• Hedgehogs In The Wild

    Hedgehogs are any of 15 Old World species of insectivores. There are 3 Eurasian hedgehogs (genus Erinaceus), 4 African hedgehogs (genus Atelerix), 6 desert hedgehogs (genus Hemiechinus), and 2 steppe hedgehogs (genus Mesechinus).

    Our pet hedgehogs are not a specific species of animal, but rather a cross between two species, atelerix albiventris and atelerix algirus, both native to Africa, but unlikely to meet in the wild.

    Atelerix albiventris- Also known as the Four Toed Hedgehog because of the number of toes on the rear feet, or White Bellied Hedgehog. Native to southern Africa, from Senegal to Sudan and and Zambia, most commonly found in desert or savannah regions. Average size is 7-9 inches, and 350-700 grams. They are primarily solitary, with males keeping a wide distance from each other. They breed between October and March, with a female producing one to two litters per year.

    Atelerix algirus- Also known as the Algerian or North African Hedgehog. This hedgehog has 5 toes on the back feet, which is not often seen in our pet hedgehogs. A. algirus is found in Algeria, France, Libya, Malta, Morocco, Spain, and Tunisia, commonly in forest or mountain regions. Average size is 8-10 inches, and 750 grams. The Algerian hedgehog's legs and faces are typically longer than the Four Toed hedgehog. They are primarily solitary. They breed from October to March, with females producing 2-3 litters per season.

    Another commonly known type of hedgehogs, due to many appearances in children's literature by authors including Beatrix Potter and Jan Brett is the European Hedgehog. This hedgehog is not available as a pet in North America.

    Erinaceus europaeus- Also known as the European Hedgehog. These hedgehogs are native to England, France, Italy, Ireland, Scotland, and many other areas of Europe, often found in farmland, forests, and suburban areas. Average size is 9 1/2-14 inches, and up to 2,200 grams or 5 pounds. They are brownish in overall color, including on the fur of the belly and face. They are primarily solitary. They breed from May through September, and typically have one litter per year, though some have a second litter if their first litter is lost early.

    There are many other types of hedgehogs in the wild that are not as commonly known, for example:

    Hemiechinus auritus- Also known as the Long Eared Hedgehog. These hedgehogs are native to Egypt, Asia Minor, Afghanistan, parts of India, Russian Turkestan, southeastern Russia, Chinese Turkestan, and Mongolia in desert or steppe regions. Average size is 5-8 inches and 340 grams. The belly fur is cream to tan in color, and the ears are much longer and more pointed than the usual pet hedgehog. They are primarily solitary. They breed from July to September, and have one litter per year. These hedgehogs are sometimes available as pets in various parts of Europe.