Obesity is actually advanced overweight, often to the point where it becomes dangerous to the hedgehog’s health. Overweight is a common problem for many hedgehogs in captivity due to a lack of education about a good diet and maintaining the right feeding habits. Overweight can also be genetically predisposed, but often it is a combination of these causes. A little bit of excess weight usually doesn’t do much harm, unless the hedgehog already has an underlying disease that can make the complaints worse. However, with advanced overweight and obesity, it can lead to serious health problems such as diabetes, fatty liver disease, kidney disease, eye fat and increased risk of cancer. It is therefore very important to monitor the weight of the hedgehog and to intervene in time. On average, dwarf hedgehogs such as White-bellied cones weigh about 250 to 400 grams. Above 500 grams, most dwarf hedgehogs already suffer from serious overweight and above that from obesity. Larger species of hedgehogs weigh between 700 and 1500 grams.
You can easily monitor a hedgehog to see if they are overweight. Even if the weight is above or below average, the best way is to view the hedgehog from above, when it is standing and not walking. The body should then resemble a drop. The muzzle has a triangular shape and it flows nicely into the flanks, which preferably run straight, but can also be slightly convex. The hindquarters (from the hips to the back) are nicely rounded. A round potato shape means serious obesity. Conversely, the flanks should not be hollow either, then the hedgehog will suffer from serious underweight.
An underweight hedgehog.
A hedgehog at a healthy weight.
An overweight hedgehog.