African Pygmy Hedgehog Fact Sheet

Common Name:

African Pygmy Hedgehog / Four-toed Hedgehog

Scientific Name:

A. albiventris

Wild Status:

Least Concern


Grasslands, Savannah


Various countries across Africa



Life Span:

3 years wild, 8-10 in captivity


5-8 inches long

Cool Facts:

  • Born with spines, skin covers spines to protect the mother.
  • Can detect prey from 2 inches underground.
  • When they notice a new or strong smell, they create frothy saliva that spreads to their spines. Thought to be a defense mechanism which is done when nervous.
  • Will also tense up their muscles and curl up in a ball to protect their head & belly as a defense mechanism.
  • Short legs, short tail, long nose, and small beady eyes.
  • Females are typically larger than males.
  • Also commonly known as the "four-toed hedgehog" because of the amount of toes on their back feet.
  • Their main predators are birds of prey, jackals, honey badgers, and hyenas.


The African Pygmy Hedgehog is an adorable mammal found across a wide area of central Africa. They avoid forests and swampland, and actually prefer to live in open grassy, or dry & rocky areas. They are omnivores that tend to eat small insects & arachnids...and they actually have a high tolerance for toxins - African Pygmy Hedgehog's have been known to eat scorpions and even small venomous snakes! Making good use of their anatomy, their main form of defense is to curl up into a ball, protecting their soft areas and harming predators with their spikes. They are a fairly common domesticated hedgehog found in the pet trade, but remember these little guys are very energetic - a large hamster wheel or similar plaything gives them a great way to exercise and have fun!

Taxonomic Breakdown:

Kingdom: Animalia Phylum: Chordata Class: Mammalia Order: Erinaceomorpha Family: Erinaceidae Genus: Atelerix Species: A. albiventris

Conservation & Helping:

Because of the wide area they inhabit, and their stable population in the wild, African Pygmy Hedgehogs are of least concern on the endangered species list.

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