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Subject: Hedgehog FAQ [6/7] - Advanced Topics in Hedgehoggery

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Last-modified: 24 August 2014 Version: 3.185 HEDGEHOG FAQ (part 6 of 7) -- ADVANCED TOPICS IN HEDGEHOGGERY Compiled and edited by Brian MacNamara (macnamara@hedgehoghollow.com) Additions, corrections, and suggestions for this file are welcomed. This document is copyright 2014 by Brian MacNamara. See section [0.6] for authorship information and redistribution rights. In short, you can give it away, but you can't charge for it. The basic Hedgehog FAQ has seven parts, all of which should be available from wherever you obtained this one. A complete table of contents for all seven parts is given below. Please note: While my knowledge of hedgehogs has grown (far beyond my wildest expectations when I began the FAQ), my knowledge is still quite limited, especially in areas of health care. I did not write, or verify, all the information in this FAQ. I have done my best to include only accurate and useful information, but I cannot guarantee the correctness of what is contained in this FAQ, regardless of the source, or even that it will not be harmful to you or your hedgehog in some way. For advice from an expert, I recommend you consult the books listed in part 2 [2.1], or, especially in the case of a suspected medical problem, a veterinarian who is familiar with hedgehogs. ------------------------------ Subject: CONTENTS OF THIS FILE 10. *** Breeding, babies, and advanced issues *** <10.1> Breeding <10.2> General care for babies <10.3> Hand feeding baby hedgehogs <10.4> Colours, types, and species - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 10. *** Breeding, babies, and advanced issues *** ------------------------------ Subject: <10.1> Breeding Breeding hedgehogs can be both the most rewarding, and the most heart-wrenching of endeavors. Few activities can come close to matching the wonders and pleasures of having babies, but at the same time the dangers involved, and problems that can arise are very great. I'm not going to try and cover all the basics of animal husbandry, here -- that's a topic better left to many books on the subject. I'm only going to address hedgehog issues. Besides, if you don't know the basics of husbandry and breeding, you should not be considering it -- at least not yet. Baby hedgehogs are nothing short of addictively cute. If you think an adult can steal your heart, beware that a mother being followed by a litter of adorable little hoglets is many levels of magnitude cuter. The reason for this warning is that it can be very easy to fall into the trap of breeding just to enjoy the babies. There is an immense responsibility that goes with breeding, and it should not be undertaken lightly -- these are living, feeling animals, and that thought must always be at the forefront of your mind. If you are going to breed, make very very sure of the following, first: (1) That you are willing to risk losing the mother, due to complications! (2) That you can find good, caring homes for ALL the babies. This can certainly include you, but remember, you may need as many as 8 new cages or enclosures to keep the results of one litter! (3) If there are complications with the birth, or problems with the babies, it might entail some not inconsiderable veterinary bills. (4) If mom rejects the babies, you might have to take care of them (a very considerable effort), or have them put to sleep. Okay, you've considered the points, above, and you want to breed your hedgehog(s). The following will cover various points of breeding. For actual caring for the babies (with or without mom), please see sections [10.2] and [10.3] [Credit for much of what follows is largely thanks to various breeder friends that I've met over the past few years, and some of my own, minor experiences. I hope you will forgive me for not listing you by name, as the points are `mostly' a blend of all your wisdom! -Ed.] I would strongly recommend that you seek out an experienced hedgehog breeder and spend some time talking with him/her. I don't have the experience or the space to cover all the information that you really should know. Also, having someone you can turn to with questions will prove more than invaluable. First, a few guidelines for deciding who, of prickly nature, to put together for the romantic event. To breed hedgehogs, obviously, the minimum you need is a male and a female, but there are many other points to consider. Breeding of ill tempered hedgehogs is not a good idea, breeding of related hedgehogs can also be a bad idea. Choose the hedgehogs to be bred with some care. This can be for colour, temperament, or other values, but don't be indiscriminant. Females should not be bred before at least 5 months of age, as they have not finished growing and maturing themselves. Once bred, the hormonal changes will basically stop further maturation, and the drain on their metabolisms caused by having babies while still trying to grow themselves, can have permanent adverse affects on their health. Males, too, should not be bred before about 4-5 months, although the side effects are not as problematic for them. The biggest problem is that they just may not be up to the task, at least as well as they should be. Also, don't breed a female for the first time, if she is beyond 1.5 years old. If you do, there is a very good chance that the bones in her pelvic area will have fused, such that she will not be able to have the babies. If you are not sure how old she is, but suspect she may be beyond 1.5, don't risk it! There is also a point at about 3.5 years of age, when many females become menopausal. Breeders will often note that litter sizes may taper off as this age is approached. Finally, after each litter, it is important to give your female a break to recover from the effort. I would not recommend any more than 3 litters per year. Beyond that is going to place an unnecessary drain on the female, and affect her health (and her ability to produce and care for ongoing litters). More than this number of litters per year really suggests that you are not breeding hedgehogs, but trying to run a production line. Breeding hedgehogs is not difficult, but it does come with a wide variety of problems. Probably most notable is that mother hedgehogs will tend to eat the babies if disturbed at all for a few days prior to, and for up to about 10 days after the birth. This can be heartbreaking and very frustrating to would be breeders. By our (human) standards, this sort of thing is unthinkable, and very hard to accept. Before you think too badly of hedgehogs for this, take a look at their natural environment. In the wild, any kind of disturbance is all but certainly a predator that WILL eat the babies (mom can and will try to defend them, but in a burrow, there's only so much she can hope to do). Because finding enough food and energy to develop the babies is a very difficult thing in the rather harsh conditions in which our little friends are native, mother hedgehogs cannot afford to lose all of that. In the end, it's a matter of survival to ``reabsorb'' the babies, in this way, then to lose all of that to a passing predator. If all are lost, try again in 3 months. If losing litters continues to happen, it might be that the female is just not cut out to be a mom, and it would be better not to breed her. So, for the actual amourous encounter, what is needed? Actually, not that much. Simply put the two loverhogs together, sit back, and watch the fun. Male hedgehogs know what to do (females do as well, but will often play hard to get). Males will usually squeak very loudly and plaintively when they encounter a female -- and the actual courtship antics are usually VERY entertaining. There are opinions both ways on whose cage (hers or his) to use, but most breeders seem to prefer to use the male's cage, under the assumption that the female will be more receptive, and the male will feel less out of place and more inclined to do his `duty.' It is wise to remove as many items from the cage as is reasonable, while they are together, such as wheels, extra dens, and items that make good hiding places for a female who wants to defend her honour. Even so, you can pretty much count on the entire cage being severely `redecorated' frequently and often! Hedgehogs DO have a `heat,' or estrus cycle, and are not entirely induced ovulators, as had been previously thought. The cycle is typically about 9 days on, followed by 7 days off, but is not absolute. In order to catch the cycle, many breeders will put the male and female together for about 4-5 days, separate them for 4 days, then put them back together for another 4-5 days. Others breeders have suggested using a single 10-day period, while others still will use only a single 3-day get together, observing the female to see if she is responsive. Experience and trial and error will likely be your best guides here. If you have spoken to a breeder with experience, try the schedule that they use, or one of the schedules mentioned here. In most cases, the pair will get along quite well, but do watch out as sometimes fights will occur. Once the romance has passed, it is now time to separate the pair. Now that mating is over, the father to be, can drop out of the picture, as he plays no further role in what follows. Keeping the male in with the female when the babies arrive is virtually guaranteed to have them both eat the babies. Is your female pregnant? Well, this is another place that I can only offer theory. Personally, I have gotten it wrong (both ways) far more often than right! As you might guess, it can be quite difficult to tell if a hedgehog is pregnant, but there are some clues to look for. Probably one of the best methods is to weigh her every few days, and watch for a weight gain. Obviously, this goes part and parcel with an increase in appetite. Next, if you are very careful, and gentle, you can palpate her abdomen, and you `may' be able to feel the babies as she gets closer to the birthing date. Achieving good results with this is very difficult, even for experienced breeders, so don't be dismayed if you can't tell anything from it. Another sign to watch out for is that her teats or nipples (which run in two rows along the sides of her tummy, will become more enlarged, and more obvious. As time gets closer to the birth, typically within about the last week, there are a few more signs. One of these to look for is the odour from her urine often becomes noticably stronger. She may also exhibit signs of `nesting' where she may make piles of bedding material, or even block up her den entrance. She will also likely lose appetite in the day or so prior to the babies being born. In spite of these signs, it's easy to be wrong in thinking she may be pregnant when she is not, or that she is not pregnant when she is. Trust me! This is one place I have AMPLE personal experience to speak from! Because of this, I strongly recommend that you always assume that she IS pregnant until WELL past her last possible due date. Speaking of the due date, the gestation period for hedgehogs is approximately 35 days. I have heard of births happening from about 33 days through to about 42, so the 35 is not absolute. Most will be within the 34-37 day range, however. This generally brings us to the end of the actual breeding topic. I will add a few further comments, here, as they relate to the mother, and health issues, but I would direct you to section [10.2] on general care for the babies which really takes up where this description leaves off. After the birth, mom's appetite will likely skyrocket. Give her all the high-quality food she wants. This is not a time for diets, as she is trying to produce enough milk for her hungry hoglets. She will also go through a lot more fresh water than normal. Just be careful about disturbances as you go into her cage to feed or water her. If mom appears overly exhausted, or wobbly, extra vitamins or supplements, such as KMR (Kitten Milk Replacement) may help. Also treats (not too much) of cottage cheese or sour cream may help keep her calcium levels up, as she produces large quantities of hedgehog milk. The good news is that there really isn't much for you to do -- it's largely a case of mom knows best. Following the birth, keep an eye on the mother for possible complications. If mom either loses the babies (not that unusual) or seems very inactive, possibly lying out of her den, and/or not eating, it may be that she has suffered a problem during birth, or that one or more babies are still caught inside her. If you think this might be the case, get her to a veterinarian, quickly -- especially if she lost her babies, and is acting like this. There is much a vet can do to help in a situation like this, but it is imperitive that you get her there quickly. The longer the problem exists, the greater the likelihood that you will lose the mother in addition to the babies. Recently, Matt Scott sent me a great synopsis of birthing dos and don'ts and especially on dealing with mothers that attack or reject their babies. It covers things much better than I could: Of course the ideal situation is to leave the babies with their mother as her milk will provide not only the proper balance of nutrients, protein and fats, but also necessary antibodies to help the babies fight a world of germs in infections. Now there are good mothers and bad mothers in this world but sadly it's impossible to know what you have until the first litter arrives. Good mothers tend to their babies, nurse them and raise the litter without problems. Bad mothers sometimes reject and other times attack their babies, but most mothers can be taught to care for their young. Minimizing stress before and after birth is paramount. Keep the mother in a dark, quiet corner covered with a sheet with an abundance of bedding, food and water so you don't need to enter the cage. If the mother gets stressed for any reason she can kill the babies, especially if she is nervous in the first place (a huffy hedgehog). If this happens there are still some things that can be tried to turn things around. The easiest approach is to leave the father in the cage with her throughout the pregnancy and child rearing, often with rodents the father will defend the babies from a bad mother and persuade her to nurse. Removing the father should be done immediately after she is impregnated if he is to be moved, removing him just before birth will stress the mother significantly. A more time consuming approach is to distract the mother with a treat she likes (I've heard of jello cubes working well as well as slices of banana or mango) while the babies are trying to latch on to her nipples. The idea is that she will care more about the treat than the babies, feel full so she is not stressed about a lack of food and even begin to associate suckling with something positive and learn to enjoy it. Of course, if this doesn't work and she still lunges at them you will then have to remove the babies for hand feeding. An alternate approach is to have two pregnant mothers share a cage, one you know is a good mother and the new/bad mother. If you can time the 29 day gestation periods such that the good mother gives birth a day or two before the other mother, and the bad mother still turns on her litter, the good mother will generally defend and adopt the extra babies, nursing them as her own. The idea here is that the bad mother will have a tutor on what to do with babies when the hoglets arrive. Next time she has a litter she will be familiar with how to care for her babies and be able to do it on her own. If the babies must be removed then you have quite a handful for the next few weeks. One thing I learned is that hedgehogs only require 5 to 10% of their body weight in food each 24 hour period. What this means is a newborn hedgehog weighing only 10 to 12 grams can have at most 1 milliliter of formula over the entire day, divided into hourly feedings. This might not seem like very much food, but it is enough to keep them growing and likely more than they would get from their mom in full day of suckling. Babies of any species (birds, fish and mammals) are voracious eaters and commonly eat more than they can handle. In fact, feeding a newborn hedgehog even a little more than this will cause their intestines to impact, stomachs to bloat and distend, and their colon to rupture. Within a couple hours of rupture they will die of septic shock. This was my error, I was so excited to see them eating and pooping (upon stimulation of the perianal area with a warm damp cloth as recommended) that I let them eat until they stopped and it was entirely too much. They all died of sepsis. I got these suggestions from Carol Lavery who is very experienced in breeding many different kinds of rodents and Dr. Ali Ashkar a former vet and current university professor. I think they are valuable for someone who might be in a similar position as me in the future. -- Matt Scott ------------------------------ Subject: <10.2> General care for babies As the due date approaches, mom will often stop eating the day before, and will also often go into nesting mode, and may go as far as to wall up her den against access. It is very important that you do not disturb her for a couple of days before she is due, and for several days after the babies arrive. Doing so will often result in the babies being eaten [10.1]. A couple of days before you expect that she is due, it is a good idea to give her cage a thorough cleaning (without stressing her too much), as you will not be able to, again, for several days. The babies will `usually' arrive during the night, and may be announced by a slight scream or squeak, although I've never heard this, myself. You will probably be able to hear the babies squeak from the nest, after they have been born. Here are some guidelines on dealing with new hoglets. In general, the two main things are to avoid disturbing them (and mom) and that mother knows best. As a reminder, the gestation period is approximately 35 days. You should avoid disturbing a pregnant female or new mother for about 5 days before and 5-10 days after the birth. During this time, be careful and quiet during feeding and cleanup. The babies will usually announce their presence with squeaks. When you hear this -- it's time to go into tiptoe mode. The babies can be born over a period of several hours, and maintaining absolute quiet during this time is important. Mom should have a safe, secure-feeling den to have the babies in. This will help her feel safe and relaxed. For the first 5-10 days, don't peek! And I mean don't peek!!! After this time, depending on how mom reacts, you can start handling the babies. If you do want to check on the babies, do it when mom is out eating, or better yet, lure her out with a treat, and remove her from the cage for a romp while you check on the babies. But do wait until the babies are at least 3-5 days old before doing this. Take your cues from mom. If she gets hostile, vocal, or visibly upset, by your presence, don't push it. Some mothers are very secure and don't mind leaving the babies alone for a few minutes, while others get frantic when separated. Make sure that mom has as much food as she wants. She will eat a LOT more than usual at this time. You might even want to supplement her diet with some cottage cheese, sour cream, or the like, to help boost her calcium input. This can be especially important for very young (e.g., accidental) mothers, who are still growing themselves, and who may end up drawing on their own calcium reserves, that they need for bones and teeth, to produce enough milk. If mom does not seem to be eating, put her food dish near the doorway to her nest box or tube -- she may be reluctant to leave the babies. Once the babies are born, you might want to pile up the wood shavings under the end of the tube or nest box where the doorway is, to prevent any babies from rolling out by mistake. Generally this is not a problem, but if you find a baby outside the nest, you might want to consider doing this. If you see a baby out of the nest and away from the rest (some mothers will take their babies out of the nest, but will keep them together -- this is normal and depends on the mother), you can put it back with the others by using a small spoon. Remember not to touch the baby, or mom is liable to reject it. If mom seems to be rejecting a baby, keep trying to put it back with the others (using the spoon method). If the practise continues, and the baby appears not to be getting any mother's milk, you may want to consider hand feeding the rejected baby [10.3]. Babies will begin to venture from the nest when 2-3 weeks old about the same time they start sampling mom's food. Babies are weaned at 4-6 weeks. They start to eat solid food around the 3rd week. If the food you are using is quite hard, you can offer some that has been dampened to make it softer to help get the babies started. Babies raised in a cage with a litter box will usually learn to use the litter box (especially if mom uses it). If mom doesn't use a litter box, you might need to do a little coaxing (scooping up some of the droppings and adding them to the litter box). Remember to separate the babies by sex [10.2] after they are weaned so you don't accidently start on yet another generation. Make sure you do this before they reach 8-weeks of age! Make sure that they are eating solid food and drinking on their own. Above all, if you lose any or all the babies, or if Mom happens to eat any or all, don't let it bother you too much. This sort of thing, especially the latter, is very hard for people to deal with but it is perfectly natural for hedgehogs. Some of the reasons why mother hedgehogs might kill, eat, or reject their babies are as follows: They were disturbed. In the wild, almost any kind of disturbance means a predator is there and it will almost certainly eat the babies. Rather than lose the very hard won nutrients that she put into producing the babies, mother hedgehogs will `reabsorb' them herself in the hopes of being able to use it for another litter later on. This seems very harsh, but it's only a reflection of the environment that they developed in. Mom thinks something's wrong. If mom thinks one or more babies are not right (deformed or if they otherwise have problems that she can detect), she may kill or `reabsorb' them with the understanding that they wouldn't have survived long anyway. Mom's not secure. If mom feels conditions are not right for bringing up babies (not enough food, or not the right nutrients/vitamins/etc.) she may feel that they are not likely to survive, or that she won't be able to provide for all of them. Mom's too young or immature. If mom is too young, or often with her first litter, she may just not know what to do, or can't deal with the babies. This doesn't necessarily mean she will be a bad mother -- I've heard of many who after losing a first litter, or even a second, went on to be excellent moms with later litters. If a female eats more than two of her litters, it's probably not a good idea to keep trying. Again, if worst comes to worst, and you lose some or all the babies, don't let it get you down. Just concentrate on what you do have. As the babies grow, various events will begin to take place. This is a very rough timeline on baby African pigmy hedgehog growth: Early on the `birth' quills will be replaced by the first set of baby quills. The eyes will open by around the week 3. At about week 3-4 the babies will begin to start tasting solid food. You can help things out here by offering dry food which has been dampened to make it softer, or by using some canned food. Generally, though, most babies will manage very well in very short order -- it IS food after all, and these are starving baby hedgeHOGs! By about week 6, the babies should be well on their way to being weaned. Some will hold out until week 7, but by then they should all be on solid food. No doubt much to mom's relief! Finally, by the time the babies reach week 8, they need to be separated from mom -- at least you need to separate any males, or you risk both mom, and any female babies becoming pregnant -- neither of which are in any condition to handle it at this stage! ------------------------------ Subject: <10.3> Hand feeding baby hedgehogs One of the most difficult times for hedgehog owners comes if a new mother hedgehog rejects some or all of her babies, or otherwise can't manage to provide for all of them. Unfortunately, it is fairly common for hedgehogs to eat their babies [10.1], and/or reject them, especially if it is a first litter, or if the mother was disturbed (mother hedgehogs need considerable peace and quiet). Many hedgehog owners are bothered quite badly by these actions on the part of the hedgehog, as they are extremely foreign concepts to humans, but they are (sadly) perfectly natural and normal amongst hedgehogs. Before deciding to hand feed, try returning rejected babies to the nest (using a spoon to avoid getting your scent on them), or if possible by fostering with another mother who is nursing (rub the babies in bedding from that mother's cage to have them smell familiar). Many breeders will purposely breed two females at the same time for this purpose, though I caution that fostering does not always work. All that having been said, what do you do if you decide you need to hand feed baby hedgehogs? The first thing is to convince yourself that sleep is an undesirable luxury, as you will be feeding the babies every 2-3 hours (yes, that means night and day) for about 3+ weeks. If you're still up to trying, what do you feed them, and how? I'll address the easy part first -- how. For this, among the best items are plastic syringes (without needles), eye-droppers, or plastic pipettes (the type with the suction bulb at the end). The idea is to be able to provide a minute but reasonably available stream of 'milk' to the baby in a controlled manner. Next is the question of what to feed them. Generally, the rule about avoiding or limiting cows' milk for adult hedgehogs also applies to babies, and maybe even more so. That having been said, I have heard of one little tyke who wouldn't drink anything else, and at last word was doing just fine. Robyn Gorton, who was studying hedgehogs in New Zealand, passed along the following information on caring for babies. Although her work is with European hedgehogs, the information is quite applicable to African pigmy hedgehogs as well. I find that caring for the young is simple enough as long as you have a good milk to feed them. I have discovered that sheeps' milk is the closest in composition to hhog milk and acts as an excellent substitute when mixed with raw egg. It may for the first few days cause swelling of the anus, but as soon as they start teething (3 weeks) you can add mashed banana for fibre and their problems clear up. It's a very high protein diet but one must watch for a vitamin B deficiency which can be caused by too much raw egg. I had my two hoglets suckling on a syringe for the first week and 1/2 until their teeth erupted (this takes three days for a full set to emerge!!) then simply start using a saucer and they will naturally feed from it themselves. I've also heard of using goats' milk, similar to what Robyn suggested above, though I trust her research as far sheeps' milk being closer to hedgehog milk. I do need to caution, however, about the use of raw eggs, as they can cause problems of their own [6.2] -- this, however, may be one situation where bending those rules is worthwhile. What do you do if you don't have a friendly goat or sheep, or can't easily find sheeps' or goats' milk? Many pet stores and pet supply stores carry KMR (Kitten Milk Replacement). It's usually in powdered form, which makes it handy for the small quantities you will need. I've seen quite a few articles from breeders who have used this with great success, some go on to recommend that most hedgehog breeders should keep a container of KMR around, just in case. Recently (June/2005), I've heard from Cindy, who reported serious problems from using KMR. Having used it successfully, myself, in the past, I'm not whether this has to do with the form (powdered versus canned), or perhaps there has been a change in the formula (it has been some time since I last used it), but the caution and suggestions are always worth mentioning, especially when it appears there are some excellent alternatives, as she suggests. At the very least, whenever you feed a baby hedgehog by hand, please make VERY sure that you follow the steps to induce them to defecate afterwards -- not doing so will certainly cause bloating and lead to tragedy. KMR makes them bloat, then comes the internal bleeding, then they die. I have had the best luck with puppy esbilac with just a few grains of crushed lactaid. If you see any sign of bloating, give them just a drop of baby gas drops containing simethicone. -- Cindy I've also heard of Esbilac (human baby formula) being used successfully, to offer yet another option. Anja van der Werf pointed out to me that when you are trying to use human formula, make sure it is soy-based rather than based on cows' milk. One thing to watch out for in feeding baby hedgehogs, is that after each feeding you must stimulate them to defecate and urinate, otherwise their bladder and bowel will swell up and can even burst. To do this, simply stroke along their tummy towards the anus, which simulates a mother licking and grooming her babies. You can also do this with a warm damp tissue or cloth. The idea isn't to squeeze anything out, just to stimulate the baby to do it's business. Remember that hand raising baby hedgehogs is very difficult, and if you try and meet with tragedy, remember that you gave them much more of a chance than they would have had without you. Whatever happens, don't give up and decide that hedgehogs are bad, or that it's not worth having hoglets -- it's just hedgehog nature, and next time may well be nothing short of magical. ------------------------------ Subject: <10.4> Colours, types, and species As was noted back in [3.1], the hedgehogs kept as pets throughout much of the world are a hybrid of Algerian and White-Bellied hedgehogs. Most of the colours, and variations that we see can be traced to these two species, and many are the result of the interbreeding of the various original species. Of course, Long-eared hedgehogs are also kept as pets in various places, but I regret that I don't have enough knowledge to offer any useful comments on them. The same applies to those other species which are occasionally kept as pets. As a result, most of this section will focus on the Algerian/White-Bellied hybrid type. At last check there were roughly 100 colour variations known, and others which were hypothisized. So far, this is all without mutations being a factor. Here are some examples of hedgehog colours. White-Bellied Hedgehog Colours Dominant Colours: Salt & Pepper Dark Grey Grey Chocolate Brown Cinnamon Dark Cinnicot Black-Eyed Cinnicot Ruby-Eyed Cinnicot Champagne Apricot Snowflake Colours: Silver - the recessive of Salt & Pepper Silver Charcoal - the recessive of Dark Grey or Double rec. of Grey Charcoal - the recessive of Grey Chocolate Chip - the recessive of Chocolate Brown Snowflake - the recessive of Brown or double rec. Choc. Chip (Cinnamon) Snowflake - the recessive of Cinnamon Silver-Cinnamon Snowflake - the double recessive of Cinnamon Dark Cinnacot Snowflake - the recessive of Dark Cinnacot or the double recessive of Black-Eyed Cinnacot Black-Eyed Cinnacot Snowflake - the recessive of Black-Eyed Cinnacot Ruby-Eyed Cinnacot Snowflake - the recessive of Ruby-Eyed Cinnacot Champagne Snowflake - the recessive of Champagne or double recessive of Ruby-Eyed Cinnacot Apricot Snowflake - the recessive of Apricot Pale Apricot Snowflake - the double recessive of Apricot White Colours: The White category comprises those animals that possess almost 100% solid white spines. The few banded spines that these hedgehogs have are localized to the forehead area, with a few possible across the remainder of the back. These few banded spines on the back, however, should count no more than 10. Any more than this and it is categorized as a Snowflake. White is a dilute (prime) of the recessive snowflake. Although not all are listed here, there is a total of 15 White possibilities in the White-Bellied colour spectrum. Platinum - the dilute of Salt & Pepper Silver Charcoal White - the dilute of Dark Grey Charcoal White - the dilute of Grey Chocolate White - the dilute of Chocolate Brown White - the dilute of Brown White - the dilute of Cinnamon Albino - Albinos are unique due to the total lack of pigmentation. Algerian Colours: Black Algerian Dark Grey Algerian Grey Algerian Chocolate Algerian Brown Algerian Cinnamon Algerian Champagne Algerian Just a reminder that this is not a comprehensive list of colours, but is intended more as a guide. Also, when breeding for colours, it is imperative that you make sure you do not lose sight of temperament, and basics of good husbandry in pursuit of a colour goal -- doing so is not gaining anyone, or any hedgehog anything. - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -- Brian MacNamara - macnamara@HedgehogHollow.COM Hedgehog Hollow: http://HedgehogHollow.COM/