Types Of Hedgehogs – Explanation + Visual Guide

Hedgehogs are a type of animal that we call mammals. Hedgehogs are small and they have short spikes on their bodies, short legs, and a pointy nose. They’re really cute animals and they are many types of hedgehogs (17 species to be exact).

These animals look like a porcupine but they are not the same. A porcupine’s quills (spikes) are poisonous. Hedgehog quills are not.

Hedgehogs inhabit a variety of terrain in areas of Europe, Asia, and Africa. You can sometimes see hedgehogs in search of different types of earthworms, after rainstorms. They love munching on invertebrates.

European Hedgehog

The European hedgehog, also known by its scientific name, Erinaceus europaeus or the West European hedgehog or the common hedgehog, is native to Europe (but you already knew that).

This species of hedgehogs are usually about 10 inches long with a brownish to black appearance. They are known to live for up to 10 years and typically eat slugs, snails, earthworms, beetles, caterpillars, and other insects.

European hedgehog, Erinaceus europaeus.
European hedgehog, Erinaceus europaeus.

African Pygmy Hedgehog

The African pygmy hedgehog (Atelerix albiventris) or four-toed hedgehog inhabits areas throughout central and eastern Africa. They grow to about 8 inches long and are white in color. As its name suggests, it only has four toes on each paw. These little guys can also swim.

Four-toed hedgehogs feed on insects, grubs, snails, spiders (for example, tarantulas), as well as plants. They live for up to 3 years in the wild.

Four-Toed Hedgehog or African Pygmy Hedgehog (Atelerix albiventris).
African Pygmy Hedgehog

Long-eared Hedgehog

Long-eared hedgehogs or Hemiechinus auritus are nocturnal and are known to wander up to 5 miles in search of food. They generally live in moderate climates throughout the Middle East, the Eastern Mediterranean and some arid areas of East Asia.

These types of hedgehogs have short spikes and, of course, long ears. Their main defense mechanism is to shoot its spikes and then flee the scene.

Long-eared hedgehog (Hemiechinus auritus)
Long-eared hedgehog (Hemiechinus auritus)

Indian Long-eared Hedgehog

The Indian long-eared hedgehog or Hemiechinus collaris lives in arid regions of Pakistan and Northwestern India. It’s a small hedgehog that is dark in color. It grows up to 6.5 inches in length.

Indian long-eared hedgehog or Hemiechinus collaris
Indian long-eared hedgehog or Hemiechinus collaris

Brandt’s Hedgehog

Brandt’s hedgehog or Paraechinus hypomelas grows up to 10 inches in length. They have large ears and are dark in color. These types of hedgehogs live in parts of Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Yemen. In addition to curling up in a defensive ball, Brandt’s hedgehogs jump at predators to scare them off.

Brandt's hedgehog or Paraechinus hypomelas
Brandt’s hedgehog/Paraechinus hypomelas

Desert Hedgehog

The desert hedgehog (Paraechinus aethiopicus) is small and grows up to 6 inches long. When threatened, these hedgehogs curl up in a defensive ball that allows its long quills to protrude and hurt predators.

These hedgehog breeds live in desert areas of North Africa and the Middle East. They feed on baby snakes, various invertebrates (like lizards), and even scorpions. However, they are smart enough to rip off the stingers first before eating scorpions.

Desert Hedgehog Paraechinus aethiopicus.
Desert Hedgehog/Paraechinus aethiopicus.

Bare-bellied Hedgehog

This hedgehog species was believed to be extinct until recently when some were found in India. There is not much known about these varieties of hedgehogs.

The bare-bellied hedgehog (Paraechinus nudiventris), also known as the Madras hedgehog, is a species of hedgehog that is endemic to dry arid regions and scrubby jungles in south-eastern India.

bare-bellied hedgehog (Paraechinus nudiventris), also known as the Madras hedgehog
Bare-bellied hedgehog (Paraechinus nudiventris)

Daurian Hedgehog

The Daurian hedgehog or Mesechinus dauuricus is a small hedgehog that grows up to 8 inches long and lives in Russia and Nothern Mongolia. They like to feed on bird eggs, small rodents, small reptiles, and nestlings. These types of hedgehog prefer to be alone.

Daurian hedgehog or Mesechinus dauuricus
Daurian hedgehog or Mesechinus dauuricus

Hugh’s Hedgehog

These types of hedgehogs are endemic to central China and Manchuria. Hugh’s hedgehog or mesechinus hughi, unlike other hedgehog species, that are nocturnal, these ones can be seen looking for food in the daytime.

Hugh's hedgehog or mesechinus hughi
Hugh’s hedgehog/mesechinus hughi.

Somali Hedgehog

As the name suggests, the Somali hedgehog (Atelerix sclateri) is native to Somalia. It has white fur on its underbelly however the feet are brown or black in color.

Somali hedgehog (Atelerix sclateri)
Somali hedgehog (Atelerix sclateri)

Amur Hedgehog

The Amur hedgehog, also called the Manchurian hedgehog (Erinaceus amurensis), makes its home in South-Eastern Russia, Korea, and China. They are about 12 inches in length and are usually pale brown.

Amur Hedgehog/(Erinaceus amurensis).
Amur Hedgehog (Erinaceus amurensis)

Northern White-Breasted Hedgehogs

The northern white-breasted hedgehog (Erinaceus roumanicus) is a species of hedgehog that inhabit areas of Poland, Austria, Greece, and the Adriatic Islands. These hedgehogs look like common European hedgehogs but with a white crest of fur in the breast area.

northern white-breasted hedgehog (Erinaceus roumanicus)
Northern white-breasted hedgehog (Erinaceus roumanicus)

Southern White-Breasted Hedgehogs

The southern white-breasted hedgehog (Erinaceus concolor) sometimes referred to as white-bellied hedgehog or white-chested hedgehog lives in Southwestern Asia and Eastern Europe.

It resembles the European hedgehog but it has a white spot of fur on its belly or chest area. These hedgehogs also prefer to make nests of grass instead of digging dens. It’s also genetically different than the northern white-breasted hedgehog.

southern white-breasted hedgehog (Erinaceus concolor).
Southern white-breasted hedgehog (Erinaceus concolor).

Southern African Hedgehog

The Southern African hedgehog or Atelerix frontalis is brownish in color. It has a distinct white stripe on its forehead and black legs. This hedgehog lives in southern African countries like Botswana, Namibia, South Africa, and Zimbabwe.

Southern African hedgehog or Atelerix frontalis
Southern African hedgehog or Atelerix frontalis

North African Hedgehog

The North African hedgehog (Atelerix algirus) or Algerian hedgehog lives across North Africa in places like Morocco and Algeria. It has a light coloring and doesn’t have any spines on the crown of its head.

North African hedgehog (Atelerix algirus) or Algerian hedgehog
North African hedgehog (Atelerix algirus) or Algerian hedgehog.

Indian Hedgehog

The Indian hedgehog or Paraechinus micropus is native to India and Pakistan and has raccoon-like facial features. It likes sandy desert areas but is not uncommon in other environments. Its diet includes insects, frogs, toads, bird eggs, snakes, and scorpions. 

Indian hedgehog or Paraechinus micropus
Indian hedgehog or Paraechinus micropus

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