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!

Where do African pygmy hedgehogs come from?

In the wild, African pygmy hedgehogs can be found across the steppes, grasslands and savanna of West, central and East Africa.

What is the African Pygmy hedgehog’s natural habitat like?

The African pygmy hedgehogs are a very active species and travel large distances in the wild. So in captivity they need plenty of room to move around.

How long do African pygmy hedgehogs live?

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.

What do African pygmy hedgehogs eat?

In the wild, African pygmy hedgehogs are natural omnivores, meaning they mostly eat small invertebrates like earthworms, spiders and other insects, as well as plants.

In captivity, live insect food is an important part of the African pygmy hedgehogs diet – allowing them to continue with their natural foraging and hunting behaviour – but their diet can also be supplemented with specialist hedgehog food.

This particular type of hedgehog is found in lowland China and lives in forest-type open spaces. It thrives in long grass and bushes or hedges. As with most types of hedgehog, they are nocturnal.

Amur hedgehogs have similar characteristics to the European hedgehog in terms of appearance and behaviour, although the Amur is more lightly coloured and is larger than the European.

Did you know that the name ‘hedgehog’ refers to the pig-like grunts it makes as it forages?

Photo credit – Grace the Hedgehog

For some time, Northern White-Breasted hedgehogs were considered to be a subspecies of European hedgehog and later a subspecies of Southern White-Breasted hedgehog. It is now considered a species of its own and has been since the 1990s!

The range of the species extends in the west as far as Poland and Austria, and south to Greece, including populations in Crete, Corfu and Rhodes.

This species of our spiky friends like to build grass nests in secluded places. They are very similar to European Hedgehogs, though differ slightly in appearance with their white chest. For a period of time, European Hedgehogs and Southern White-Breasted Hedgehogs were considered to be the same species! The Southern White-Breasted differs to its European relative, as it prefers to build grass nests in secluded places rather than dig a ‘den’.

The European hedgehog is one of the UK’s most familiar wild animals. They are commonly seen in wild corners of gardens or parks, in hedges and bushes where they can happily hide from predators and raise their young.

These spikey insectivores mostly come out at night. You are most likely to see a European hedgehog from April-October, as hedgehogs are one of only three mammals in the UK which hibernate, the other two being the bat and the dormouse.

Did you know that the average hedgehog has around 7000 spines on its back?