African Pygmy Hedgehog Fact Sheet

Common Name:

African Pygmy Hedgehog / Four-toed Hedgehog

Scientific Name:

A. albiventris

Wild Status:

Least Concern

Habitat:

Grasslands, Savannah

Country:

Various countries across Africa

Shelter:

Burrows

Life Span:

3 years wild, 8-10 in captivity

Size:

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.

Details:

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.

For Teachers and Educators

African-Pygmy-Hedgehog-Fact-Sheet.pdf

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