African Pygmy Hedgehog

by: Josh Evers

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What are they?

The African Pygmy Hedgehog, also known as the White-Belly Hedgehog and the Four-Toed Hedgehog is the most common domestic hedgehog. This is because they are the smallest of the hedgehog family and contain non-barbed spines.


Genus: Atelerix


Species: albiventris

Where can they be found?

They are commonly found on three continents, those being Africa, Asia, and Europe. They are capable of living in several different environments with dry soil, such as grasslands, woodlands, and plains. They prefer dry, grassy areas where they can find insects easily.


Its niche is eating small insects and other pests and putting nitrogen back into the soil upon urination.

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What does it eat?

Hedgehogs are insectivores, meaning that they eat insects and other small arthropods. They will also often eat invertebrates like snails and worms. Hedgehogs can sometimes eat larger creatures, such as small snakes. They kill larger prey by shaking it to death.

Characteristics

The African Pygmy hedgehog is the smallest species of hedgehogs, anywhere from 7-10 inches long and weighing in at about 300 - 700 grams. It's called the "Four-Toed hedgehog" because it lacks a large toe in the back that all other hedgehogs have. It's called the "White-Belly hedgehog" because of its brown spines and distinctive white stomach.




They have no known mating season, meaning it can breed at any time of the year. Litter size ranges from about 2-10 young.

Adaptations

It has several adaptations that allows it to survive in its environment. It has protective spines on the outside of its body, making it difficult for predators to eat. It has the ability to curl up into a ball and protect its stomach; the weakest part of its body. It's color helps to blend into arid habitats, making it hard for predators to see. Hedgehogs also have a heightened sense of smell, allowing it to smell food and predators. This is very useful seeing as it's nocturnal.

Similarities between other organisms

Hedgehogs share similar adaptations with several other organisms in it's environment. The Echidna is a great example of this, sharing similar color and sharp spines. The Tenrec also shares many similarities such as color, spines, and capable of rolling into balls. Another common species in the Porcupine. However porcupines' quills are sharper than Hedgehogs' spines.