African Pygmy Hedgehogs at the Zoo:


Quilliam – surrendered pet


The African Pygmy Hedgehog (Atelerix albiventris), or four-toed hedgehog, is a tiny mammal that is covered with roughly 6,000 quills which can be used as their defense mechanism. When threatened, hedgehogs will curl into a ball so that the quills are pointing outward in all directions – making him or her very unappealing to predators. Hedgehogs tend to sleep balled up just in case a threat arises. Adults can weigh in between 1-2 lbs. and are roughly 7-9 inches long.

What do they eat?

They love to eat insects, worms, slugs, snails, eggs, small mammals, birds, fruit, roots, fungi, birds, and frogs – quite a varied diet.

How long do they live?

2-3 years in the wild; up to 10 years in captivity.

How many are born at a time?

4-6 in a litter on average.

Where can they be found?

They can be found in much of Eastern, Western, and Central Africa.

Interesting facts

A hedgehog’s quills are sharper and harder than a porcupine’s. Only the strongest predators – like a badger – can open a curled-up hedgehog and prey upon it.