Hedgehog Pet FAQ

About The African Pygmy Hedgehog

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

There are two (2) other 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 a 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 about 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 accommodated 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 in the lifespan of wild hedgehogs, which is typically about two 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 tiny mammals, they can become obese quickly, so it’s important to watch their weight and make necessary food adjustments.

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?.

They can curl up into a ball when threatened, 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 only been popular domestic pets since the early 1980s, they still have many 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 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 these 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 below 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 essential to maintain their natural diet to provide them 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!

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