84.w1)
Neonate / Young SUMMARY: The weight of hoglets at birth is variable and may range from 8-25 g. Hoglets at the top end of this range may be considered abnormally large and may lead to difficulties with parturition.
  • Birth weight is reported to be between 12-25 g / 0.4-0.9 oz (B52); 10-25 g (B142, B285.w1); 12-25 g / 0.4-0.9 oz(B144); about 15 g(B147); 10.7 g, 8-12.2 g average 15 g, males 12.8-20.12 g, average 16.1 g, (n=7) females 11.9-25.14 average 17.17 g (n=5); (B287); 8-25.14 g. (B255.4.w4)
  • Production of very large hoglets (including one individual 24.5g) has been recorded associated with protracted delivery, stillborn hoglets and maternal death a few days later. (J23.6.w1)

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Growth Rate

SUMMARY: Hoglets grow rapidly but there may be considerable variations in weight between individuals of any litter. The head-body length may reach about 16cm by weaning; weight may reach about 120-350g by weaning and about 600g prior to hibernation. 
  • At four days old 10-40 g average 26.5 g. (B255.4.w4)
  • Weight 125-345 g at 40 days old. (B287)
  • Body weight approximately 120 g at weaning. (B142)
  • There are often considerable variations in weight between individuals within one litter as well as between different litters. Data for 54 individuals gave weight at 4-4.5 days of 10-40 g, average 26.5 g, for 32 individuals at seven days range 21.5-61.5 g average 40 g, with a seven- to eight-fold increase in body weight by three weeks and weights ranging from 125-345 g at 40 days (weaning age). (J23.6.w1)
  • Head-body length approximately 16 cm at weaning. (B142, B287)
  • First year hedgehogs typically reach a body weight of approximately 600 g prior to hibernation. (B254.24.w24) ; a minimum of 450 g is required to survive hibernation. (B142)

Typical hedgehog weights at different stages of life and times of year have been given as follows:

  • Newly weaned juveniles: weight range about 120-150 g;
  • One-year-old animals after winter: weight range about 400-500 g;
  • Adults after winter: weight range about 450-600 g;
  • Pregnant females in mid-summer: weight range about 750 g or more;
  • Adult males before winter: Weight range about 650-1500 g;
  • Adult females before winter: Weight range about 600-1000 g;
  • Occasional very old and fat individuals may reach 2 kg, especially if they have been overfed in captivity.

(B262.2.w2)

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Authors & Referees

Authors Becki Lawson (V.w26); Debra Bourne (V.w5)
Referee Suzanne I. Boardman (V.w6); Nigel Reeve (V.w57)

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