African Hedgehog

 

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African Dwarf Hedgehog

One of the 15 species of hedgehogs, the African dwarf, is one of the most endearing of the hedgehog species. The hedge hog is an insectivore.  Insectivores are thought to be the oldest form of mammals on earth, dating back literally to the time of the dinosaurs.  

The native range of the African hedgehog is a harsh environment that is dominated by hot days and cold nights.  To deal with the temperature extremes, the hedge hog often fashions a burrow underground.  This animal will often use the burrows of larger mammals that share its native range; they have been discovered in the burrows of animals as large as porcupines.

Range: Northern African deserts.  Large tract of dry land from western Africa to southern Somalia and Tanzania.

Natural Diet: Insects and small vertebrate animals.  They will occasionally eat small berries or other vegetation to supplement their diet.

Diet at Rain Forest: Dry and moist forms of cat food along with small bits of banana, apple, and the occasional live bugs. 

The cat food is fed both dry and moist to provide the hedgehogs with a hard kibble to break up, as well as the soft food providing a high percentage of water. 

Keepers Notes: .   African hedgehogs are born blind and helpless.  They cannot regulate their body temperatures and depend solely on their mother for warmth.  Like many of the insectivore family members, they have a high metabolism and require a substantial percentage of their body weight as food each day.

Hedgehogs at Rainforest give birth to between two and five babies per litter.  The female is generally removed from exhibit while she is caring for her young.  As is the case with many small mammals, the female may actually kill the babies if she feels threatened.  As a result of the skittish nature of the female, we remove the female to a small, dark area with minimal disturbance, until we see the babies moving about on their own. 

The female will nurse the babies for up to six weeks prior to their becoming independent. 

Size: .  Approximately one pound for an adult. 

Status in Wild: The African hedgehog is declining in the wild due to over collection for the pet trade as well as loss of habitat.