The Desert hedgehog is the smallest member of the hedgehog family. Its most distinctive feature is its contrasting dark muzzle and white band across its face.

Unlike other species of hedgehog, if the desert hedgehog feels threatened, its muscles go tight and pull the outer layer of skin around its body, making its quills
stick out in all directions. It is said to be very difficult to catch a hedgehog due to this, and due to its long length quills.

Photo credit – Grace the Hedgehog

South African hedgehogs are found in a wide variety of habitats including grasslands, rocky areas, savannah, and suburban gardens. The most recognisable feature of this species of hedgehog is the white band across its forehead.

The Southern African hedgehog is allegedly a slow roamer, but can move surprisingly fast when feeling threatened. South African Hedgehogs face dangers from
humans, and many of them are sadly killed due to motor vehicles.

Photo credit – Grace the Hedgehog

The Somali is a savanna species and, like most hedgehogs, is believed to live in grasslands and other open habitats.

The Somali Hedgehog has chocolate-brown and black banded quills. It has white fur in its underbelly and brown fur on the rear.

Photo credit – Grace the Hedgehog

The Algerian hedgehog is now considered to be a rare species. Its home is limited to the flat lands of the eastern Mediterranean coast where its numbers have been devastated by urban intrusion, means of transportation and predators.

The Algerian Hedgehog’s spikes are smaller and a lot softer than what you would expect of a European Hedgehog. The Algerian also has a longer snout and bigger ears than the European.

Did you know that Eurasian eagle owls overlap in geographic range with Algerian Hedgehogs and are known to prey on them?

Photo credit – Grace the Hedgehog

The African pygmy hedgehog is a hybrid of the four toed hedgehog and the Algerian hedgehog. It is the most popular species of domesticated hedgehog in the world and a very desirable pet!

Up until around 40 years ago, people didn’t tend to keep hedgehogs as pets. Domesticating hedgehogs and keeping them as pets began as recently as the 1980’s. The
lifespan of the African pygmy hedgehog is around two to three years in the wild, or as many as ten years in captivity.