How to Find Out the Number of Times a Hedgehog's Heart Beats Per Minute

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Hedgehogs have a spiny coat, so be careful when you check their pulse.
Hedgehogs have a spiny coat, so be careful when you check their pulse. (Image: John Foxx/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

The hedgehog is a mammal known for its spiny exterior. There are several different varieties of hedgehogs with natural habitats spanning from Europe, Asia and Africa. The heart rate of hedgehogs can vary depending on the time of year and their activity level. For instance, while hibernating, a hedgehog's heart rate can be as slow as five beats per minute; at normal activity levels, its heart rate can reach 280 beats per minute. Finding a hedgehog's heart rate requires patience and a soothing touch; however, it is relatively easy to determine.

Things You'll Need

  • Durable gloves
  • Watch

Put on a durable, spike-resistant glove. This will prevent the hedgehog's spines from poking your hands.

Roll the hedgehog onto its side to expose its neck, using your gloved hand.

Hold the hedgehog down gently with the gloved hand. Use a soothing touch so as not to aggravate the hedgehog when pushing down.

Place the ring finger of your non-gloved hand very gently on the hedgehog's neck. Place your middle finger and index finger beside the ring finger on the hedgehog's neck as well. Then, lift up your ring and middle finger so that your index finger is still on the neck of the hedgehog. This will ensure your index finger is properly over the neck artery of the hedgehog.

Count the number of heartbeats you feel for 15 seconds. If you are having trouble feeling the pulse in the neck, move your finger slightly left of center of the hedgehog's chest and count the number of beats from this location.

Multiply by 4 the number of heartbeats you counted in 15 seconds to find the number of hedgehog heartbeats per minute.

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