Are you thinking of having a hedgehog pet? You might be thinking of what species you should go for? As there are so many to choose from, we are writing this article Types of hedgehogs to provide complete knowledge and encyclopedia of hedgehogs.
Having complete information of all the species of an animal is necessary because your pet should be syncing with your interest. Also, several species have different requirements, and you also have to know whether you can provide them that environment or not.
Below I am going to provide a list of hedgehogs along with their physical traits and personalities. Hence, you can easily select one which suits your interest. If you already have a hedgehog and you are looking for a complete care guide, you can also see my previous article How to take care of a hedgehog
History and types of hedgehogs
If I talk about the history of the hedgehogs, then it is a great and very fascinating topic. Without any long
discussions, let’s talk about their history.
Hedgehogs are mammals that contain spines. They are found to be first evolved about 15 million years ago. There are seventeen species of hedgehogs in five varieties. There are ten types of hedgehogs.
The countries they inhabited are Europe and the Middle East, Central Asia, and Africa. Hedgehogs are not naturally found in New Zealand and England; instead, they are imported. There are now found all over the country.
In some countries, they are still treated as wild animals and have a terrible and harmful image.
The most famous and common hedgehog is the African pygmy. It is renowned because of its white fur and vigilance. They are also found as a part of the British culture with mentions in classic tales and books.
History in literature :
The famous bookish hedgehog is, of course, Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle, from the story of the author Beatrix Potter. The author took the inspiration for the character from its hedgehog.
It is also included in the famous story of Alice in Wonderland. The red Queen used the hedgehogs in the match of croquet. You can see different types of hedgehogs in a variety of ways.
As food :
Some of the gypsy cultures have the traditions to roast the hedgehogs. They roll up the hog in the clay and let it bake in the fire.
When the clay cracks, the quills are automatically removed. In the London art of ceramics, the chef John Farley described the recipe of “How to cook hedgehogs with almonds” in 1783.
Hedgehogs Drinking milk from the cows:
Once people have this myth that the hedgehogs like, or they suck from the cows to drink milk, I know it sounds strange, but it is what it is.
However, the myth was bursted entirely later on when science proved that hedgehogs could not drink milk because hedgehogs are lactose intolerant. All types of hedgehogs are lactose intolerant. Hedgehogs don’t have enzymes in their guts to digest lactose. So when it comes to liquid, it is only recommended to give them water.
Carrying fruits on their back:
Back then, people thought that hedgehogs used their quills to carry the fruits on their backs. But that’s utterly foolish because the feathers of the hedgehogs remain mostly flattened. They hardly can get anything on their feathers. So it was untrue.
Hedgehogs Immunity from venom:
People always believed that hedgehogs are immune to the snake’s venom. When the scientists researched it, they found out that the hedgehogs had partial resistance to the snake’s venom.
However, any bite on the face and the leg can make the hedgehog’s condition very bad and can be fatal. Also, most of the snakes are unable to bite the hedgehog because of their quills. All types of hedgehogs have different colored feathers on their body.
Ten types of hedgehogs
So let’s get started with the list.
The scientific name for this hedgehog is Erinaceus europaeus. It is mainly found in areas of northern and eastern Europe in countries like Spain, France, the United Kingdom, and many more.
The famous name for this hedgehog is “Common hedgehog”. Let’s talk about its length, which ranges from 10 -20 cm. Overall they give you a cloudy appearance of brown and black. However, you may find some rarely blonde. Mostly, all types of hedgehogs have a blackish-brown color.
In the wild, they love to live in wooded areas, and their life span ranges up to 10 eras.
White breast southern hedgehog:
Erinaceus concolor is very much similar to European hedgehogs. The one thing that differentiates them from European hedgehogs is the white spot on their bellies. They are mainly found in Eastern Europe and Western Asia.
Though their habits are very much similar to the European hedgehogs, the only thing which is their digging habit, these hedgehogs don’t dig like European hedgehogs. Instead, they like to build nests of grass.
White breast northern hedgehog:
Moving onward towards the types of hedgehogs is “white breast northern hedgehog”. Although their name tells of their similarity with common hedgehogs and southern hedgehogs, they are different from them in the shape of their jaws.
They are widespread in Eastern Europe, and they have inhabited Russia, Ukraine, and other countries. Their scientific name is Erinacius roumanicus.
Erinaceus amurensis lives in southeastern Russia, Korea, and China. They don’t have much cloudy appearance rather than they have more of a pale color.
Their length can be a maximum of 30 cm. In behavior, they are very similar to common hedgehogs.
Four-toed hedgehogs, also known as African pygmies. Their scientific name is Atelerix albiventris. They love to inhabit central Africa: areas of savannah and even crop fields.
They have a completely white body and contain a dark head. Their legs are smaller as compared to other hedgehogs, which makes them very cute. They are much lower as compared to other species of hedgehogs; they are mainly 20 cm long.
These types of hedgehogs love to climb and swim. They are also very active, and that makes them the most popular pet species of the hedgehogs.
Atelix algitus is next on our spot list. Unlike other hedgehogs, these hedgehogs are much smaller in size and do not cross the length of 20 cm.
It inhabits countries like Algeria, Morocco, and others. At present, these hedgehogs are more related to the wild environment. It doesn’t have any muddy or gross appearance, instead, it is very light-colored and does not have thorns on its crown.
Atelerix sclateri as their name suggests, are confined to Somalia. These types of hedgehogs have a light-colored belly, mostly white. However, they have dark-colored, usually brown thorns and legs.
South African hedgehog:
Atelerix frontalisibes in countries like Botswana, Namibia, Zimbabwe, and some regions of South Africa.
It is a dark-colored hedgehog, mostly giving a brownish-grey hue. Overall they have a brownish appearance with black legs.
The most distinctive feature of these hedgehogs is that they have a very noticeable white stripe on their forehead.
Long-eared hedgehogs :
Hemiechinus auritus lives in the Middle East, East Mediterranean, and some areas of east Asia. Though it is very adaptable, it still inhabits a few climates.
Unlike other hedgehogs that roll up in a ball when the fell threat, these hedgehogs relax and release their instead of quills. These types of hedgehogs have very high speed as compared to the other hedgehogs.
Indian long-eared hedgehogs:
Although it may seem very similar to the previous hedgehogs, they are unique and different.
Hemiechinus collaris invade countries like Pakistan and some parts of India as well.
They have very dark colors and are small in size. An interesting fact about this hedgehog is that they dance to impress their female fellows for up to one day.
Which types of hedgehogs are right for you?
Fresh and unique, but they require acute care. So you have to cope up with that too.
Hedgehogs may seem cute, but they are not supposed to be sweet and soft at all. You may have to handle it with a cloth in the beginning unless you know the hedgie better.
Which types of hedgehogs are best as pets?
Some species are quite large, and they get hard to handle, some are very active, some require some certain environmental conditions. So you have to figure out which one suits you as well as your pocket.
The most common and the most famous hedgehog which people like to have is African pygmy. They are small-sized and are lightweight; therefore, they are effortless to handle. Some other species are :
- Long eared-hedgehogs
- Indian long-eared hedgehogs