About The African Pygmy Hedgehog

The African Pygmy Hedgehog is by far the most common domesticated in their species. But, What to Know About Them?

There are two (2) other more rare types of domesticated hedgehogs: the Egyptian long-eared hedgehog and the Indian long-eared hedgehog.

However, if you are looking to have one as pet, African pygmy hedgehogs are your best choice!

In this section, you’ll learn about where they come from, their size and lifespan, and some basics on having one as a pet.

Where do Pygmy Hedgehogs Come From?

They originated primarily from Nigeria and close areas on the North African continent.

“They are believed to be a mix of a couple of different breeds of hedgehogs originating from those areas”.

Since they’ve been brought from a continent that is primarily warm, they would be better accommodate in warm regions (around 73-78 degrees Fahrenheit in your home).

For more about where hedgehogs come from, click here.

African Hedgehog Lifespan & Size

Estimates vary, but it has been noted that they have an expected life span between 3-8 years, with the average around the lower end of that estimate, at 3-5 years.


“This may seem short, but is quite an impressive lifespan when compared with other small pets”.


It is also an improvement on the lifespan of wild hedgehogs, which is typically about 2 years.

On the other hand, they can weigh between 0.5- 1.25 pounds, and vary in size from 5 to 8 inches long.

As they are very small mammals, they can become obese easily, so it’s important to watch their weight and make food adjustments when needed.

Hedgehogs are covered with a protective spine of quills on their back, and have soft, fuzzy bellies.

Read More: Do Hedgehogs Quills Hurt to Touch If Bare Handed?.

When threatened, they are able to curl up into a ball, displaying their quills to ward off predators.

These quills, however, are not particularly harmful to humans. When relaxed, their quills should not poke you.

North African Hedgehog as Pet

Since hedgehogs have really only been a popular domestic pet since the early 1980’s, they still have a lot of their natural behaviors from life in the wild.

“This is why they are such sensitive animals”.

They must be very protective in the wild, so they do take some adjustment time to become comfortable around humans.

Once your hedgehog adjusts to you and other people, they can make great little companions.

As mentioned in our Hedgehog as Pets article, they could have different personalities:

– Some of them may be very snugly.

– Others could be super active and extroverted.

– While others are a bit more content with solitude and anti-social.

It’s suggested that newbies in caring for this small animals work with the breeder to select the one with the best personality fit for you.

Pygmy hedgehogs are accustomed to warm climates, and don’t naturally hibernate.

However, if they are kept in temperatures much lower than 70 degrees F, they can be forced into hibernation, which can be extremely dangerous.

Another fact is that, in the wild, they are more insect predators than in captivity.

Although, they will eat a large variety of different foods, it is basic to maintain their natural diet to provide with almost the right food balance.

“In domestication, 70% of the time you will only need to feed them with a mixture of cat food and snacks”.

Read More: What is a Hedgehog’s Diet? Find the Best Nutrition for Them!

African Pgymys are generally healthy animals, but they are prone to obesity too.

They are also prone to cancer and Wobbly Leg Syndrome, a condition that affects their nervous system. Click here for a list of the most common hedgehog health issues.

Also find more information about other hedgehog diseases here.

Thank you, Kristin E., for the hedgehog photo featured above!


Hi!, I'm Megan from Hedgehog Care 101. I started this site after seeing a friends looking after a baby hedgehog and how interesting was to care for it. HHC101 is a source of information for people looking to adopt a hedgehog as pet.

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