- Scientific name
- Atelerix albiventris
- 1 to 2 lbs
- 7 to 9 in long
- Life Span
- Up to 10 years in captivity
- A variety of climates and terrains
- Insectivorous & carnivorous
BEHAVIOR & DIET
Behavior & Diet
The hedgehog has a practice of curling into a tight ball, with its spines sticking out in all directions. When it rolls up, a special, highly developed circular muscle that runs along the sides of the body and across the rump and neck contracts and forms a “bag” into which the body, head, and legs are folded. The hedgehog curls up if disturbed or frightened—only the strongest predators, such as the badger, can pry it open. It also sleeps in this position, so is rarely caught unprotected.
Hedgehogs will eat one-third of their body weights in one night
The hedgehog wakes up at dusk and begins its nocturnal activities alone. It uses regular pathways, toddling along on its short legs searching for food. It eats one-third of its body weight in one night. The hedgehog’s favorite foods are insects, earthworms, snails, and slugs, making it a welcome guest in many suburban gardens—it is even kept as a pet. It is also known to eat eggs, small mammals, birds, frogs, reptiles, fruit, fungi, and roots. Although not completely immune to toxins, hedgehogs have enough resistance to allow them to eat poisonous snakes.
They self anoint
Hedgehogs have a peculiar practice whereby they will taste or chew on an object of interest and then produce a foamy saliva. The hedgehog will then proceed to self-anoint and rub this saliva all over its body. The reason for this practice is largely unknown.
Hedgehogs inhabit a wide range across a variety of climates and terrains in East Africa. They must have dry shelters on well-drained soil and a good supply of ground-dwelling insects and other invertebrates. Hedgehogs are reported to be abundant in Suburban Nairobi, which meets these habitat conditions.