Types of Hedgehogs

Types of Hedgehogs: A Comprehensive Guide to Different Hedgehog Breeds and Species

Hedgehogs are fascinating animals that come in a variety of breeds and species. From domesticated hedgehog breeds suitable for pets to wild hedgehog species found in different parts of the world, there are 17 known types of hedgehogs. Let’s explore the characteristics, habitats, and care needs of these different hedgehog types.

Key Takeaways:

  • There are 17 known types of hedgehogs, including domesticated breeds and wild species.
  • Each type of hedgehog has unique characteristics, habitats, and care needs.
  • Domesticated hedgehog breeds like the African Pygmy and Algerian hedgehog are popular as pets.
  • Wild species like the European hedgehog and Southern White-Breasted hedgehog have specific adaptations for their natural habitats.
  • Researching and understanding the specific requirements of the type of hedgehog you want to keep as a pet is crucial for their well-being.

African Pygmy Hedgehog: The Popular Domesticated Hedgehog Breed

The African Pygmy hedgehog, also known as the “four-toed hedgehog,” is one of the most popular domesticated hedgehog breeds kept as pets. These adorable creatures are native to Africa and have become increasingly popular due to their small size, gentle temperament, and unique appearance.

African Pygmy hedgehogs have an average size of 6-8 inches in length and weigh around 1-2 pounds. Their bodies are covered in quills that are stiff but not sharp. Contrary to popular belief, these quills do not shoot out or detach from their bodies. Instead, they serve as a defense mechanism, protecting them from potential predators.

As pets, African Pygmy hedgehogs require a specialized diet consisting of high-quality hedgehog food, supplemented with insects, fruits, and vegetables. They are solitary and nocturnal creatures, so it’s important to provide them with a quiet and secure environment during the daytime. It’s recommended to handle them gently and provide regular socialization to help them feel comfortable and bond with their owners.

These cute little creatures are undoubtedly unique and exotic with their small size, adorable appearance, and interesting behaviors. However, potential owners should always do their research and ensure they are ready to provide the specific care and attention that African Pygmy hedgehogs require.

Characteristics of African Pygmy Hedgehogs:

  • Small size, reaching 6-8 inches in length
  • Gentle temperament and relatively easy to handle
  • Nocturnal and solitary creatures
  • Require a specialized diet of hedgehog food, supplemented with insects, fruits, and vegetables
Common Traits Unique Traits
  • Small size
  • Gentle temperament
  • Nocturnal behavior
  • Quills for defense
  • Ability to roll into a ball

Overall, African Pygmy hedgehogs make wonderful companions for individuals or families looking for an exotic and low-maintenance pet. However, it’s important to remember that they require specific care and attention to thrive in a domesticated environment.

Algerian Hedgehog: A Distant Relative of Domesticated Hedgehogs

In the world of hedgehogs, the Algerian hedgehog holds an intriguing place as a distant relative of domesticated hedgehog breeds. This unique species was domesticated by the Romans in the fourth century, primarily for its meat and quill production. Today, Algerian hedgehogs are still kept as pets and are cherished for their distinctive appearance and charming personality.

The Algerian hedgehog typically grows to be about 7-10 inches long and has similar care needs as other domesticated hedgehog breeds. They are solitary creatures that require a proper habitat, nutritious diet, and regular veterinary care to thrive. When kept as pets, they can bring joy and companionship to their owners.

Algerian hedgehogs, with their prickly quills and inquisitive nature, have captivated the hearts of hedgehog enthusiasts around the world.

If you’re considering getting an Algerian hedgehog as a pet, it’s important to do your research and ensure you’re prepared to meet their specific needs. Providing a comfortable enclosure with appropriate bedding, hiding spots, and toys for enrichment is essential. Additionally, maintaining a proper diet consisting of high-quality hedgehog food and occasional treats is crucial for their well-being.

Characteristics Algerian Hedgehog
Average Length 7-10 inches
Temperament Curious and inquisitive
Care Needs Proper habitat, nutritious diet, regular veterinary care
Lifespan Average 4-6 years

Algerian Hedgehog: A Unique Pet

While Algerian hedgehogs may not be as widely known as some other domesticated hedgehog breeds, they offer a unique charm and beauty that make them a captivating choice for pet enthusiasts. Their history of Roman domestication and their multi-purpose usefulness make them a distinct member of the hedgehog family.

Whether you’re an experienced hedgehog owner or looking to embark on a new pet adventure, the Algerian hedgehog is a fascinating companion worth considering. Their independent nature, coupled with their unique appearance, make them an intriguing addition to any hedgehog enthusiast’s collection.

Long-Eared Hedgehog: A Unique Domesticated Breed with Hibernation Habits

The long-eared hedgehog is a captivating domesticated breed that offers a unique set of characteristics and behaviors. As the name suggests, these hedgehogs have longer ears compared to their European counterparts. In addition to their distinct appearance, long-eared hedgehogs possess fascinating hibernation habits, making them a subject of interest among hedgehog enthusiasts.

Long-eared hedgehogs are smaller than European hedgehogs, with an average length of about 6 inches. They have a slender body and longer legs, giving them a more agile and nimble appearance.

One of the most notable features of long-eared hedgehogs is their hibernation behavior. While European hedgehogs typically hibernate during the winter months, long-eared hedgehogs have been observed to enter a state of torpor during both summer and winter. This unique adaptation allows them to conserve energy and survive in their natural habitats. However, it’s important to note that hibernation can be a delicate phase for these hedgehogs, and proper care is essential to ensure their well-being.

  1. When keeping long-eared hedgehogs as pets, it’s crucial to provide them with a suitable hibernation environment. This includes a cool, dark, and quiet area where they can safely enter their torpor state.
  2. Long-eared hedgehogs are also more prone to parasites compared to European hedgehogs. Regular check-ups with a veterinarian and appropriate preventive measures, such as maintaining proper hygiene and providing a clean living space, are vital to keep them healthy and parasite-free.
  3. It’s recommended to source long-eared hedgehogs from reputable breeders or pet stores to ensure their health and well-being. Responsible breeders can provide valuable guidance on the specific care requirements of these unique hedgehogs.

In conclusion, the long-eared hedgehog is a remarkable domesticated breed that stands out with its hibernation habits and distinct physical features. Their smaller size, longer ears, and hibernation behavior make them a captivating choice for hedgehog enthusiasts. However, it’s essential to understand their specific care needs, particularly regarding hibernation and parasite prevention, to ensure their health and happiness as cherished pets.

Table: Comparison of European Hedgehog and Long-Eared Hedgehog

Characteristic European Hedgehog Long-Eared Hedgehog
Average Length Approximately 10 inches Approximately 6 inches
Hibernation Habit Hibernates during winter Enters torpor during both summer and winter
Ear Length Shorter Longer
Parasite Prone Less prone to parasites More prone to parasites

Indian Long-Eared Hedgehog: Thriving in Extreme Temperatures

The Indian Long-Eared Hedgehog, native to India and Pakistan, demonstrates remarkable adaptability to extreme heat and cold. This hedgehog species has evolved specific traits that allow it to withstand a wide range of temperatures, making it an interesting and resilient creature.

In hot climates, the Indian Long-Eared Hedgehog utilizes its ability to conserve water and regulate body temperature through behavioral adaptations. It seeks shelter during the day to avoid direct sunlight and reduces activity levels to conserve energy. These hedgehogs have developed efficient cooling mechanisms, such as panting and burrowing, to survive high temperatures.

Conversely, in colder environments, the Indian Long-Eared Hedgehog can enter a state of torpor, which is similar to hibernation. This allows them to conserve energy and withstand freezing temperatures. During torpor, their metabolism slows down, and their body temperature drops significantly, enabling them to survive extreme cold conditions.

Despite their ability to thrive in extreme temperatures, it’s important to note that the Indian Long-Eared Hedgehog still requires suitable habitats and appropriate care, especially when kept as pets. Providing them with a comfortable temperature range and adequate shelter is crucial for their well-being.

Habitat Comparison: Indian Long-Eared Hedgehog vs. European Hedgehog

Indian Long-Eared Hedgehog European Hedgehog
Native to India and Pakistan Native to Europe
Thrives in extreme heat and cold Adapted to mild temperate climates
Efficient cooling mechanisms Minimal cooling adaptations
Torpor during extreme cold Hibernation during winter

As seen in the habitat comparison table, the Indian Long-Eared Hedgehog and the European Hedgehog have distinct habitat preferences and adaptations. The Indian Long-Eared Hedgehog’s ability to withstand extreme heat and cold sets it apart from many other hedgehog species, making it an intriguing creature to study and care for.

European Hedgehog: The Common Hedgehog Found Across Europe

The European hedgehog, also known as the common hedgehog, is a well-known species found across much of Europe. These adorable creatures have distinct features and behaviors that make them fascinating to observe. Let’s take a closer look at the characteristics, length, and lifespan of the European hedgehog.

Habitat and Characteristics

The European hedgehog is commonly found in a wide range of habitats, including forests, grasslands, gardens, and even urban areas. They have a spiky coat of quills that protects them from predators and can curl into a ball for added defense. These hedgehogs are usually brown or gray in color, with a white or cream underbelly.

European hedgehogs are small to medium-sized, typically measuring about 8 to 12 inches in length. On average, they weigh between 1 and 2 pounds. These hedgehogs have a lifespan of around 4 to 7 years in the wild, although some individuals have been known to live up to 10 years in captivity.

Caring for European Hedgehogs

If you’re considering keeping a European hedgehog as a pet, it’s essential to provide them with proper care and an appropriate environment. They require a spacious enclosure with plenty of bedding for burrowing and hiding. A balanced diet consisting of high-quality hedgehog food, supplemented with insects, fruits, and vegetables, is crucial for their health.

It’s important to note that European hedgehogs are not legal to keep as pets in all countries. Before considering a hedgehog as a pet, check the local regulations and ensure you can provide them with the care they need.

European Hedgehog Common Hedgehog
Average Length 8-12 inches
Average Weight 1-2 pounds
Lifespan 4-7 years (wild), up to 10 years (captivity)
Habitat Forests, grasslands, gardens, urban areas
Special Characteristics Spiky coat of quills, ability to curl into a ball for defense

In conclusion, the European hedgehog is a common and beloved species found across Europe. With their unique physical characteristics and adaptive behaviors, they have captured the hearts of animal lovers worldwide. Whether seen in the wild or kept as pets, these adorable creatures continue to captivate and enchant with their charm.

Southern White-Breasted Hedgehog: Differences from the European Hedgehog

The Southern White-Breasted hedgehog is a unique hedgehog species found in Eastern Europe and Western Asia. It distinguishes itself from the European hedgehog primarily through its distinctive white belly and nesting behavior. While the European hedgehog is known for its digging habits, the Southern White-Breasted hedgehog prefers to construct nests from grass.

This hedgehog species has adapted to its environment by developing specific nesting behaviors that provide protection and camouflage. These nests not only serve as safe havens but also help regulate their body temperatures in different weather conditions. The white belly of the Southern White-Breasted hedgehog is a notable feature that sets it apart from other hedgehog breeds.

Although similar in size to the European hedgehog, the Southern White-Breasted hedgehog’s unique characteristics and natural habitat make it an intriguing species to study and care for. Understanding their nesting behavior and providing appropriate bedding materials in captivity is crucial to mimic their natural environment and ensure their well-being.

“The Southern White-Breasted hedgehog’s white belly and nest-making behavior are fascinating traits that highlight the diversity and adaptability of hedgehog species.”

– Hedgehog Expert

Comparison between Southern White-Breasted Hedgehog and European Hedgehog:

Characteristics Southern White-Breasted Hedgehog European Hedgehog
Coloration White belly, brown back Brown or gray all over
Nesting Behavior Constructs nests from grass Digs burrows underground
Habitat Eastern Europe and Western Asia Found across much of Europe

Russian White-Breasted Hedgehog: Native to Eastern Europe and Russia

The Russian White-Breasted hedgehog is a fascinating hedgehog species native to Eastern Europe and Russia. These unique hedgehogs are easily identifiable by their distinct white belly, which sets them apart from other hedgehog breeds. They have spread to regions such as Russia, Ukraine, and the Caucasus, thriving in their natural habitats.

Unlike some other hedgehog species, the Russian White-Breasted hedgehog prefers a slightly different habitat. They are often found in wooded areas, grasslands, and shrubby landscapes. These hedgehogs have specific habitat requirements to ensure their optimal care and well-being as pets or in the wild.

“The Russian White-Breasted hedgehog is a charming creature with its white belly, native to Eastern Europe and Russia. Its habitat preferences make it uniquely adapted to thrive in wooded areas and grasslands.”

Key Characteristics of Russian White-Breasted Hedgehog:

  • Eastern Europe and Russia: This species is native to Eastern Europe and Russia.
  • White Belly: The Russian White-Breasted hedgehog stands out with its distinct white belly.
  • Wooded Areas and Grasslands: These hedgehogs prefer habitats such as wooded areas and grasslands.
Attribute Description
Native Region Eastern Europe and Russia
Belly Color White
Habitat Preferences Wooded areas, grasslands, shrubby landscapes

When considering a Russian White-Breasted hedgehog as a pet, it’s important to replicate their natural habitat as closely as possible. Providing a suitable living environment will contribute to their overall well-being and happiness. These hedgehogs can be wonderful companions with the right care and attention.

Amur Hedgehog: A Foot-Long Hedgehog from Central Asia

The Amur hedgehog is a fascinating species native to Central Asia. These hedgehogs can grow up to a foot long, making them larger than many other hedgehog breeds. They are also found in South-Eastern Russia, Korea, and China, showcasing their distribution across the region. The Amur hedgehog’s unique size and range contribute to its appeal as a pet.

Understanding the natural habitat and characteristics of the Amur hedgehog is crucial for providing appropriate care. These hedgehogs are well-adapted to thrive in diverse environments, including forests, grasslands, and agricultural areas. They have a varied diet, consisting of insects, small vertebrates, and plant matter.

The Amur hedgehog’s larger size and distribution make it an intriguing hedgehog species to study and care for. Their unique features and behaviors add to their charm, making them a popular choice among hedgehog enthusiasts. To ensure the well-being of Amur hedgehogs as pets, it is essential to create a suitable habitat that mimics their natural environment and provide a balanced diet.

Amur Hedgehog Attributes
Size Approximately one foot long
Distribution Central Asia, South-Eastern Russia, Korea, China
Habitat Forests, grasslands, agricultural areas
Diet Insects, small vertebrates, plant matter

Somali Hedgehog: A Small Hedgehog with Unique Coloring

The Somali hedgehog is a fascinating species known for its small size and distinctive coloring. Native to Somalia, this hedgehog has a white belly paired with brown or black legs, creating a striking contrast. Their unique coloration sets them apart from other hedgehog species and adds to their charm as pets.

Similar to other hedgehogs, Somali hedgehogs have spines covering their backs for protection. These spines are modified hairs that help deter predators and provide defense. Despite their spiky appearance, Somali hedgehogs are generally docile and can become affectionate pets with proper care and handling.

When considering a Somali hedgehog as a pet, it’s important to create a suitable habitat that mimics their natural environment. Provide a spacious enclosure with hiding spots, bedding material, and appropriate temperature and humidity levels. Additionally, their diet should consist of a balanced mix of insects, fruits, and vegetables to ensure their nutritional needs are met.

Table: A Comparison of Hedgehog Species

Hedgehog Species Natural Habitat Size Coloration
Somali Hedgehog Somalia Small White belly with brown or black legs
African Pygmy Hedgehog Central and Eastern Africa Small Variety of colors
Algerian Hedgehog North Africa and Mediterranean regions Small to medium Dark brown with lighter spines
European Hedgehog Europe and parts of Asia Medium Variable, typically brown

As with any pet, it’s essential to research and understand the specific needs of the Somali hedgehog before bringing one into your home. Keep in mind that hedgehogs, including Somali hedgehogs, require regular veterinary care, social interaction, and mental stimulation to thrive in a domestic environment. By providing a loving and enriched environment, you can enjoy the companionship of a small hedgehog with unique coloring.


Hedgehogs are fascinating creatures that come in various breeds and species. From domesticated hedgehog breeds like the African Pygmy and Algerian hedgehog to wild species like the European hedgehog and Southern White-Breasted hedgehog, there is a diverse range of hedgehogs to learn about.

Each type of hedgehog has its unique characteristics, habitats, and care needs. It’s important to research and understand the specific requirements of the type of hedgehog you are interested in keeping as a pet.

By providing the right care, hedgehogs can thrive and become beloved companions. Whether you’re interested in the different types of hedgehogs for their variety of colors, sizes, or temperament, there is a hedgehog breed or species to suit your preferences.


What breeds of hedgehogs make good pets?

African Pygmy hedgehogs are popular domesticated hedgehog breeds kept as pets.

How many types of hedgehogs are there?

There are 17 known types of hedgehogs.

Do hedgehogs hibernate?

The long-eared hedgehog and European hedgehog have hibernation habits.

Where are Indian Long-Eared hedgehogs native to?

Indian Long-Eared hedgehogs are native to India and Pakistan.

What is the difference between a European hedgehog and a Southern White-Breasted hedgehog?

The Southern White-Breasted hedgehog has a white belly and nest-making behavior, while the European hedgehog does not.

Where is the Russian White-Breasted hedgehog native to?

The Russian White-Breasted hedgehog is native to Eastern Europe and Russia.

Where is the Amur hedgehog found?

The Amur hedgehog is native to Central Asia and can also be found in South-Eastern Russia, Korea, and China.

What is unique about the Somali hedgehog?

The Somali hedgehog has a white belly with brown or black legs, giving it a distinct appearance.

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