Hedgehog Care Tips: Everything You Need To Know
Pet hedgehogs have grown in popularity over the last few years, and rightfully so. Though they aren’t the cuddly kind of pet (due to their spiny exterior), these cute critters are fun and offer a different kind of fulfilling pet experience.
The Natural History of Hedgehogs
Originating in areas of Europe, Asia, and Africa, hedgehogs received their name from how they look and where they like to hang out. Their nose resembles that of a pig, or a hog, and they’re often found in the hedges of shrubs and trees.
Hedgehogs are mammals from the subfamily Erinaceinae. Because of their spiny armor, hedgehogs are often assumed to be a distant cousin of the porcupine. However, this misconception is far from the truth as porcupines are actually rodents!
Hedgehogs as House Pets
Historically, the ancient Romans were the first to domesticate hedgehogs. But the modern domestication of hedgehogs only took off in the 1980s. Many breeds of hedgehogs today are hybrids, the most well-known being the African pygmy hedgehog.
The African pygmy hedgehog’s life expectancy is between 4 - 6 years on average, with proper care and healthy living conditions.
Hedgehogs are illegal in some states, so before you make your decision on whether to bring one home, be sure to check your state’s animal laws out before you disappoint yourself (and your other household members!)
Common Breeds of Hedgehogs
The most common breed of hedgehogs is the African pygmy hedgehog, also called the four-toed hedgehog or the white bellied hedgehog. They are usually between 6” - 8” long, making them a great pet for a small household. Other popular pet breeds are the European hedgehog and the long-eared hedgehog.
Where Should You Get Your Hedgehog?
After you have made sure that hedgehogs are permitted in your state, it is always best to go to a legal, recommended breeder. It is very possible that larger pet chains do not carry exotic pets like hedgehogs, so it might be a good idea to check out the smaller, niche pet stores first.
How to Care for Your Pet Hedgehog
In the wild, hedgehogs are very active. They climb, dig, swim, and often go for night runs for miles on end. Because of this, your hedgehog’s enclosure must be big enough to enable their natural behavior. The enclosure should have smooth walls so that they cannot escape. The minimum size of the enclosure should be around 6 square feet, but the more space you can offer, the better.
Hedgehogs are not very social in the wild, except during breeding season. Therefore, if you have more than one hedgehog, it is best to keep them in separate cages, especially if they are both male, since they are likely to fight.
The enclosure should be kept out of direct sunlight, and away from cold, drafty, areas of your home. Clean the cage at least once a week, with odorless, or weakly odored products.
The bedding in the enclosure can be made from a variety of options. We recommend using a towel or fleece to line the bottom since it’s easy to wash.
Hedgehog Enclosure Accessories
Make sure your cage has enough space for an exercise wheel and a hiding spot for your hedgehog to sneak away and sleep in. This hiding spot can be almost anything, from a cardboard box to something you find at the pet store.
The exercise wheel is a very important piece of maintaining your hedgehog’s health. Without enough time to run around in and outside of their enclosure, your hedgehog is at risk of becoming overweight. In fact, obesity is sadly quite common among hedgehogs. Make sure the wheel is solid, and not made of wire; their feet can get stuck in the wires and this may cause fractured limbs. Ideally the wheel should be around 11” to 12” in diameter.
We also encourage you to give your hedgehogs toys to keep them active and entertained. You can put a variety of toys into the cage and see what they like. Some favorites are tubes and balls with bells (like the ones for cats).
Hedgehog Enclosure Temperatures
Another important aspect of your hedgehog’s home is maintaining the right temperature. Hedgehogs feel best in temperatures between 75 - 85 degrees Fahrenheit. Temperatures that are too hot or too cold can make a hedgehog lethargic. Cold temperatures can cause your hedgehog to attempt to hibernate, which can be fatal in captivity. If the temperatures do drop, gradually raise the temperature, and use an indirect heating pad to help gradually warm up your hedgehog. The best method is to hold your hedgehog against your skin. Once it seems like your hedgehog has come back to a normal temperature, bring your hedgehog to the vet.
During the colder months, a simple way to maintain the correct temperature is by using an external heating source, such as a heat lamp like the ones normally used for reptiles. If you choose to set up a heater or a heat bulb, make sure there are multiple thermometers so that you can monitor the heat.
Hedgehog Diet and Nutrition
What Do Hedgehogs Eat?
In the wild, a hedgehog’s diets consist of bugs, plants, and roots. This diet is hard to replicate in captivity. The most balanced diet for your pet hedgehog is a mixture of dry food, live supplements, and treats.
There are food mixtures made specifically for hedgehogs, but they are often not easy to find. No need to worry, there are other options that are just as good. Make sure that the base food is a mixture of 2 - 3 different kinds of meat-rich, dry cat food, with a fat content under 10% (if possible). Fish can be problematic for African pygmies, so it’s recommended to stick with chicken flavor.
Live food is a good supplement for your hedgehog’s diet. Crickets, cockroaches, and mealworms are some of their favorites. Other foods that can be given as occasional treats include scrambled or boiled eggs, peas, broccoli, apple, mashed potato, cooked lamb, chicken or mince, and dog food.
Water should always be available for your hedgehog in its enclosure. Your hedgehog will drink water from a small bowl, which should be cleaned on a regular basis. Some hedgehogs will drink from bottles. If you are checking/testing to see if your hedgehog will drink from a bottle, be sure to include a water bowl in the enclosure during this trial period until you are certain they are drinking from the bottle.
When you first receive your hedgehog, it is important to get them used to being handled by you. Most hedgehogs will become accustomed to your touch if you handle them often, and are careful with them. At first, the natural instinct for hedgehogs is to curl into a ball. After some time, with enough patience, your hedgehog will relax, open up, and start crawling all over you.
The easiest way to make this process smoother is by obtaining your hedgehog when it is at a young age. At first, you should let your hedgehog get used to its new surroundings, and perhaps give it a few days with minimal to no touching. Slowly you will teach your hedgehog to get used to your scent, and then things will get easier (so do not wear gloves.) Be careful not to startle your hedgehog; a startled hedgehog may bite you.
A strange but natural process called self-anointing may happen, where your hedgehog salivates heavily, spreads the saliva all over its back, and contorts into some strange positions. This process is usually triggered by an odd smell. It is nothing to worry about, and some people even find it cute.
A healthy hedgehog needs to run around and let off some steam. After hedgehog-proofing your place, give your buddy time to run around outside of the enclosure.
Hedgehogs are Nocturnal
Hedgehogs sleep during the day and are active at night. Since they start their activity in the evening, before you head to bed would be a good time to spend time with and bond with your hedgehog.
The lifestyle of a nocturnal pet may mean that you’ll want to keep your hedgehog’s enclosure away from your bedroom, especially if you are sensitive to noise. Otherwise it will keep you up all night running on its wheel or playing with its toys.
Hedgehogs are very good at grooming themselves. If you choose to bathe your hedgehog then it should not be done more than once every two weeks. The only real grooming that hedgehogs may require your help in is nail cutting. Since they do not have their natural habitat to do their own filing, you may want to bring your hedgehog to the vet for a manicure, or cut your hedgehog’s nails yourself using a human nail scissor. If you decide to do it yourself, be very careful. Let your hedgehog calm down first, and do not cut too close to the pink flesh. This can cause bleeding.
Need help clipping your hedgehog’s toes?
Medical Care for Your Pet Hedgehog
To ensure a healthy life for your hedgehog, schedule an annual checkup with a specialized exotic pet vet for a physical exam that includes fecal and blood work.
Upon acquiring your hedgehog, you should head to your vet to examine it for common parasites like mites.
Common Hedgehog Health Concerns
Like humans, hedgehogs can also acquire similar diseases such as fatty liver disease, cardiovascular disease, and cancer.
Liver disease and obesity often occur because of unhealthy eating habits, an unbalanced diet, and minimal exercise.
Balloon syndrome is a rare and strange condition of hedgehogs. Gas becomes trapped under the skin, causing the hedgehog to blow up like a balloon. This condition is unique to hedgehogs stemming from the way their skin is built. If you suspect your pet hedgehog has balloon syndrome, bring them to your vet immediately.
Female hedgehogs are also highly prone to uterine tumors. We recommended spaying all female hedgehogs to eliminate the risk of this fatal condition.
How Can I Tell When My Hedgehog Is Sick?
The following are signs that indicate that your hedgehog might be sick. Should you notice any of these signs, schedule an appointment with your nearby vet:
Flakes or crust on the skin, or losing spikes (may be an external parasite)
Blood in feces
Wobbling/loss of control over their limbs
Squealing while urinating/urine discoloration
Cloudy discharge from the nose
Discoloration discharge from the ear
Boarding for Your Pet Hedgehog
At Long Island Birds and Exotic Pets, we offer boardingfor your pet hedgehog. We are properly equipped with both supplies and attention, to safely care for your hedgehog. We will care for your spiky friend so that you can travel stress-free.
More Small Mammal Care Tips
17 Different Types of Hedgehogs (With Pictures)
Did you know that all hedgehogs are considered exotic pets? It’s true! Some regions of the world even have bans on owning hedgehogs as pets, including the domesticated breeds. In fact, there are only four domesticated breeds of hedgehogs that can be kept as pets.
We’ll introduce you to 17 different types of hedgehogs, including both domesticated breeds and wild species.
The 17 Types of Hedgehog Breeds
1. African Pygmy Hedgehog
The first of our domesticated hedgehog breeds, the African Pygmy hedgehog is also known as the “four-toed hedgehog”. They are one of the most popular types of domesticated hedgehogs sold as pets. Solitary, nocturnal, and energetic, they can run as much as five miles a night!
2. Algerian Hedgehog
The next most popular of all domesticated hedgehog breeds, a distant relative of the Algerian hedgehog was domesticated by the Romans in the fourth century to be used for meat, quills, and pets. They usually grow to be about 7-10 inches long.
3. Egyptian Long-Eared Hedgehog
Smaller than European hedgehogs, when found in the wild this domesticated breed will often hibernate for short periods of time in summer and winter. Long-eared hedgehog breeds are naturally parasite prone, so be sure to source one from a reputable dealer if you’d like to keep one as a pet.
4. Indian Long-Eared Hedgehog
The last of four domesticated hedgehog breeds, these animals are native to India and Pakistan. This means that the Indian Long-Eared hedgehog can handle both extreme heat and extreme cold much better than most hedgehogs.
5. European Hedgehog
Found across much of Europe, these are often called the common hedgehog. They can grow to up to a foot in length and live as long as 10 years.
6. Southern White-Breasted Hedgehog
Found in Eastern Europe and Western Asia, the Southern White-Breasted hedgehog differs from the European mainly by its white belly and its habit of making a nest from grass as opposed to digging.
7. Northern White-Breasted Hedgehog
Easily recognizable by their white bellies, these hedgehogs were originally found in Eastern Europe, but have spread to Russia, Ukraine, and the Caucasus region.
8. Amur Hedgehog
Native to Central Asia, the Amur hedgehog can grow up to a foot long. They are also found in South-Eastern Russia, Korea, and China.
9. Somali Hedgehog
Found only in Somalia, these small hedgehogs have a white belly with brown or black legs.
10. Southern African Hedgehog
The handsome South African hedgehog has a distinctive white stripe on its head against otherwise dark fur. They can be found in countries like Botswana, Namibia, South Africa, and Zimbabwe.
11. Daurian Hedgehog
A protected species in Russia and Northern Mongolia, the diminutive Daurian hedgehog grows to only around 6-8 inches long.
12. Hugh’s Hedgehog
Native to Central China and Manchuria, the voracious appetite of the Hugh’s hedgehog sometimes leads it to look for food during the daytime — a behavior not shared by other hedgehogs.
13. Desert Hedgehog
The pint-sized prince of hedgehogs, Desert hedgehogs only grow up to six inches long. They can be found in the deserts of North Africa and the Middle East.
14. Indian Hedgehog
Though they bear a similar name to a domesticated hedgehog, this different species is found only in the wild. They live in the high mountain areas of India and Pakistan and are most distinguishable by their small size and mask-like face markings.
15. Brandt’s Hedgehog
The Brandt’s hedgehog is naturally found in Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Yemen. It has very dark fur and quills, and much larger ears than most hedgehogs. When threatened, they have been known to jump at predators spikes-first!
16. Gaoligong Forest Hedgehog
Only discovered as recently as 2018, this unique species can only be found on the slopes of Mt. Gaoligong in the Yunnan province of China. They hibernate between October and April — almost half the year!
17. Bare-Bellied Hedgehog
Endemic to Southeastern India, this rare species was long thought to be extinct. Now, they can be found regularly in the Indian states of Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu.
Found all over the world, hedgehogs are a fascinating animal that tends to go unnoticed. We appreciate you taking the time to peruse our list of hedgehog species, and hope that you enjoyed learning more about our favorite spiky mammals!
Related Read: How Much Does It Cost to Own a Hedgehog? (Updated in 2021)
Featured Image Credit: amayaeguizabal, Pixabay
Nicole is the proud mom of Baby, a Burmese cat and Rosa, a New Zealand Huntaway. A Canadian expat, Nicole now lives on a lush forest property with her Kiwi husband in New Zealand. She has a strong love for all animals of all shapes and sizes (and particularly loves a good interspecies friendship) and wants to share her animal knowledge and other experts’ knowledge with pet lovers across the globe.
Nicole is the proud mom of Baby, a Burmese cat and Rosa, a New Zealand Huntaway. A Canadian expat, Nicole now lives on a lush forest property with her Kiwi husband in New Zealand. She has a strong love for all animals of all shapes and sizes (and particularly loves a good interspecies friendship) and wants to share her animal knowledge and other experts' knowledge with pet lovers across the globe.
16 Types of Hedgehogs: Species & Descriptions + Pictures
Hedgehogs are some of the most beloved animals that exist today. Their unique, adorable appearance makes them a highly desired pet for a lot of people, and their docile personality really rounds things out.
However, not a lot of people know that there are many different types of hedgehogs around the world! Each of these breeds comes from a different region and has unique characteristics that differentiate them from other breeds.
So, what exactly are those 16 types of hedgehogs? Where do they come from, what do they look like, and how different are they at their core? This post aims to go into great detail in answering those questions.
How Many Types Of Hedgehogs Are There?
16 Different Types Of Hedgehogs
There are 16 primary types or species of hedgehogs that exist today. Each of these 16 species comes from Europe, Africa, or Asia and can either look very similar to different to other species.
So what exactly are these 16 species?
1. European Hedgehog
The European hedgehog, or Erinaceus europaeus, is frequently referred to as the "common hedgehog". This species is found in a variety of different countries in Europe, including Spain, France, Italy, the United Kingdom, and several others. It can survive across a wide variety of different habitats, thus resulting in its widespread existence.
Physically, E. europaeus is likely the largest species of hedgehog, growing to 10 inches or more in length and weighing around 2.4 pounds or more. Their general color is a general black and brown mixture, but can appear blonde in some cases with leucistic forms.
In general, these are hedgehogs that are widely accepted by most people. They're largely nocturnal and quite hesitant in nature, with the only aggressiveness occurring between two males. However, there has been a decline in their population in recent years, with an estimated fewer than a million hedgehogs living in Great Britain today.
2. Southern White-Breasted Hedgehog
Also known as Eranaceus concolor, the southern white-breasted hedgehog is very similar in several ways to European hedgehogs. In fact, for a long time it was thought that these two species were simply one species. They key physical difference between these two species is that E. concolor has a white spot on its chest. This makes it difficult to identify this species from afar.
Another difference between this hedgehog and the European species is that the former doesn't dig dens. Instead, it opts to create nests out of grass in quiet locations. It's also located in a smaller region, randing from Eastern Europe to Western Asia.
3. Northern White-Breasted Hedgehog
The northern white-breasted hedgehog, Erinaceus roumanicus, was originally thought to be a subspecies of its southern counterpart, but was eventually determined to be its own species. It has a much larger reach than the southern white-breasted hedgehog, too, spanning from Poland to Greece and all the way to Siberia. With its widespread existence, there hasn't been a significant population decline.
This species does have a white spot on its chest, but it also differs from the previous two hedgehogs due to its slightly different jaw structure.
4. Amur Hedgehog
Also known as the Manchurian hedgehog or Erinaceus amurensis, the Amur hedgehog is also very similar to the European hedgehog in both behavior and appearance, although it is lighter in color. It's native to Amur Oblast and Primorye in Russia, in addition to locations in China and the Korean Peninsula.
It's very similar to other species of hedgehogs in many ways, having the same sleep, behavioral, and mating patterns as a plethora of other species.
5. Bare-Bellied Hedgehog
The bare-bellied hedgehog, or Paraechinus nudiventris, was originally thought to be extremely rare and even extinct. However, specimen were recently found in India, thus changing its conservation status to 'of least concern'.
This species is located in both the dry, arid regions and jungles of south-eastern India. More specifically, it's quite common in the Indian states of Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh. It was also found in some districts of Kerala.
No pictures of bare-bellied hedgehogs have been made available as of yet, but they are noted as having similar physical features to other Indian hedgehogs.
6. Brandt's Hedgehog
The Brandt's hedgehog, Paraechinus hypomelas, is quite a unique-looking desert hedgehog species. It features very large ears and darker fur and needles than other hedgehogs. It's also noted that this species is quite a fast runner due to its lighter, but still effective, needle protection.
This species prefers to live in mountainous regions and arid deserts in Pakistan, Yemen, and Afghanistan. They often prefer to use natural shelters, but they are capable of digging dens when needed. Brandt's hedgehogs will tend to resort to curling itself up in a ball for protection, but they may also jump at their attackers.
7. Daurian Hedgehog
The Daurian hedgehog, Mesechinus dauuricus, is quite a solitary and small hedgehog that's located in the Transbaikal region of Russia and Northern Mongolia. This is a protected species that's generally considered endangered, but its overall status is quite unclear. They were nearly wiped out in the mid-1960s due to excessive pesticide use, but they've made a gradual recovery since then.
This small species inhabits both steppes and forests that feature scrublands and rocky areas to help avoid predators. They live in dens, live to be about 6 years old, and generally don't weight more than a pound.
8. Desert Hedgehog
The Desert Hedgehog, Paraechinus aethiopicus, is one of the smallest hedgehog species in existence, with adults only reaching about 6 to 8 inches in length. Despite its size, it's quite a hardy species with a great defense mechanism. When threatened, a desert hedgehog's muscles pull the outer layer of skin around the body, resulting in their quills sticking straight out in all directions.
Location-wise, desert hedgehogs are located in quite a few places. They're found throughout a good portion of the Middle East and the northern edge of Africa. Due to their long history of desert dwelling, they've developed kidneys that allow them to go a long time without water. This has made this small species one of the toughest hedgehogs in existence.
9. Four-Toed Hedgehog
The four-toed hedgehog, also known as the African pygmy hedgehog or Atelerix albiventris, is a very common species found throughout the central and eastern parts of Africa. These guys thrive in crop fields and savanna biomes but have been found in thickets, bushes, woodlands, grasslands, and even suburban gardens.
Four-toed hedgehogs are a bit smaller than other species of hedgehogs, coming in around 8 to 10 inches long. They also have a very white body and dark head and walk on very short legs that feature only four toes per foot. This smaller species is quite active, though, and love to swim and climb and make a good deal of noise.
This hedgehog is commonly kept as a pet and is very affordable to purchase.
10. Hugh's Hedgehog
Hugh's hedgehog, Mesechinus hughi, is also referred to as the central Chinese hedgehog. This species is native to Manchuria and central China and prefers areas that are a lot more dry and arid, although they have also been found in forests and grasslands.
One interesting quirk about the Hugh's hedgehog is that it actively searches for food even during the daytime and during rainy weather. This is a contrast to most other hedgehogs that search for food strictly during the nighttime.
11. Indian Hedgehog
Indian hedgehogs, Paraechinus micropus, are native to India and Pakistan. They primarily live in sandy desert areas, but can also be found in mountainous regions with a lot of water. While they are frequently compared to the long-eared hedgehog in mannerisms and appearance, there are a few differences that exist.
First of all, the Indian hedgehog is most known for its masked face that's quite similar to that of a raccoon. It's quite small in size, with males tending to weigh just below a pound and reaching about 6 inches in length. Despite their size, they are quite quick, but not as fast as long-eared hedgehogs. Indian hedgehogs also dig burrows that around 18 inches long and use these as shelter from predators.
12. Indian Long-Eared Hedgehog
Although it has a similar name to Indian hedgehogs and long-eared hedgehogs, the Indian long-eared hedgehogs (Hemiechinus collaris) are quite different. This species inhabits the more arid regions of Pakistan and the northwestern section of India. It's quite a small hedgehog, only reaching about 6 to 7 inches and weighing between half a pound and a pound. A key characteristic of this hedgehog is its massive ears that help it find food and potential mates.
One interesting quirk that this species of hedgehog has is its mating ritual. For several days, the Indian long-eared hedgehog performs a complex dance around females before mating.
13. Long-Eared Hedgehog
The long-eared hedgehog (Hemiechinus auritus) has quite a few similarities to Brandt's hedgehog. This species is native to a few regions, including the Middle East, the Eastern Mediterranean, and the more arid regions of East Asia. Despite this large range, the long-eared hedgehog has a preference for very moderate climates.
This species has quite a unique defense strategy. While most hedgehogs curl into a ball to defend themselves, they've taken a different approach. Long-eared hedgehogs are very fast hedgehogs -- easily among the top 3 fastest species. They utilize this speed by first releasing their spikes and then fleeing to put as much distance between themselves and a predator as possible.
14. North African Hedgehog
The North African hedgehog, or Atelerix algirus, are a decently small species that rarely exceed 8 inches in length. It's a species that's naturally found throughout the northern edge of Africa, and it's also been recently introduced into France and Spain. This makes it the only species of the four African species of hedgehogs that can be found outside of Africa.
Not too much is known about this specific species of hedgehog despite the fact that the very common African pygmy hedgehog is a cross between a North African and a four-toed. It resembles a European hedgehog, but it's lighter in color, smaller, and a faster runner. It also lacks a widow's peak of spines on the crown of its head, giving it a very unique look.
15. Somali Hedgehog
Also known as Atelerix sclateri, Somali hedgehogs are located strictly on the outer border of Somalia. This species hasn't been extensively studied, so their personalities are not very well-known. However, it is known that it's a hedgehog species that prefers to live in grasslands and other biomes that are quite open. They also have white bellies and legs that tend to be black or brown in color.
16. Southern African Hedgehog
Southern African hedgehogs (Atelerix frontalis) are found in the southern parts of Africa including Angola, Botswana, South Africa, Tanzania, and Zimbabwe. This is an average-sized hedgehog that's covered with brown spines and fur and usually features a white stripe that runs across their forehead.
Southern African hedgehogs are relatively docile and slow, but can run quickly when threatened. During the day, this species tends to stay in a vegetation-covered area or simply a hole in the ground.
It's also insectivorous, meaning that it has a diet consisting of primarily earthworms and crickets. Over time, though, it has been observed becoming more omnivorous due to habitat loss.
What Types Of Hedgehogs Are Kept As Pets?
As you can see, there is a diverse array of different hedgehogs that exist today. While some species are quite similar, there are others that are entirely unique and quite fascinating!
After looking at all of the different hedgehogs that exist, you may be wondering which of those can be kept as pets. Unfortunately, you can't simply pick a species from this list and purchase one as your pet.
Most species of hedgehogs are either very difficult to come by, make for terrible pets, or are a mix of both of those traits. For example, long-eared hedgehogs are known to be very aggressive biters.
Other species, such as Southern African hedgehogs, are simply not sold as pets anywhere outside of their natural habitat. Some states in the US or entire countries even ban the ownership of hedgehogs entirely!
The most commonly-kept and bred hedgehog type by far is the African pygmy hedgehog. This species is known for its docile nature, small size, and adorable personality. Beyond this species, popularity drops way off.
There are some owners of Egyptian long-eared and Indian long-eared hedgehogs, but they don't make great pets.
If you're very interested in the many different types of hedgehogs highlighted in this post, your best option would be to turn to local wildlife reservations or zoos and inquire about their hedgehogs. However, many species are only kept local, so you may have to do a bit of traveling to see all 16 breeds that exist.
Subfamily of small spiny mammals
This article is about the spiny mammal. For other uses, see Hedgehog (disambiguation).
A hedgehog is a spiny mammal of the subfamily Erinaceinae, in the eulipotyphlanfamilyErinaceidae. There are seventeen species of hedgehog in five genera found throughout parts of Europe, Asia, and Africa, and in New Zealand by introduction. There are no hedgehogs native to Australia and no living species native to the Americas. However, the extinct genus Amphechinus was once present in North America.
Hedgehogs share distant ancestry with shrews (family Soricidae), with gymnures possibly being the intermediate link, and they have changed little over the last fifteen million years. Like many of the first mammals, they have adapted to a nocturnal way of life. Their spiny protection resembles that of porcupines, which are rodents, and echidnas, a type of monotreme.
The name hedgehog came into use around the year 1450, derived from the Middle Englishheyghoge, from heyg, hegge ("hedge"), because it frequents hedgerows, and hoge, hogge ("hog"), from its piglike snout. Other names include urchin, hedgepig and furze-pig.
Hedgehogs are easily recognized by their spines, which are hollow hairs made stiff with keratin. Their spines are not poisonous or barbed and, unlike the quills of a porcupine, do not easily detach from their bodies. However, the immature animal's spines normally fall out as they are replaced with adult spines. This is called "quilling". Spines can also shed when the animal is diseased or under extreme stress. Hedgehogs are usually brown, with pale tips to the spines, though blonde hedgehogs are found on the UK island of Alderney.
All species of hedgehogs can roll into a tight ball in self-defense, causing all of the spines to point outwards. The hedgehog's back contains two large muscles that control the position of the quills. When the creature is rolled into a ball, the quills on the back protect the tucked face, feet, and belly, which are not quilled. Since the effectiveness of this strategy depends on the number of spines, some desert hedgehogs that evolved to carry less weight are more likely to flee or attack, ramming an intruder with the spines; rolling into a spiny ball for those species is a last resort. The various species are prey to different predators: while forest hedgehogs are prey primarily to birds (especially owls) and ferrets, smaller species like the long-eared hedgehog are prey to foxes, wolves, and mongooses.
Hedgehogs are primarily nocturnal, though some species can also be active during the day. Hedgehogs sleep for a large portion of the day under bushes, grasses, rocks, or most commonly in dens dug in the ground, with varying habits among the species. All wild hedgehogs can hibernate, though not all do, depending on temperature, species, and abundance of food.
Hedgehogs are fairly vocal and communicate through a combination of grunts, snuffles and/or squeals, depending on species.
Hedgehogs occasionally perform a ritual called anointing. When the animal encounters a new scent, it will lick and bite the source, then form a scented froth in its mouth and paste it on its spines with its tongue. The purpose of this habit is unknown, but some experts believe anointing camouflages the hedgehog with the new scent of the area and provides a possible poison or source of infection to predators poked by their spines. Anointing is sometimes also called anting because of a similar behavior in birds.
Like opossums, mice, and moles, hedgehogs have some natural immunity against some snake venom through the protein erinacin in the animal's muscular system, although it is available only in small amounts and a viper bite may still be fatal. In addition, hedgehogs are one of four known mammalian groups with mutations that protect against another snake venom, α-neurotoxin. Pigs, honey badgers, mongooses, and hedgehogs all have mutations in the nicotinic acetylcholine receptor that prevent the snake venom α-neurotoxin from binding, though those mutations developed separately and independently.
The olfactory regions have not been thoroughly studied in the hedgehog. In mammals, the olfactory part of the brain is covered by neopallium, making it difficult to expose. This difficulty is not insurmountable, as it varies from one species to another.[clarification needed] Tests have suggested that hedgehogs share the same electrical activity as cats.
Although traditionally classified in the now abandoned order Insectivora, hedgehogs are omnivorous. They feed on insects, snails, frogs and toads, snakes, bird eggs, carrion, mushrooms, grassroots, berries, melons and watermelons. Berries constitute a major part of an Afghan hedgehog's diet in early spring after hibernation.
During hibernation, the body temperature of a hedgehog can decrease to about 2 °C (36 °F). When the animal awakes from hibernation, the body temperature rises from 2–5 °C (36–41 °F) back to its normal 30–35 °C (86–95 °F) body temperature.
Reproduction and lifespan
Depending on the species, the gestation period is 35–58 days. The average litter is 3–4 newborns for larger species and 5–6 for smaller ones. As with many animals, it is not unusual for an adult male hedgehog to kill newborn males.
Hedgehogs have a relatively long lifespan for their size. Larger species of hedgehogs live 4–7 years in the wild (some have been recorded up to 16 years), and smaller species live 2–4 years (4–7 in captivity), compared to a mouse at 2 years and a large rat at 3–5 years. Lack of predators and controlled diet contribute to a longer lifespan in captivity (8–10 years depending on size).
Hedgehogs are born blind, with a protective membrane covering their quills, which dries and shrinks over the next several hours. The quills emerge through the membrane after the hoglet has been cleaned, or after the membrane falls off.
Hedgehog bones have been found in the pellets of the European eagle owl.
In Britain, the main predator is the badger. European hedgehog populations in the United Kingdom are lower in areas where badgers are numerous, and British hedgehog rescue societies will not release hedgehogs into known badger territories. Badgers also compete with hedgehogs for food.
Main article: Domesticated hedgehog
The most common pet species of hedgehog are hybrids of the white-bellied hedgehog or four-toed hedgehog (Atelerix albiventris) and the North African hedgehog (A. algirus). It is smaller than the European hedgehog, and thus is sometimes called the African pygmy hedgehog. Other species kept as pets are the long-eared hedgehog (Hemiechinus auritus) and the Indian long-eared hedgehog (H. collaris).
It is illegal to own a hedgehog as a pet in some US states including Hawaii, Georgia, Pennsylvania, and California, and some Canadian municipalities, and breeding licenses are required. No such restrictions exist in most European countries with the exception of Scandinavia. In Italy, it is illegal to keep wild hedgehogs as pets.
In areas where hedgehogs have been introduced, such as New Zealand and the islands of Scotland, the hedgehog has become a pest. In New Zealand it causes immense damage to native species including insects, snails, lizards and ground-nesting birds, particularly shore birds. As with many introduced animals, it lacks natural predators.
Eradication can be troublesome. Attempts to eliminate hedgehogs from bird colonies on the Scottish islands of North Uist and Benbecula in the Outer Hebrides were met with international outrage. Eradication began in 2003 with 690 hedgehogs being killed. Animal welfare groups attempted rescues to save the hedgehogs. By 2007, legal injunctions against the killing of hedgehogs were put in place. In 2008, the elimination process was changed from killing the hedgehogs to trapping them and releasing them on the mainland.
Hedgehogs suffer many diseases common to humans. These include cancer, fatty liver disease, and cardiovascular disease.
Cancer is very common in hedgehogs. The most common is squamous cell carcinoma. Squamous cell spreads quickly from the bone to the organs in hedgehogs, unlike in humans. Surgery to remove the tumors is rare because it would result in removing too much bone structure.
Fatty liver disease is believed by many to be caused by bad diet. Hedgehogs will eagerly eat foods that are high in fat and sugar. Having a metabolism adapted for low-fat, protein-rich insects, this leads to common problems of obesity. Fatty liver disease is one sign, heart disease is another.
Hedgehogs are also known to be highly susceptible to pneumonia. Similarly to how pneumonia affects humans, the symptoms for pneumonia in hedgehogs include difficulty breathing and presence of nasal discharge. This is known to be caused by the Bordetella bronchiseptica bacterium.
Hedgehogs uncommonly transmit a characteristic fungal skin infection to human handlers as well as other hedgehogs. This ringworm or dermatophytosis infection is caused by Trichophyton erinacei, which forms a distinct mating group within the Arthroderma benhamiae species complex.
Hedgehogs can suffer from balloon syndrome, a rare condition in which gas is trapped under the skin as a result of injury or infection and which causes the animal to inflate; in 2017 the BBC reported a case in which a male hedgehog was "almost twice its natural size, literally blown up like a beach ball with incredibly taut skin". The head vet at Stapeley's Wildlife Hospital, Bev Panto, said, "In my career I have seen three or four of these cases and they are very strange every time and quite shocking ... When you first see them they appear to be very big hedgehogs but when you pick them up they feel so light because they are mostly air". She added that the condition was unique to hedgehogs because they have significant space under their skin as a result of their ability to curl up. A similar case had been reported in 2013. The British Hedgehog Preservation Society advises that:
There is no single cause for this condition. The air can be removed by incising or aspirating through the skin over the back. Antibiotic cover should be given. This may be associated with lung/chest wall damage or a small external wound acting like a valve or a clostridium type infection.
As with most small mammals living around humans, cars pose a great threat to hedgehogs. Many are run over as they attempt to cross roadways. In Ireland, hedgehogs are one of the most common mammalian road fatalities. Between April 2008 and November 2010 on two stretches of road measuring 227 km and 32.5 km there were 133 recorded hedgehog fatalities. Of another 135 hedgehog carcasses collected from throughout Ireland, there were significantly more males than females collected, with peaks in male deaths occurring in May and June. Female deaths outnumbered males only in August, with further peaks in female deaths observed in June and July. It is suggested that these peaks are related to the breeding season (adults) and dispersal/exploration following independence.
Domesticated hedgehogs can get their heads stuck in tubes (commonly, toilet paper tubes) and walk around with them on their heads. Owners often refer to this as "tubing" and promote the behavior by supplying lean tubes. Most owners are considerate enough, however, to cut the tubes lengthwise to prevent the hedgehog from remaining trapped against its will. Curiously, some hedgehogs still knowingly get themselves stuck for hours.
Culinary and medicinal use
Hedgehogs are a food source in many cultures. Hedgehogs were eaten in Ancient Egypt and some recipes of the Late Middle Ages call for hedgehog meat. Hedgehogs are traded throughout Eurasia and Africa for traditional medicine and witchcraft. In the Middle East and especially among Bedouins, hedgehog meat is considered medicinal, and thought to cure rheumatism and arthritis. They are also said to cure a variety of illnesses and disorders from tuberculosis to impotence. In Morocco, inhaling the smoke of the burnt skin or bristles is a purported remedy for fever, male impotence, and urinary illnesses; the blood is sold as a cure for ringworm, cracked skin and warts and the flesh is eaten as a remedy for witchcraft.Romani people still eat hedgehogs, boiled or roasted, and also use the blood and the fat for its supposed medicinal value.
In 1981 Philip Lewis, whole landlord of the former Vaults public house in Welshpool, Wales began the manufacture of "hedgehog-flavoured" crisps. Lewis's marketing had to change, however from hedgehog 'flavoured' to hedgehog 'flavour', due to advertising standards, as the crisps did not actually contain any hedgehog.
- The classical Persians saw the hedgehog as sacred to Ahura Mazda because of its dedication to destroying agricultural pests: "the dog with the prickly back and the long, thin muzzle...from midnight to morning it kills thousands of the creatures of the Evil One".
- The Ancient Greeks valued the saying of Archilochos: "The fox knows many tricks, the hedgehog, one good one" (presumably its ability to roll up in a ball).
- An essay by Isaiah Berlin, The Hedgehog and the Fox, translates the Archilochos quotation as: "a fox knows many things, but a hedgehog one important thing". The essay distinguishes writers who see the world as complex and multi-faceted from those who see it via single over-arching idea.
- Sir Richard Onslow (1601–64), parliamentarian, compared King Charles I of England to a hedgehog.
- The title character in Beatrix Potter's 1905 children's story The Tale of Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle is a hedgehog.
- In Part Four of Fyodor Dostoyevsky's The Idiot, Aglaya gives Prince Myshkin a hedgehog that Kolya has acquired and sold to her, as a gift of reconciliation, which clears up the bad feeling between them after a quarrel. In the passage, the hedgehog is identified as signifying "friendship, a burying of the hatchet, and making up".
- E. Nesbit wrote a fantasy short story entitled "The Princess and the Hedge-pig" (collected in The Magic World, 1912), in which a prince is under an enchantment, and his transformation into a hedgehog allows a curious prophecy to come true.
- In the 1927 British detective novel, The Ellerby Case by John Rhode, in the chapter entitled "The Green Hedgehog," Doctor Lancelot Priestly, the investigator who solves the case, is nearly murdered by a hedgehog dyed green whose spines have been impregnated with a virulent poison.
- Philip Larkin, the well-known twentieth century poet, wrote one of his last poems on the death of a hedgehog, "The Mower".
- Kjell Aukrust's Flåklypa universe features the memorable Ludvig (En. Lambert) a nervous, pessimistic and melancholic hedgehog. Ludvig can be found in many series of books by Aukrust, as well as feature films and TV series that is based on Flåklypa. Such as Ivo Caprino's The Pinchcliffe Grand Prix (1975), the most widely seen Norwegian film of all time, as well as John M. Jacobsen's Gurin with the Foxtail (1998).
- Sonic the Hedgehog, first introduced in 1991, is a blue anthropomorphic hedgehog and the title character of numerous video games, comic strips, and animated cartoons by Sega.
- The novelist Jasper Fforde conceived of a Hedge-pigs Society, intended to "advance hedgehogs in all branches of literature....[which] got references into Kipling, Carroll, Aesop and four mentions in Shakespeare".
- A speech in the British House of Commons about the hedgehog, by environment minister Rory Stewart, was named by two newspapers as the best speech of 2015.
Genera and species
Subfamily Erinaceinae (hedgehogs)
- Genus Atelerix
- Genus Erinaceus
- Genus Hemiechinus
- Genus Mesechinus
- Genus Paraechinus
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- ^ abcAttenborough, David (2014). Attenborough's Natural Curiosities 2. Armoured Animals. UKTV.
- ^Drew, Lisa W. (1 June 2005). "Meet the Hedgehog: What feeds on lizards, chews venomous toad skins and coats its spiky body with frothy saliva?". National Wildlife. Reston, Virginia: National Wildlife Federation. Retrieved 12 July 2017.
- ^Omori-Satoha, Tamotsu; Yoshio Yamakawab; Dietrich Mebs (November 2000). "The antihemorrhagic factor, erinacin, from the European hedgehog (Erinaceus europaeus), a metalloprotease inhibitor of large molecular size possessing ficolin/opsonin P35 lectin domains". Toxicon. 38 (11): 1561–80. doi:10.1016/S0041-0101(00)00090-8. PMID 10775756.
- ^Drabeck, D.H.; Dean, A.M.; Jansa, S.A. (1 June 2015). "Why the honey badger don't care: Convergent evolution of venom-targeted nicotinic acetylcholine receptors in mammals that survive venomous snake bites". Toxicon. 99: 68–72. doi:10.1016/j.toxicon.2015.03.007. PMID 25796346.
- ^Adrian, E. D. (1942). "Olfactory reactions in the brain of the hedgehog". The Journal of Physiology. 100 (4): 459–473. doi:10.1113/jphysiol.1942.sp003955. PMC 1393326. PMID 16991539.
- ^Suomalainen, Paavo; Sarajas, Samuli (1 August 1951). "Heart-beat of the Hibernating Hedgehog". Nature. 168 (4266): 211. Bibcode:1951Natur.168..211S. doi:10.1038/168211b0. ISSN 0028-0836. PMID 14875055. S2CID 4158610.
- ^Litter – Burlington and MIDI (2004-04-19)Archived 10 July 2009 at the Wayback Machine. hamorhollow.com
- ^"Babies & Reproduction". Hedghogz.co.uk. Archived from the original on 6 September 2013. Retrieved 8 March 2009.
- ^Social Behaviour / Territoriality / Predation / Learning: West European Hedgehog. wildlifeinformation.org
- ^Hof, A. R.; Bright, P. W. (2010). "The value of agri-environment schemes for macro-invertebrate feeders: Hedgehogs on arable farms in Britain"(PDF). Animal Conservation. 13 (5): 467–473. doi:10.1111/j.1469-1795.2010.00359.x.
- ^Where have all the hedgehogs gone ?. Snufflelodge.org.uk. Retrieved 2013-09-05.
- ^David Wembridge. "The State of Britain's Hedgehogs 2011"(PDF). The British Hedgehog Preservation Society.
- ^"The Complete Guide to Hedgehogs". www.petmd.com. Retrieved 16 February 2020.
- ^Moss, Laura (1 April 2019). "Hedgehogs are a prickly issue in some states". treehugger.com. Archived from the original on 18 October 2020. Retrieved 18 October 2020.
- ^"Fauna selvativa e specie protette". Corpo Forestale dello Stato. Archived from the original on 2 November 2016. Retrieved 31 August 2014.
- ^"Hedgehogs pose prickly problem for native fauna". Landcare Research media release. 17 September 2003. Archived from the original on 1 October 2003. Retrieved 6 December 2011.
- ^Ross, David (14 January 2009). "18 Trappers Sought for Hebrides to Protect Birds from Hedgehogs". The Herald. Retrieved 12 June 2009.
- ^"List of Hedgehog diseases". Wildlifeinformation.org. Archived from the original on 26 July 2010. Retrieved 8 March 2009.
- ^"Hedgehogs - Diseases". vca_corporate. Retrieved 2 November 2020.
- ^"Common Diseases Of Hedgehogs". Bowmanville Veterinary Clinic. Retrieved 2 November 2020.
- ^Takahashi, Yoko; Ayako Sano; Kayoko Takizawa; Kazutaka Fukushima; Makoto Miyaji; Kazuko Nishimura (2003). "The epidemiology and mating behavior of Arthroderma benhamiae var. erinacei in household four-toed hedgehogs (Atelerix albiventris) in Japan"(PDF). Japanese Journal of Medical Mycology. 44 (1): 31–8. doi:10.3314/jjmm.44.31. PMID 12590257.
- ^"Hedgehog 'blown up like beach ball' has balloon syndrome". BBC News Online. BBC. 11 June 2017. Retrieved 11 June 2017.
- ^ ab"Balloon syndrome hedgehog is 'popped'". BBC News Online. BBC. 12 June 2017. Retrieved 12 June 2017.
- ^"Inflated 'balloon' hedgehog saved from 'rupturing' by vet". BBC News Online. BBC. 22 May 2013. Retrieved 11 June 2017.
- ^Forshaw, Hugh. "' Care and Treatment of Sick and Injured Hedgehogs"(PDF). britishhedgehogs.org.uk. British Hedgehog Preservation Society. Retrieved 11 June 2017.
- ^Haigh, Amy; O'Riordan, Ruth M.; Butler, Fidelma (2014). "Hedgehog Erinaceus europaeus mortality on Irish roads". Wildlife Biology. 20 (3): 155–160. doi:10.2981/wlb.12126.
- ^"A community for African Pygmy Hedgehog Owners and Breeders – Environmental Enrichment". Hedgehog World. Archived from the original on 15 January 2008. Retrieved 8 March 2009.
- ^Pidd, Helen (14 September 2007). "Roast hedgehog and nettle pud – a slap-up feast for ancient Britons". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 12 June 2009.
- ^Qumsiyeh, Mazin B. (1996). Mammals of the Holy Land. Texas Tech UP. p. 64. ISBN .
- ^Nijman, V.; Bergin, D. (2015). "Trade in hedgehogs (Mammalia: Erinaceidae) in Morocco, with an overview of their trade for medicinal purposes throughout Africa and Eurasia". Journal of Threatened Taxa. 7 (5): 7131–7137. doi:10.11609/JoTT.o4271.7131-7.
- ^Wood, Manfri Frederick (1979). In the Life of a Romany Gypsy. J.A. Brune. pp. 80–81. ISBN .
- ^"Potato Crisps – A History". BBC. 7 December 2002. Retrieved 22 March 2010.
- ^"Hedgehog Crisps' Welshpool inventor dies, aged 74". Shropshire Star. 28 February 2017. Retrieved 15 September 2021.
- ^Vendidad in A R Burn, Persia and the Greeks (Stanford 1984) p. 67
- ^A R Burn, Persia and the Greeks (Stanford 1984) p. 353
- ^Dictionary of National Biography, Vol. XLII, 1895
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- ^"The Tale of Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle by Beatrix Potter". www.penguin.co.uk. Retrieved 15 January 2017.
- ^Dostoevsky, Fyodor. The Idiot (Oxford World's Classics) (p. 538). OUP Oxford. Kindle Edition.
- ^Laville, Sandra (11 May 2002). "Larkin's lawnmower cuts it as a relic". The Daily Telegraph. London. Retrieved 11 June 2017.
- ^J Fforde, The Well of Lost Plots (London 2004) p. 57
|Look up hedgehog in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.|
Of hedgehogs breeds
16 Types Of Hedgehogs
Types of Hedgehogs: Hedgehogs are a type of animal that we call mammals. Hedgehogs are small and they have short spikes on their bodies, short legs, and a pointy nose. They’re really cute animals and they are many types of hedgehogs (17 species to be exact). These animals look like a porcupine but they are not the same.
A porcupine’s quills (spikes) are poisonous. Hedgehog quills are not. Hedgehogs inhabit a variety of terrain in areas of Europe, Asia, and Africa. You can sometimes see hedgehogs in search of different types of earthworms, after rainstorms. They love munching on invertebrates.
The European hedgehog, also known by its scientific name, Erinaceus europaeus or the West European hedgehog or the common hedgehog, is native to Europe (but you already knew that).
This species of hedgehogs are usually about 10 inches long with a brownish to black appearance. They are known to live for up to 10 years and typically eat slugs, snails, earthworms, beetles, caterpillars, and other insects.
African Pygmy Hedgehog
The African pygmy hedgehog (Atelerix albiventris) or four-toed hedgehog inhabits areas throughout central and eastern Africa. They grow to about 8 inches long and are white in color. As its name suggests, it only has four toes on each paw. These little guys can also swim. Four-toed hedgehogs feed on insects, grubs, snails, spiders (for example, tarantulas), as well as plants. They live for up to 3 years in the wild.
Long-eared hedgehogs or Hemiechinus auritus are nocturnal and are known to wander up to 5 miles in search of food. They generally live in moderate climates throughout the Middle East, the Eastern Mediterranean and some arid areas of East Asia. These types of hedgehogs have short spikes and, of course, long ears. Their main defense mechanism is to shoot its spikes and then flee the scene.
Indian Long-eared Hedgehog
The Indian long-eared hedgehog or Hemiechinus collaris lives in arid regions of Pakistan and Northwestern India. It’s a small hedgehog that is dark in color. It grows up to 6.5 inches in length.
Brandt’s hedgehog or Paraechinus hypomelas grows up to 10 inches in length. They have large ears and are dark in color. These types of hedgehogs live in parts of Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Yemen. In addition to curling up in a defensive ball, Brandt’s hedgehogs jump at predators to scare them off.
The desert hedgehog (Paraechinus aethiopicus) is small and grows up to 6 inches long. When threatened, these hedgehogs curl up in a defensive ball that allows its long quills to protrude and hurt predators.
These hedgehog breeds live in desert areas of North Africa and the Middle East. They feed on baby snakes, various invertebrates (like lizards), and even scorpions. However, they are smart enough to rip off the stingers first before eating scorpions.
This hedgehog species was believed to be extinct until recently when some were found in India. There is not much known about these varieties of hedgehogs.
The bare-bellied hedgehog (Paraechinus nudiventris), also known as the Madras hedgehog, is a species of hedgehog that is endemic to dry arid regions and scrubby jungles in south-eastern India.https://wikivisually.com/wiki/Bare-bellied_hedgehog
The Daurian hedgehog or Mesechinus dauuricus is a small hedgehog that grows up to 8 inches long and lives in Russia and Nothern Mongolia. They like to feed on bird eggs, small rodents, small reptiles, and nestlings. These types of hedgehog prefer to be alone.
These types of hedgehogs are endemic to central China and Manchuria. Hugh’s hedgehog or mesechinus hughi, unlike other hedgehog species, that are nocturnal, these ones can be seen looking for food in the daytime.
As the name suggests, the Somali hedgehog (Atelerix sclateri) is native to Somalia. It has white fur on its underbelly however the feet are brown or black in color.
The Amur hedgehog, also called the Manchurian hedgehog (Erinaceus amurensis), makes its home in South-Eastern Russia, Korea, and China. They are about 12 inches in length and are usually pale brown.
Northern White-Breasted Hedgehogs
The northern white-breasted hedgehog (Erinaceus roumanicus) is a species of hedgehog that inhabit areas of Poland, Austria, Greece, and the Adriatic Islands. These hedgehogs look like common European hedgehogs but with a white crest of fur in the breast area.
Southern White-Breasted Hedgehogs
The southern white-breasted hedgehog (Erinaceus concolor) sometimes referred to as white-bellied hedgehog or white-chested hedgehog lives in Southwestern Asia and Eastern Europe.
It resembles the European hedgehog but it has a white spot of fur on its belly or chest area. These hedgehogs also prefer to make nests of grass instead of digging dens. It’s also genetically different than the northern white-breasted hedgehog.
Southern African Hedgehog
The Southern African hedgehog or Atelerix frontalis is brownish in color. It has a distinct white stripe on its forehead and black legs. This hedgehog lives in southern African countries like Botswana, Namibia, South Africa, and Zimbabwe.
North African Hedgehog
The North African hedgehog (Atelerix algirus) or Algerian hedgehog lives across North Africa in places like Morocco and Algeria. It has a light coloring and doesn’t have any spines on the crown of its head.
The Indian hedgehog or Paraechinus micropus is native to India and Pakistan and has raccoon-like facial features. It likes sandy desert areas but is not uncommon in other environments. Its diet includes insects, frogs, toads, bird eggs, snakes, and scorpions.
What Types Of Hedgehogs Can Be Pets?
The most common breed of hedgehogs is the African pygmy hedgehog, also called the four-toed hedgehog or the white-bellied hedgehog. These types of pet hedgehogs are usually between 6” – 8” long, making them a great pet for a small household. Other popular pet breeds are the European hedgehog and the long-eared hedgehog.
What Is The Cutest Type Of Hedgehog?
The European hedgehog is the cutest hedgehog and it lives throughout Western Europe. These cute animals can be friendly in the wild, but, European hedgehogs are not domesticated. So, you cannot keep them as pets. The most popular type of hedgehog to keep as a pet is the African Pygmy Hedgehog.
What Do Hedgehogs Eat?
In the wild, hedgehogs mainly eat creepy crawlies The most important invertebrates in their diet are worms, beetles, slugs, caterpillars, earwigs and millipedes. As well as these, they also eat a wide range of other insects.
As pets, you can also feed them fruits, vegetables, and cooked meat. However, be sure that you include insects like crickets and other critters as hedgehogs need chitin from insects.
Prev ArticleNext ArticleSours: https://naturetingz.com/types-of-hedgehogs/
Hedgehogs are a type of mammal known for its small body with a spiny coat and short legs. These small critters range from a length of 10 to 30 centimeters and weigh from 155 to 1,584 grams. When threatened, they roll themselves into a ball.
Hedgehogs can survive in many different habitats and can be found throughout Europe, Asia, Africa, and New Zealand. They can live from 3 to 8 years in the wild and up to 10 years in captivity.
The typical breed variety in the U.S. is usually one of two African species of hedgehogs. The first type is called four-toed hedgehogs, and they originated in the southern part of Africa, mainly in the desert areas. They are between seven and nine inches in length and can weigh up to 24 ounces.
There is also a North African species that get up to 14 inches long and can weigh up to 35 ounces. This type of hedgehog is often called the Algerian hedgehog, and it has five toes on the back feet and a face that is longer in shape than the hedgehogs found in the southern part of Africa. Both of these types, however, have white bellies and quills that are dark brown in color.
Asian and Desert Hedgehogs
The breed called the long-eared hedgehog is found mostly in Afghanistan, Turkestan, parts of Mongolia, and in areas of the Middle East such as Iraq, Israel, and Iran. The long-eared hedgehog is the smallest type of hedgehog, weighing in at only around seven ounces – although the largest ones can weigh up to 24 ounces.
It gets to roughly eight inches in length and has ears that are a bit different than other types of hedgehogs, being longer in length. It also has belly fur that is cream-colored or dark brown in color.
There is also a type of hedgehog that originated in the desert areas of Pakistan, India, Ethiopia, and the Middle East. This type has dark faces and sometimes a nose that is more pointed than other types of hedgehogs. They also have three subspecies and pale color.
Native to the British Isles and other parts of Europe, the Erinaceus europaeus genus is mostly a countryside hedgehog, although they can also occasionally be found in suburban gardens.
Despite having an average lifespan of 14 years, the average hedgehog in many areas lives only about two years, mostly because they get hit and killed by automobiles and because they lose their habitat.
European hedgehogs are between nine and 14 inches long, and they weigh around five pounds when fully grown, making them the largest of all hedgehog breeds. They are almost always brown in color and have furry faces and bellies. They also eat animals such as snails, beetles, and slugs.
All hedgehogs come from either Europe, Africa, or Asia, and they consist of four main types that encompass 15 different species. If you live in the Western part of the world, you are likely more familiar with the African and European species.
The European breed looks like the hedgehogs found in children’s books, which makes people want them more. In addition, the two African species are usually crossbred in the U.S. specifically to be pets.
There are other types of hedgehogs, of course, and since there are laws that control hedgehog breeding in the United States, the most popular ones tend to fall in just one of only a handful of hedgehog types.
Types of Hedgehogs
Native to the southeastern part of Russia, as well as China and Korea, the Amur hedgehog gets to roughly one foot in length and is pale brown in color. It is a common hedgehog and has similar characteristics to many other types of hedgehogs. It is called the Amur hedgehog because it is found in the lowland China area near the Amur Basin.
These types of hedgehogs prefer habitats such as lowlands and valleys, as well as high grass and forests which are both coniferous and broadleaf. They are more active at night than the daytime, and they eat mostly earthworms and other invertebrates.
The Amur hedgehog usually lives for roughly eight years, and there are no major threats to this particular species.
Bare-bellied hedgehogs, or the Paraechinus nudiventris, were believed to be extinct until very recently when a few were found in India. Because of this, it is likely most people will never see a real bare-bellied hedgehog in their lifetime.
Speaking of extinction, check out our article “25 Most Popular Types of Dinosaurs”
These hedgehogs prefer areas that are dry, such as acacia and rocky areas. Their biggest threats seem to be agriculture, logging, wood fuel collection, and of course, urbanization. Bare-bellied hedgehogs grow to a little under a pound and nearly 10 inches in length, and they love scrubby jungles such as the ones found in southeastern India.
Also known as the Paraechinus hypomelas, Brandt’s hedgehog grows to about 10 inches in length and has large ears and a dark body. It usually weighs just a little over two pounds as well. It is found in various parts of Afghanistan, Yemen, and Pakistan.
If the Brandt’s hedgehog is attacked, it curls up in a ball, and it can also use a “jumping” action in order to surprise its attackers. It is a desert hedgehog and, therefore, prefers arid areas such as the mountains and the desert.
It also hibernates when it’s cold, and it derives its name from the man who discovered it, Johann Friedrich von Brandt of St. Petersburg.
The Daurian hedgehog, or Mesechinus dauuricus, lives in northern Mongolia and in Russia. In fact, in these countries, it is actually a protected breed, and it grows up to eight inches in length. It is quite common throughout the world, and there are no major threats to its survival, although they are rare in places such as Russia.
Their diet consists of bird eggs, small rodents, small reptiles, and nestlings, and it is believed that their spines are able to protect them from certain threats. Most Daurian hedgehogs live about six years and get up to a little over a pound in weight. They live in dens and are mostly found in steppes and forests.
Found mostly in northern Africa and the Middle East, desert hedgehogs are very small – only getting up to around six inches in length.
Despite its small size, however, the desert hedgehog is difficult to harm because when threatened, it curls up into a tight ball and makes its long quills protrude in all different directions. It can be light or dark in color, and it is also known as the Paraechinus aethiopicus.
These hedgehogs eat things such as baby snakes, various invertebrates, and even scorpions, although they do snip off the stingers first before eating them. Thanks to evolution, they have kidneys that are highly developed, and therefore, they can go a very long time without water. Because of their ability to survive in numerous situations, they are one of the toughest hedgehogs out there.
Also called the African Pygmy hedgehog or the Atelerix albiventris, the hedgehog originated in the sub-Saharan regions of central Africa and is usually found in crop fields and savanna areas.
They are completely white except for their dark head, and they have very short legs and four toes. At eight inches in length, these hedgehogs are smaller than other types, and they can swim, climb, and be very active and noisy.
They have quills that are embedded and, therefore, never shed, and they prefer a variety of habitats, including thickets, woodlands, bushes, suburban gardens, grasslands, and even agricultural land.
Their vocalizations include various types of grunts, hisses, twitters, and snorts, and during mating, the males will use a bird-like call to attract females. They eat insects such as beetles and termites, as well as arthropods such as spiders, millipedes, and even scorpions. They have also been known to eat things such as fruits, earthworms, snakes, frogs, and fungi, among other things.
This type of hedgehog is found in central China, and it is also known as the Mesechinus hughi. It is sometimes called the Central Chinese hedgehog, as it is native to central China and Manchuria, and unlike most other hedgehogs, it looks for food even in the daytime and on days that are rainy.
Hugh’s hedgehog prefers the open areas associated with dry steppe, although they are also found in forests and shrubland. It is a carnivore with a diet that consists of various plants and animals, including invertebrates.
These hedgehogs are native to Pakistan and India and are known as the Paraechinus micropus. They have spots or patches on their faces and resemble raccoons. It prefers high mountain areas where a lot of water can be found, and it is a very fast animal, although not as fast as the long-eared hedgehog. The Indian hedgehog gets to roughly six inches long, and it has a varied diet that includes animals such as toads and frogs.
It weighs no more than one pound, and it is usually mostly brown with lighter shades of brown included in its body. The Indian hedgehog has a stocky body, short tail, a long snout, dark eyes, and large ears.
Although it is small in nature, it has five digits on each leg and very strong claws. It doesn’t hibernate, but it can actually slow down its metabolism if its food becomes scarce. It can dig burrows that are 18 inches long, and they can crawl into these holes to protect themselves from their predators.
Indian Long-Eared Hedgehogs
The Hemiechinus collaris is very different from the regular long-eared hedgehog, as the name suggests. This type of hedgehog is found in very arid regions such as northwestern Indian and in Pakistan. It is a small hedgehog that is dark in color. One of its most unique characteristics is the way it impresses the females of the species because it does this by performing a type of ritual dance over the course of several days.
The Hemiechinus auratus is native to the Middle East, some areas of East Asia, and the Eastern Mediterranean area. It is a hedgehog that prefers moderate climates and has long ears and short spikes.
Rather than curling up in a ball when defending itself, as other types of hedgehogs do, the long-eared hedgehog releases its spikes and then flees. It is also a very fast type of hedgehog, especially when compared to the common or other types of hedgehogs.
Northern White-Breasted Hedgehogs
This type of hedgehog is found throughout Eastern Europe, although today they can also be found in Ukraine, Russia, and the Caucasus. Although similar to the European hedgehog, this type of hedgehog has a white chest and a jaw that looks somewhat different than other types.
It prefers artificial habitats to natural ones and is usually found in parks, rural and urban gardens, shrubby vegetation, and the scrubby habitats found at the edges of forests.
Also called the Atelerix sclateri, the Somali hedgehogs have white bellies and legs that are usually either brown or black in color. The young are called hoglets, while adults are called either sow if they are females or boars if they are males. Although hedgehogs are loners and rarely found in groups, they call these groups arrays.
Southern White-Breasted Hedgehogs
Officially called the Erinaceus concolor, this type of hedgehog looks very similar to the European hedgehog but includes a white spot either on its chest or its belly. Another difference is that the Southern White-Breasted hedgehog doesn’t dig, but instead it makes a nest of grass. It is found in Western Asia and Eastern Europe and besides these differences, its habits are very similar to the European hedgehog.
Fun Facts about Hedgehogs
Their Quills Are Significant
The average hedgehog has between 5,000 and 7,000 quills, which they can raise whenever they feel threatened and need to defend themselves.
Unlike Porcupine Quills
Porcupine quills are poisonous, but the quills on a hedgehog are not. Neither are they barbed, but a hedgehog’s quills are mostly hollow and have complex air chambers that make the quills both strong and light.
Various Types of Hedgehogs Exist
There is a total of 17 species of hedgehogs, and they can live up to 10 years in captivity.
Snakes Do Not Bother Hedgehogs
Although hedgehogs eat mostly berries and insects if they want to eat a snake they can. This is because hedgehogs are mostly immune to a snake’s venom, so they cannot be harmed by them.
The hedgehog was used in the beginning in a place of the groundhog when determining how much cold weather remained because when German settlers got to the United States and couldn’t find a hedgehog, they began to use a groundhog instead. Since then, winter-weather predictions have belonged to the groundhog.
Human Behavior Can Be a Threat
The certain activity has had a big part in reducing the population of hedgehogs. These include the construction of roads, the increase in various agricultural activities, and simple increases in population.
This is because hedgehogs do not live in the city, and since most areas are becoming more populated and are growing at tremendous rates all over the world, the population of hedgehogs is decreasing.
Hedgehogs and Fairy Tales
There is even a fairy tale by the Brothers Grimm about a boy who is born half hedgehog. It is called Hans My Hedgehog. There is also another one entitled The Hare and the Hedgehog by the same writer.
Illegal in Some Areas
Hedgehogs are a popular choice for a pet, but many states consider them wild animals and, therefore, ban them. These states include New York City, Washington, D.C., Hawaii, Georgia, Pennsylvania, California, and Arizona. Some areas, such as Maine, allow people to keep hedgehogs as long as they have a permit for them.
Hedgehogs Need Glasses
Because hedgehogs have very poor eyesight, they rely on other senses, such as smell and hearing, more than they do their sight. They are also nocturnal animals, so their other senses are even more important than they are for most animals.
They Are Ravenous Eaters
Hedgehogs eat a lot; in fact, they can eat up to one-third of their body weight in just one day. They wake up around dusk and hunt for food during nighttime. They also eat everything from small mammals to reptiles and birds to eggs, to name a few.
Hedgehogs do not all hibernate, but many of them do. In fact, in Great Britain, they are only one of three mammals that hibernate; the other two are dormice and bats.
Quills That Gather Food?
A very long time ago, some artists portrayed hedgehogs gathering food with its quills, but this is an inaccurate portrayal. It made for a cute picture and has caused the image to be considered accurate even now, but this isn’t the way hedgehogs gather food.
Called IHOG, there used to be Olympic games made for the common hedgehog. Events included activities such as hurdles, sprints, and even floor exercises!
Hedgehogs Are True Loners
Hedgehogs are mostly loners, but when they do get together in large groups, those groups are called arrays. In fact, about the only time hedgehogs come together is when they wish to mate, making arrays fairly uncommon.
Hedgehogs Are Difficult to Catch Off Guard
Hedgehogs curl up in a ball and expose their quills when they wish to protect themselves from predators, and since they also sleep in a ball, they are rarely caught off guard. In most cases, it is impossible to pry them open, except if done by animals such as badgers.
Not Indigenous to Many Countries
Hedgehogs are not native to the United States, Australia, or New Zealand. In the latter, hedgehogs were actually introduced by humans.
It’s All in the Name
The way hedgehogs got their name is interesting. Hedgehogs prefer the garden hedge as a natural habitat, which gave them their name. Hedgehogs are also named because of the pig-like grunts they tend to make. They are especially popular in English gardens, mainly because of their taste for the insects that most people wish to eliminate from their gardens.
Named After Hedgehogs
Sea urchins are named after hedgehogs and in fact, baby hedgehogs are still called urchins. Hedgehogs were called urchins throughout the Middle Ages, so in effect, the name “hedgehog” is a relatively new one.
Hedgehogs for President
In New Zealand, the McGillicuddy Serious Party attempted to get a tiny hedgehog elected to Parliament, but they were naturally unsuccessful.
Hedgehogs can “self-anoint” when they experience unpleasant smells and odors, which involves rubbing their saliva on their quills. It is odd behavior, and no one knows for sure why they do it.
Their Physical Characteristics Vary
Hedgehogs can grow from 4 to 12 inches in length and can be from 5 to 56 ounces in weight, depending on the species. Most hedgehogs are either white, light-brown, or black, and some even have a black mask around their eyes.
In some cultures, the hedgehog is used in traditional medicine and even in witchcraft. This occurs mostly in areas such as Africa and Eurasia. They can be boiled or roasted and eaten, and they are thought to help with afflictions such as arthritis and rheumatism.
In fact, in the 1980s in Britain, hedgehog-flavored crisps were developed, even though they contained no actual hedgehog meat. The hedgehog meat, blood, and fat are all used for medicinal purposes.
Hedgehogs usually only come together during mating time, and the females have litters of one to eleven babies – called hoglets – each time. The babies stay with their mother only from four to seven weeks before going out on their own, and even though they usually move to a new nest if threatened, they sometimes do resort to eating their young.
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Types of Hedgehogs - A Complete Guide
Are you passionate about hedgehogs? At AnimalWised we are great lovers of this small mammal with short spikes and a pointy nose. It is an independent and beautiful animal that, without a doubt, has an adorable and unique appearance.
In this complete guide, we will review the different types of hedgehogs so you can learn about their specific physical traits, where to find them and some fun facts about them.
Keep reading this article to discover the most common types of hedgehogs and be amazed by the Erinaceidae family and everything related to them.
The European hedgehog or Erinaceus europaeus lives in various western and northern European countries such as Italy, Spain, France and the United Kingdom, among others. It is also known as "common hedgehog".
It usually measures between 20 and 30 cm (around 10 in) long, having an overall brown-black appearance, although some rare cases are blonde. The European hedgehog inhabits wooded areas, has an omnivorous diet, and can live up to 10 years.
Southern white-breasted hedgehog
The southern white-breasted hedgehog or Erinaceus concolor has a very similar appearance to the European hedgehog but differs by having a white spot on its belly or its chest. It is found in Eastern Europe and Western Asia.
Unlike the European hedgehog, the southern white-breasted hedgehog doesn't dig, but prefers to make a nest of grass. Otherwise, their habits are very similar.
Northern white-breasted hedgehog
The northern white-breasted hedgehog or Erinaceus roumanicus is found throughout Eastern Europe, although its presence has spread to Russia, Ukraine and the Caucasus.
Although from the outside it reminds us of the common European hedgehog, like the southern one it also has a white chest. Moreover, it differs from the two previous species by its somewhat different jaw.
The Amur hedgehog or Erinaceus amurensis lives in South-Eastern Russia, Korea and China. It measures about 30 cm (12 in) long and has a pale brown appearance. Its behavior is similar to that of the common hedgehog.
The four-toed hedgehog, African pygmy hedgehog or Atelerix albiventris comes from sub-Saharan Central Africa and inhabits savanna areas and crop fields.
Their body is completely white, which emphasizes their dark head. The four-toed hedgehog has very short legs, and as its name makes clear, it only has four toes. They are smaller than other hedgehogs, at about 20 cm (8 in) long.
Four-toed hedgehogs can swim and climb, and they can be quite noisy and active.
North African hedgehog
Next on our list is the North African hedgehog or Atelerix algirus. Smaller than the previous type of hedgehog, as it tends to not surpass 20 centimeters (8 in) in length.
The North African hedgehog lives across North Africa, including Morocco and Algeria, and currently remains in the wild along the Mediterranean coast including Valencia and Catalonia. It has a light coloring and doesn't have any spines on the crown of its head.
The Somali hedgehog or Atelerix sclateri is indeed endemic to Somalia. It has a white belly ,while its legs are usually black or brown.
Southern African hedgehog
The Southern African hedgehog or Atelerix frontalis is a brownish hedgehog living in southern African countries like Botswana, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe, among others.
While taking note of its black legs and overall brown tone, the Southern African hedgehog has a very distinctive white stripe on its forehead. Like most hedgehogs, the Southern African one hibernates and has an omnivorous diet mostly based on insects.
Next on the list of types of hedgehogs is the long-eared hedgehog or Hemiechinus auritus. The long-eared hedgehog is native to the Middle East, the Eastern Mediterranean and some arid areas of East Asia; it has a very wide range, but it always prefers moderate climates.
The long-eared hedgehog is noted because of its long ears and short spikes, which it prefers to release and then flee, rather than curling up into a ball as a form of defense. It is really fast, much more than the common hedgehog.
Indian long-eared hedgehog
Although its name is very similar to the previous hedgehog, the Indian long-eared hedgehog or Hemiechinus collaris is very different. It inhabits the arid regions of Pakistan and Northwestern India.
It is relatively small and has dark colors. It is interesting to note that this hedgehog performs a ritual dance to impress the female over more than one day.
The Daurian hedgehog or Mesechinus dauuricus is a lonely little hedgehog that lives in Russia and northern Mongolia. It is between 15 and 20 cm (6 to 8 in) long and is protected in those countries.
Image from combinacionanimal blog
Next on our list is Hugh's hedgehog, central Chinese hedgehog or Mesechinus hughi and it is endemic to the steppes of central China.
The desert hedgehog or Paraechinus aethiopicus is particularly small - about 15 cm (6 in) long - and very difficult to harm, as it curls itself up into a ball that protrudes its long quills in all directions. Its colors vary between dark and light.
It is found in the desert areas of North Africa and the Middle East.
The Indian hedgehog or Paraechinus micropus is native to India and Pakistan and has a patch or spot on its face like a raccoon's mask. It lives in high mountain areas where water is readily available.
It measures about 15 cm (6 in) and is quite fast, but not as fast as the long-eared hedgehog. This hedgehog also has a varied diet that includes frogs and toads.
The Brandt's hedgehog or Paraechinus hypomelas measures about 25 cm (10 in) long and has large ears and a dark body. You can find it in parts of Pakistan, Afghanistan and Yemen. When threatened, it tends to curl itself up into a ball. However, it also uses a "jumping" attack to surprise its attackers.
We have left the bare-bellied hedgehog or Paraechinus nudiventris to last spot in our list of types of hedgehogs, as for a time it was believed that they had become extinct until recently when some were found in India.
Unfortunately, we don't have a picture of this kind of hedgehog. If you have one, please send it below in the comments section for it to be published.
17. Gaoligong forest hedgehog
Also known as the Wang's forest hedgehog, the Gaoligong forest hedgehog was only discovered in 2018, making it the 17th known extant hedgehog species. Since its recent discovery, not much is yet known. We do know its habitat is subtropical forest areas at high elevations. They hibernate nearly half the year and its population is believed to be small. Hopefully some new specimens may be hiding somewhere yet to be discovered.
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