African Pygmy Hedgehog

Atelerix albiventris


African pygmy hedgehogs are one of the most common species of domesticated hedgehog. These hedgehogs originate from Africa, primarily from areas surrounding Nigeria. They inhabit a variety of habitats, including grasslands, woodlands, bush, thickets, and plains. African pygmy hedgehogs are sometimes referred to as the four-toed, white-bellied, or domesticated hedgehog. These hedgehogs are the smallest member of the hedgehog family, weighing between 0.5 - 1.25 pounds.

One of the most prominent features of hedgehogs are the prickly spines covering their bodies. These small, non-barbed spines, are different from a porcupine’s. Hedgehog's spines are permanently embedded in the skin and are not shed. Hedgehogs have the ability to control and flex these spines and curl up into a ball through muscle contraction.

When provoked in the wild, the spines are used a defensive mechanism to evade predators. A hedgehog's spines are their first line of defense, they’ll roll up into a ball, and erect their spines against their predator to form a protective barrier. These animals are territorial in their natural habitat, and can engage in aggressive behavior if their territory is encroached upon. Hedgehogs are a very popular domestic pet in the United States, this first started in the 1980s. In the wild, these hedgehogs are insectivores, meaning that they mainly eat insects, however, this can change in domestication. African pygmy hedgehogs are accustomed to warm climates, which should be consistent in domestication. Wild hedgehogs have an average lifespan of 2 years, contrasting to domesticated hedgehogs living an average of 3 - 5 years.


Say Hello To Cub Creek's Hedgehogs: Lakelynn, Ruby, Diamond, and Peanut

Lakelynn is our oldest hedgehog, she came to us as a 3-month-old in February 2018. Lakelynn loves cuddling with her sister Ruby and running on her wheel. She also enjoys posing for pictures with the campers that adopt her for the week. Ruby is new to our family, she came to us in February 2019. She has the prettiest ruby red eyes and loves to cuddle with anyone that will pick her up. Her favorite activity is to “redecorate” her enclosure every night! Diamond came at the same time as Ruby but has taken a bit longer to be comfortable with people. She is shy at first but relaxes with time. Her favorite activity is exploring at night and switching up her sleeping places. We got Peanut in the summer of 2019 and has been a joy to have ever since. We got him from a former camper so he came socialized and friendly.


African Pygmy Hedgehog Map - Cub Creek Science Camp

African Pygmy Hedgehog populations are spread throughout Western and Eastern Africa. They've been domesticated and since transported to the U.S. and Canada.

Habitat Icon Cub Creek Science Camp

HABITAT -African pygmy hedgehogs inhabit grasslands, woodlands, bush, thickets, and plains of Africa.

Diet Icon Cub Creek Science Camp

DIET -In the wild they are insectivores. Domesticated hedgehog can eat specialized food, cat food, and insects.

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FUN FACT -The name for a baby hedgehog is a hoglet.

Social Behavior Icon Cub Creek Science Camp

SOCIAL BEHAVIOR -It can take awhile for a hedgehog to adjust to a human owner. Once they do they make great companions.

Activity Icon Cub Creek Science Camp

ACTIVITY -They are primarily nocturnal but can be crepuscular (active at dawn and dusk).

Predator Icon Cub Creek Science Camp

PREDATORS -Main predators in the wild are Verreaux’s eagle owl, jackal, hyena, and honey badgers.

Size Icon Cub Creek Science Camp

SIZE -African pygmy hedgehogs can weigh between .5 - 1.25 pounds, getting as long as 6 inches.

RelativesIcon Cub Creek Science Camp

RELATIVES - Genus Atelerix contains 3 other species of hedgehogs, all related to the African Pygmy Hedgehog.

Conservation Icon Cub Creek Science Camp

CONSERVATION -African pygmy hedgehogs are considered Least Concern on the IUCN Red List.


Cub Creek Animal Care Information


Housing - We house our hedgehogs in a variety of enclosures, with large open petters and single living critter cages. The large open enclosures provide an abundant amount of room for hedgehogs to play at night, which includes hides and tunnels, which simulate their natural environment. Their enclosure is bedded with shavings. In the single living critter cages, they are multi-leveled, offering our hedgehogs a variety of space to explore. We make sure to keep them stimulated with plenty of toys.

Diet - We feed our hedgehogs a mixture of Spike’s Delite Hedgehog food (a specialized diet food for hedgehogs) and other dry food. Spike's Delite, provides multiple protein sources to help keep them healthy and happy! Their food includes chicken meal, fish meal, dried egg, and lots of vitamins and minerals. They will also receive mealworm treats from time to time to supplement their diet.

Enrichment - Being nocturnal, our hedgehogs love to play at night time. During the summer, campers may do a night owl to go see these cute creatures playing in the evening! We provide plenty of toys and enrichment for our hedgehogs, ranging from exercise wheels and exercise balls, to small plastic balls! A favorite of our campers and hedgehogs are toilet paper roll tubes!