Hedgehog Running Pace

My little hedgehog finds himself carefully quantified as I adore him each night.

Pet hedgehogs run a lot. Some people install odometers on their wheels to track how long and how far they run each night. Informal surveys of on hedgehog forums suggest the marathoners of the hedgehog world run up to 12 miles (20 km) per night.

Ichnologist Tony Martin told me that for quadrupedal mammals, walking pace stride length is 1.1 to 1.25 times the acetabular distance (length from hip to shoulder). Acetabular distance varies hedgehog, but is somewhere around 5-10cm. Dividing the total distance run by the stride length produces how many pitter-pattering little footsteps a hedgehog manages in a night:

footsteps = odometer distance/(1.2 x acetabular distance)

Hedgehogs are marathon runners.

Hedgehogs are marathon runners.

My tiny friend ran 6.7 kilometers in 2.75 hours last week. The distance from his hip to shoulder is 7 centimeters, so after converting units that’s (6700 m / 1.25 x 0.07 m) = 76,571 footsteps.

For a human, it’s about 2,000 footsteps per mile, so 1,250 footsteps per kilometer. If I were to match my hedgehog step-for-step, I’d need to run just under 61 kilometers.

Marathons are 42.195 kilometers (26.22 miles) long, with the current world records set at 2 hours, 3 minutes for men or 2 hours, 15 minutes for women. Scaled for size, my hedgehog ran just under 1.5 marathons, and for a single marathon, crossed the line at 1 hour, 54 minutes, a record-holding pace.

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One Response to Hedgehog Running Pace

  1. Meg Sylvia says:

    Wow, that is amazing! Never would have thought to do the math like that. You have quite the impressive hedgehog runner! 🙂

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