How many times per minute does a hedgehog’s heart beat?


A hedgehog is a small, spiny mammal that belongs to the Erinaceidae family. These nocturnal creatures are known for their unique appearance and intriguing behaviors. One of the fascinating aspects of a hedgehog’s anatomy is its heart rate. In this article, we will explore the topic of how many times per minute a hedgehog’s heart beats, diving into various subtopics to provide a comprehensive understanding of this intriguing subject.

The Anatomy of a Hedgehog’s Heart

Before delving into the heart rate of a hedgehog, it is crucial to understand the basic anatomy of their hearts. Like other mammals, hedgehogs possess a four-chambered heart that ensures efficient blood circulation throughout their bodies.

The four chambers include:

  1. Right Atrium: Receives deoxygenated blood from the body through the vena cava.
  2. Right Ventricle: Pumps deoxygenated blood to the lungs for oxygenation.
  3. Left Atrium: Receives oxygenated blood from the lungs through the pulmonary veins.
  4. Left Ventricle: Pumps oxygenated blood to the rest of the body through the aorta.

Factors Affecting a Hedgehog’s Heart Rate

Several factors influence the heart rate of a hedgehog. Understanding these factors is crucial in comprehending the variations in their heart rates. Some of the key influences on a hedgehog’s heart rate include:

1. Activity Level

A hedgehog’s heart rate varies based on its activity level. When a hedgehog is at rest, its heart rate tends to be lower compared to when it is engaged in physical activity or experiencing stress. This variation is similar to that seen in other mammals.

2. Environmental Temperature

The ambient temperature can also impact a hedgehog’s heart rate. In colder temperatures, a hedgehog’s heart rate may increase, as it tries to maintain its body temperature. Conversely, in warmer environments, the heart rate may decrease as a means of conserving energy.

3. Age and Size

The age and size of a hedgehog can influence its heart rate as well. Generally, younger hedgehogs tend to have higher heart rates compared to adults. Additionally, smaller hedgehogs may have slightly faster heart rates than their larger counterparts due to their higher metabolic rate.

4. Health and Stress Levels

A hedgehog’s overall health and stress levels can significantly impact its heart rate. Illnesses, injuries, or any sources of stress can cause the heart rate to increase. Conversely, a healthy and stress-free hedgehog may have a lower resting heart rate.

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Measuring a Hedgehog’s Heart Rate

Measuring a hedgehog’s heart rate can be a challenging task due to their small size and spiky exterior. However, with patience and the right techniques, it is possible to obtain accurate readings. Here are a few methods commonly used to measure a hedgehog’s heart rate:

1. Auscultation

Auscultation involves using a stethoscope to listen to the heart sounds. By placing the stethoscope on specific areas of a hedgehog’s chest, such as behind the forelimb or near the sternum, one can detect the heartbeats and determine the heart rate.

2. Doppler Ultrasound

Doppler ultrasound is a non-invasive method that uses sound waves to measure blood flow. By placing a small probe over the chest, the device can detect the heartbeats and provide an accurate heart rate reading.


Electrocardiography (ECG or EKG) is another technique used to measure a hedgehog’s heart rate. This method involves attaching electrodes to the hedgehog’s skin, which detect the electrical impulses generated by the heart. The impulses are then displayed as waves on a monitor, allowing for an accurate heart rate calculation.

Typical Heart Rate Range for Hedgehogs

Now that we have explored the factors influencing a hedgehog’s heart rate and the methods used to measure it, let’s discuss the typical heart rate range for these adorable creatures.

The average resting heart rate for a healthy hedgehog falls between 180 to 250 beats per minute (BPM). However, it is essential to note that heart rates can vary based on the factors mentioned earlier.


In conclusion, a hedgehog’s heart rate is influenced by various factors, including activity level, environmental temperature, age and size, and overall health and stress levels. Measuring a hedgehog’s heart rate can be achieved through auscultation, Doppler ultrasound, or ECG/EKG. The typical heart rate range for a hedgehog at rest is around 180 to 250 BPM. Understanding the intricacies of a hedgehog’s heart rate adds to our knowledge of these remarkable creatures and their physiological adaptations.

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