19 Different Types of Hedgehogs

Different Types of Hedgehogs
Photo by Piotr Łaskawski

It can be surprising to know that there are different types of hedgehogs since almost all hedgehogs have very similar characteristics. Hedgehogs are not considered rodents, even though they are fuzzy, have four paws, and are quite small.

They are members of the Erinaceidae family that belongs to the Eulipotyphla order. This order also includes other mammals that are very similar to one other, such as shrews, moles, and solenodons.

Some people get the hedgehog and the porcupine mixed up, yet these two animals come from very distinct families.

The sharp spines on their back differentiate them from the other mammals and most mammals. “Quills” is the common name for these spines.

The hedgehog uses the quills on their back for defense. Due to the sharpness of the spines, they can be difficult to touch if threatened or attacked.

Yet, the same spines also help the hedgehog roll into a ball to protect themselves from harm. In Europe, where hedgehogs are relatively widespread, birds of prey and badgers are typically their most common natural enemies.

The common misconception is that hedgehogs eat insects, but in reality, they consume a wide variety of foods. They will consume fruit, vegetables, reptiles, bird eggs, snails, and even mammalian flesh if found in a carrion state and accessible to them.

The different types of hedgehogs that belong to the family Erinaceidae can be classified into one of five genera, which are as follows:

  • Erinaceus 
  • Atelerix
  •  Hemiechinus 
  • Mesechinus 
  • Paraechinus

Hedgehogs can adapt to a wide variety of environments and can thrive worldwide, including in New Zealand, Europe, Asia, and Africa. In the wild, they have a lifespan of between 3 and 8 years, although, in captivity, they can live up to 10 to 15 years.

What Are the Different Types of Hedgehogs?

1. North African Hedgehog

The North African hedgehog(Atelerix algirus)is the first of the different types of hedgehogs we will look at. Because there are so many in Algeria, People commonly refer to them as Algerian hedgehogs.

They’re also found in Libya, Malta, Morocco, Tunisia, and Spain. It is also present in other European countries, though it is less likely that they are native to these countries and more likely that humans brought them.

This variety of hedgehog loves forested places and struggles to thrive in desert environments. This breed of hedgehogs usually forages in gardens and parks throughout Europe.

Although the North African hedgehog is larger than the other species in this genus, it is still smaller than the European hedgehog. It is approximately 20 to 25cm in length. It has longer legs than the other African hedgehogs and can sprint much quicker.

The North African hedgehog has a light-colored face and spikes, as well as brown legs and skull. This hedgehog’s underside can be either brown or white, and they have quite huge ears.

Because North African hedgehogs are nocturnal, they will emerge at night to look for food. They will consume a variety of insects, small animals, and vegetation.

Birds appear to be the most common type of hedgehog predator. The Eurasian eagle owl, in particular, is a severe threat to this variety of hedgehog. Humans also kill and eat them in various places in Africa.

2. Bare-Bellied Hedgehogs

The Second mention on our list of different types of hedgehogs is the Bare-bellied hedgehogs or Paraechinus nudiventris.

People thought these species went extinct until they discovered some in India recently. As a result, most people are unlikely to encounter a real bare-bellied hedgehog in their lives.

These hedgehogs favor arid habitats such as acacia and rocky terrain. Agriculture, logging, wood fuel collecting, and urbanization appear to be their greatest dangers.

Bare-bellied hedgehogs can weigh less than a pound and grow to be nearly 10 inches long, and they prefer scrubby forests like those found in southeastern India.

3. Amur Hedgehogs

The Amur hedgehog, native to southeastern Russia and China, and Korea, grows to be about one foot long and pale brown in appearance.

It is a common hedgehog with traits comparable to many other varieties of hedgehogs. The Amur hedgehog gets its name from its habitat in lowland China in the Amur Basin.

These hedgehogs enjoy habitats such as lowlands, valleys, high grass, and coniferous and broadleaf forests. They are more active at night than during the day and primarily consume earthworms and other invertebrates.

The Amur hedgehog lives for around eight years on average, and there are no serious threats to this species.

4. Brandt’s Hedgehogs

Brandt’s hedgehog, also known as the Paraechinus hypomelas, is about 10 inches long with enormous ears and a black body. It usually weighs more than two pounds and inhabits portions of Afghanistan, Yemen, and Pakistan.

When attacked, the Brandt’s hedgehog curls up into a ball and can also do a “jumping” action to catch its assailants off guard. Because it is a desert hedgehog, it loves arid environments such as mountains and deserts.

It goes into hibernation when it gets cold, and it was named after the man who discovered it, Johann Friedrich von Brandt of St. Petersburg.

5. Daurian Hedgehogs

Mesechinus dauuricus, or the Daurian hedgehog, is found in northern Mongolia and Russia. It is a protected breed in some countries, and it can grow to be eight inches long.

It is widespread over the world, and there are no severe dangers to its existence, albeit they are uncommon in areas like Russia.

Their diet consists of bird eggs, tiny rodents, small reptiles, and nestlings, and their spines defend them against predators.

Most Daurian hedgehogs survive approximately six years and weigh a little more than a pound. They primarily inhabit steppes and woodlands, where they reside in dens.

6. Desert Hedgehog

The Desert hedgehogs(Paraechinus aethiopicus) on our list of different types of hedgehogs are found mainly in northern Africa and the Middle East and grow to be just around six inches long.

Despite its small size, the desert hedgehog is difficult to hurt because it curls up into a tight ball and lets its long quills protrude in all directions when threatened. It can be pale or dark in color.

These hedgehogs devour juvenile snakes, numerous invertebrates, and even scorpions. However, they remove the stingers before eating them.

They have highly developed kidneys due to evolution and can go without drinking water for extended periods. They are one of the hardest hedgehogs because of their capacity to survive in a variety of environments.

7. Four-toed Hedgehog

The Four-toed hedgehog, also known as the African Pygmy hedgehog or the Atelerix albiventris, originated in the sub-Saharan regions of central Africa and is commonly seen in crop fields and savanna habitats.

They have very tiny legs and four toes and are totally white except for their dark head. These hedgehogs are smaller than other varieties, about eight inches in length, and they can swim, climb, and be quite active and noisy.

They have embedded quills that never shed and prefer a variety of habitats such as thickets, forests, bushes, suburban gardens, grasslands, and even agricultural land.

Their vocalizations include a variety of grunts, hisses, twitters, and snorts, and males will employ a bird-like cry to lure females during mating.

They feed on insects like beetles and termites and arthropods like spiders, millipedes, and scorpions. They also eat fruits, earthworms, snakes, frogs, and fungus, among other things.

8. Hugh’s Hedgehogs

Another mention on this list of different types of hedgehogs is Hugh’s hedgehog. This hedgehog, also known as the Mesechinus hughi, is in central China.

It is also known as the Central Chinese hedgehog since it is native to central China and Manchuria, and unlike most hedgehogs, it hunts for food even during the day and on rainy days.

Hugh’s hedgehog favors open regions associated with dry steppe, but one can also find it in woodlands and shrubland. It is a herbivore that eats a variety of plants and animals, including invertebrates.

9. Indian Hedgehog

These hedgehogs, known as the Paraechinus micropus, are native to Pakistan and India. They have raccoon-like markings or patches on their faces.

It favors high alpine environments with plenty of water and is a swift animal, though not as fast as the long-eared hedgehog.

The Indian hedgehog grows to be about six inches long and eats various animals, including toads and frogs. It usually weighs less than one pound and is primarily brown with lighter shades of brown mixed in.

The stocky Indian hedgehog has a short tail, a big nose, dark eyes, and enormous ears. Despite its diminutive size, it has five digits and incredibly formidable claws on each leg.

It does not hibernate but can reduce its metabolism if food becomes limited. It can dig burrows up to 18 inches long and crawl into these holes to defend itself from predators.

10. Indian Long-Eared Hedgehogs

As the name implies, the Hemiechinus collaris differs from the common long-eared hedgehog. one can find this variety of hedgehogs in dry areas such as northwest India and Pakistan.

It is a little, dark-colored hedgehog. One of its most distinctive qualities is the way it impresses the species’ females by conducting a ceremonial dance for several days.

11. Indian Long-Eared Hedgehogs

Hemiechinus auratus is indigenous to the Middle East, parts of East Asia, and the Eastern Mediterranean. It is a hedgehog with long ears and small spikes that loves temperate climates.

When protecting itself, the long-eared hedgehog unleashes its spines and flees instead of curling up in a ball like other varieties of hedgehogs do. It is also an extremely speedy hedgehog, particularly compared to other species.

12. Northern White-Breasted Hedgehogs

The Northern White-Breasted Hedgehogs is a must-mention when exploring different types of hedgehogs. This hedgehog is native to Eastern Europe, although it is now found in Ukraine, Russia, and the Caucasus.

Although similar to the European hedgehog, this species has a white breast and a jaw that differs from other forms.

It prefers artificial settings to natural habitats and mostly takes shelter in parks, rural and urban gardens, shrubby vegetation, and scrubby habitats along forest borders.

13. Somali Hedgehogs

Somali hedgehogs, also known as Atelerix sclateri, have white bellies and legs that are generally brown or black in hue.

The young are known as hoglets, while adults are known as sows if they are females or boars if they are males. Although hedgehogs are solitary creatures who rarely form groups, they refer to these groups as arrays.

14. Southern White-Breasted Hedgehogs

This variety of hedgehogs, officially known as Erinaceus concolor, resembles the European hedgehog but has white markings on its breast and belly.

Another difference is that the Southern White-Breast does not burrow but instead builds a grass nest. It is widespread in Western Asia and Eastern Europe, and its habits are remarkably similar to those of the European hedgehog.

15. Southern African Hedgehog

Another interesting mention on our list of different types of hedgehogs is the Southern African hedgehogs, indigenous to regions of Southern Africa. It is prevalent in Angola, Botswana, Namibia, South Africa, and Zimbabwe, to mention a few.

Although they can thrive in most environments, they prefer to reside in densely forested areas and meadows. They will build their nests behind piles of leaves or in holes. Southern African hedgehogs are nocturnal. Therefore they will emerge at night in quest of food.

The wide band of white across its forehead distinguishes this hedgehog from other breeds. This descends from the brow, across the shoulder, and onto the forelegs.

The rest of the hedgehog’s face, legs, and tail are either dark brown or dark grey, while the underside can range from black to white. The Southern African hedgehog is around 22 cm long.

16. European Hedgehog

The European hedgehog is a member of the Erinaceus genus on our list of different types of hedgehogs. Erinaceus europaeus is the scientific name for it.

It is also known as the Common hedgehog or the West European hedgehog. The latter name derives from the fact that it is a frequent visitor to European gardens.

The European hedgehog frequently wanders in and around gardens in several European nations. This includes the United Kingdom, Italy, and Scandinavia.

They may live in various habitats but prefer forest and grassland settings. They have, however, adapted to living in more urban environments and have found ways to thrive.

European hedgehogs range in size from 13 to 15 inches. Color variation is minimal among practically all European hedgehogs.

They are usually brown with fur on their cheeks, chests, and stomachs. Because these hedgehogs frequently come into gardens, homeowners will regularly feed them.

They will also consume some slightly more commonplace foods. Slugs, earthworms, fruit, and vegetables are among the foods consumed by European hedgehogs.

The European hedgehog is preyed upon by a variety of creatures, and this is only one of the threats they face in more metropolitan locations.

The badger is the most common predator of European hedgehogs in many places; they have robust skin and razor-sharp claws and can unroll a hedgehog and devour it with no difficulty.

17. Gaoligong Forest Hedgehog

The Gaoligong Forest Hedgehog is another intriguing addition to our list of different types of hedgehogs. Mesechinus wangi is the scientific name for this species of hedgehog.

Previously, people assumed that the Mesechinus genus had only two varieties of hedgehogs. These were the hedgehogs of Daurian and Hugh.

The Gaoligong forest hedgehog typically resides solely in one area. It was discovered on the slopes of Mt. Gaoligong in the Yunnan province, where it lives in a subtropical evergreen forest. This is high up, at an elevation of more than 2200 meters.

The nature of the Gaoligong Forest hedgehog is similar to that of the Daurian and Hugh’s hedgehogs. The main distinction between these two and the Gaoligong Forest hedgehog is the brightly colored patterns on their spines.

Researchers also discovered supernumerary teeth generally found only in humans and some primate species.

Interesting Facts on Different Types of Hedgehogs

  • The average hedgehog contains between 5,000 and 7,000 quills, which they can use to defend themselves if they feel threatened.
  • Porcupine quills are poisonous, whereas hedgehog quills are not. Although they are not barbed, hedgehog quills are usually hollow and include complicated air chambers that allow them to be robust and light.
  • There are 17 species of hedgehogs, and they can survive in captivity for up to ten years.
  • Although hedgehogs primarily consume berries and insects, they can consume snakes. This is due to hedgehogs’ immunity to snake venom, which means they cannot hurt them.
  • Hedgehogs rely on other senses, such as smell and hearing, more than sight because they have poor eyesight. Because they are nocturnal, their other senses are considerably more crucial than in most animals.
  • Hedgehogs consume a lot of food; in fact, they can consume up to one-third of their body weight in a single day. They awaken at sundown and seek food at night. They also consume small mammals, reptiles, birds, and eggs, to name a few.
  • Although not all hedgehogs hibernate, many do. They are only one of three mammals in the U.K. that hibernate; the other two are dormice and bats.
  • There used to be Olympic games for common hedgehogs called IHOG. Activities included hurdles, sprints, and even floor workouts!
  • Hedgehogs are typically solitary creatures but form arrays when they congregate in large quantities. Hedgehogs tend to congregate only when they want to mate, making arrays uncommon.
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