Do Hedgehogs Get Periods?
It’s an age-old query – do hedgehogs get periods? The answer to this intriguing conundrum is yes and no. Like many animals, hedgehogs possess the anatomy necessary to have a reproductive cycle, however, they do not have traditional menstrual cycles.
Female hedgehogs experience a process known as oestrus, which is a period in which they are able to become pregnant. Oestrus is more closely related to a male mammal’s rut than a menstrual cycle, as female hedgehogs are only receptive to mate during this phase of their life.
Here is what you need to know about oestrus cycles in hedgehogs:
- Timing: Oestrus cycles take place in the summer, usually lasting anywhere from 2-4 weeks
- Male hedgehogs: The smell of a female in oestrus will cause males to become more aggressive and begin seeking out a mate
- Frequency: Female hedgehogs in the wild will have a single oestrus cycle, while captive hedgehogs may have multiple oestrus cycles in a single year.
Subordinate Oestrus Cycles
While female hedgehogs don’t experience true menstrual cycles, they do experience a weaker version of it. These weakerversions of oestrus cycles, known as subordinate oestrus cycles, happen when females are exposed to multiple males and one has not been successful in mating. These secondary cycles occur when females undergo a “pseudopregnancy” period and may experience slight bleeding.
It is important to remember that female hedgehogs in captivity are much more likely to experience these subordinate oestrus cycles than hedgehogs in the wild. Domestic hedgehogs can experience multiple oestrus cycles in a single year and this can lead to the female having more frequent subordinate oestrus cycles.
To sum it up, female hedgehogs do not experience true menstrual cycles as humans do, but they do experience oestrus cycles and subordinate oestrus cycles. These reproductive cycles are essential for hedgehog populations to survive in the wild, but they are more common in captive hedgehogs due to their environment.