Where do they come from?
The breed is a hybrid of the four-toed hedgehog or African white-bellied hedgehog and the Algerian hedgehog. The scientific name is Atelerix albiventris. Its natural habitat is central, eastern and southern Africa.
What do they look like?
An adult African pygmy hedgehog is six to 11 inches long and weighs up to 1 kilo. A relaxed one is generally oval, with a very short tail and short limbs that keep the body close to the ground. When threatened or disturbed, it contracts a series of muscles, rolls into a ball and forces its quills out in all directions. Female hedgehogs are slightly larger than males. The face and underside are covered with a soft, white fur.
Do hedgehogs have fleas?
No. Hedgehogs are born in captivity so just like hamsters etc, they live indoors and do not have fleas.
Can they live outside?
No. They would not survive if kept outside. Like any other small pet they need to be kept indoors in a cage.
Do they hibernate?
No. However, if they get cold they will try to hibernate. They cannot be allowed to do this, it could prove fatal.
How long do they live?
They live approximately 3 – 5 years.
How big do they get?
They grow to about a third of the size of a wild hedgehog.
What do they eat?
Their staple diet is dry cat food. They must not eat any dairy or fish.
Are they prickly?
Hedgehogs are prickly although they only put their spines up when they feel nervous or feel threatened. When your hedgehog is tame his spines will lay flat.
Is it better to have a male or female?
Both are very similar in temperament. A female will grow slightly bigger than a male but this isn’t a hard and fast rule.
What sort of cage do they need?
An indoor guinea pig / rabbit cage with a minimum length of 1m is ideal, they must also have a 12” running wheel for exercise.
Can they live in pairs?
Definitely not. Hedgehogs are solitary animals and will not tolerate a cage mate.
Are they nocturnal?
Yes. They are most active at dusk and dawn and will sleep during the day. However, your hedgehog won’t mind being woken up during the day for a cuddle.