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Thread: age decline?

  1. #1
    Senior Member Jednine's Avatar
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    age decline?

    I read in one of the posts on here the other day (i forget which one!) that hedgehogs are having shorter and shorter life spans from when they were first bred to be pets. One of the theories was that the interbreeding of hardier wild stock had better genes... or something like that, so my question is this: is anyone out there trying to introduce wild hedgehogs back into the gene pool to strengthen the blood lines again?
    ~Kozmo (hedgehog) ~Juliette (human)


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  2. #2
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    Re:age decline?

    I think the problem is getting a balance between a friendly hedgehog and a healthy one. Wild hedgehogs are even more skiddish and aloof that the ones we have as pets. Breeders don\'t breed just their healthiest animals. They breed for temperament also, and they have been working very hard for years to breed friendly hedgehogs. If not you would not have the lovable pet you have in your lap that you want to live forever.

    Here is the wikipedia page on hybrid vigor (Heterosis). Thats what you are talking about when you said they had \"better genes or something like that\" Just in case you want to know more about it. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hybrid_vigor

    That is what I know. Everything else will be better answered by a breeder.
    Becky and Peanut

  3. #3
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    Re:age decline?

    Yes, the original hedgehogs bred in North America DID have longer lifespans. I believe this was mostly due to hybrid vigor, which basically means that breeding two types of animals together briefly gives you a stronger more healthy animal. This only holds true for the first few generations though. After it wore off, our lifespans DID drop dramatically. I personally think we are slowly making the crawl back up though. Quality breeders are breeding to reduce the frequency of genetically related illnesses, we are learning more all the time about hedgehog care which makes them less likely to die from our own stupidity, and we are raising friendlier animals, which makes it easier to recognize health issues early on so they can be dealt with. I don\'t know if we will ever get back to quite the life expectancy that we had in the first couple of generations (10 years old was quite possible for a while) but I think we will definately make progress.
    Becca

  4. #4
    Senior Member Jednine's Avatar
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    Re:age decline?

    thank you very much Aaria and dzmeadows! I knew temperament was a big part of (good) breeding. It\'s interesting that after a hybrid the first few generations are like \"super\" creatures... it\'s rather strange. Thank you :cheer:
    ~Kozmo (hedgehog) ~Juliette (human)


    I have an Etsy page! http://www.etsy.com/shop/Vanillabeana

    I have hedgehog things on Zazzle! http://www.zazzle.com/vanillabeana/h...t=date_created

  5. #5

    Re:age decline?

    Yes, thank you for those thoughtful responses. I learn something every day here! :cheer:

    andrea

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