Articles on basic care and considerations for new or prospective owners.
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Learn more about hedgehog colors!
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Meet the hedgehogs of Hedgehog Valley!
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or have called Hedgehog Valley
Predicting A Hedgehog's Adult Color From Its Baby Color
The often heard comment that “hedgehogs like to keep us guessing” is especially true when it comes to trying to predict what color a baby hedgehog will grow up to be. As a breeder, this can be very frustrating when people want to purchase a baby in a specific color. Some people get very irritated when told that I can't promise that babies from white parents will grow up to be whites, or that babies from apricot parents will grow up to be apricots! I can't because they just might or might not! I prefer to watch and wait before promising a specific color. What happens while we wait?
Initially, all babies are born pink and without quills, but within about an hour, they start to get little white quills. Over the next day or so, if they are going to be a darker hedgehog, they begin to get some pigment to the skin and quills with pigmented bands. Sometimes these banded quills have really odd shades of gray or tan and you might think they are going to be a new color of hedgehog, but this is temporary. After about two to three weeks, they go through a quilling process and get a second set of baby spines that may be another different shade. The adult quills usually start to emerge when baby is about 6 to 8 weeks old. A hedgehog that will be a white or snowflake usually looks just like any other solid color hedgehog baby until this process begins.
By the time that babies are about three weeks old, the eyes open. If the hedgehog is Algerian or in the darker color range, then the eyes will look black. If the hedgehog is going to be in the lighter color range, then its eyes will look red. An albino will have pink eyes. Sometimes eyes can look garnet colored at 3 weeks old, but may darken to black by 6 or so weeks old in the case of a dark cinnacot or a black- eyed cinnacot. The skin and nose may also slightly darken in pigment, so that a baby that looked apricot at 1 or 2 weeks may look like a red-eyed cinnacot at 3 weeks, and a black-eyed cinnacot at 6 weeks. Likewise, a baby that is very, very dark and has black spines at 3 weeks may lighten skin pigment and grow in slightly lighter bands during this time.
With all these changes going on, sometimes it seems like baby changes from day to day or week to week. It can be really fun or really frustrating when trying to guess what the final color will be! One thing that you can tell all along (if it's a darker hedgehog is whether the baby will be a pinto. This is because the areas where the white quills will grow in have only pink skin underneath, while the rest of the skin under the quills is dark. Sometimes the areas grow smaller as the hedgehog grows larger, but you can tell where the spots will be! Most babies finish changing by the time they are about 12 to 16 weeks old. Occasionally, hedgehogs will turn white or snowflake at older ages, but for the most part you only have to wait the 3 to 4 months for the guessing game to be done!
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