Hedgehogs have become quite popular as pets in recent years, but most people aren’t aware that pet hedgehogs are only one of many species out there. In fact, there are five different genera of hedgehog and at least 17 species.
Without further ado, let’s take a look at 18 different types of hedgehogs and what makes each one special.
Types of Hedgehogs
1. Amur Hedgehog (Erinaceus amurensis)
This Asian hedgehog is very similar to the European hedgehog but with lighter coloration. Its native range includes China, Korea, and Siberia.
They range in size from six to 11 inches, and the spines may be either solid white or a white to yellow with medium brown in the middle.
2. Bare-Bellied Hedgehog (Paraechinus nudiventris)
Once thought to be extinct, the bare-bellied hedgehog was rediscovered, thriving in southeastern India. This elusive species is also known as the Madras hedgehog, ranging in size from 5 ½ to ten inches long.
Their native range is very small, and much of it is scrubland or jungle, lending to the previous difficulty in finding specimens.
3. Brandt’s Hedgehog (Paraechinus hypomelas)
This nocturnal species is quite unique, with nearly black fur, thinner needles, and large ears. They can be found throughout the Middle East into Central Asia.
While they have the characteristic trait of rolling into a ball when in danger, they’re also known to leap at an attacker in self-defense. Due to the more sparse needle protection, Brandt’s hedgehogs have evolved to be fast runners.
4. Daurian Hedgehog (Mesechinus dauuricus)
Found in Siberia and Mongolia, this species has been difficult to track, leading the IUCN to list it as “least concern”, while the Russian Red Book marks it as a protected species.
However, extensive pesticidal use in the 1960s caused a severe population loss from which the species has partially recovered. Measuring between 5.5 and 7.75 inches, this species weighs in at under a pound and can live for about six years in the wild.
5. Desert Hedgehog (Paraechinus aethiopicus)
Measuring in at six to eight inches, this is one of the smaller species out there. It can be found throughout the Arabian peninsula, as well as parts of northern Africa.
They’ve adapted so their kidneys can function without water for extended periods of time. Also, unlike most hedgehogs which curl into a ball for protection, the desert hedgehog is able to tighten its skin to make the quills face in all directions.
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6. European Hedgehog (Erinaceus europaeus)
Often referred to as the common hedgehog, these little guys can be found throughout much of Europe and are highly adaptable. They can grow to a length of ten inches or more, weighing in at over 2.4 pounds.
Shy and nocturnal, they’re considered less of a pest than some other species and have a mix of black and brown fur with the occasional blonde specimen. Unfortunately, their population has begun to decline in recent years for largely unknown reasons.
7. Four-Toed Hedgehog (Atelerix albiventris)
Also referred to as the African pygmy hedgehog, this is the species most often kept as a pet. It can be found mainly in the crop fields and savannas of central and eastern Africa but can adapt to many other types of terrain.
The name comes from their hind paws, which have four toes each. They have white bodies and darker heads and quills as far as coloration. They’re also some of the most active hedgehogs, with a special love for climbing, swilling, and talking.
8. Gaoligong Forest Hedgehog (Mesechinus wangi)
Also referred to as Wang’s forest hedgehogs, this species is only found on the slopes of Mount Gaoligong in China. They have a unique pattern of brown tones on their quills and broader snouts than other species.
9. Hugh’s Hedgehog (Mesechinus hughi)
Also known as the central Chinese hedgehog due to its habitat range, this species can be found in forests and grasslands but prefers more arid climates.
They’re active hunters and will seek food regardless of the weather or time of day.
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10. Indian Hedgehog (Paraechinus micropus)
Native to India and Pakistan, this species can be found both in deserts and mountainous areas. They have distinctive facial markings similar to raccoons and measure a mere six inches in length.
However, they’re relatively fast runners and will dig 18-inch long burrows to escape from predators.
11. Indian Long-Eared Hedgehog (Hemiechinus collaris)
Found throughout northwestern India and Pakistan, this small species has large ears to aid it in searching for prey or potential mates. Males are known to dance around a female to woo her before mating.
They’re only six to seven inches long and weigh up to a pound.
12. Long-Eared Hedgehog (Hemiechinus auritus)
This species has a wide band of habitat, stretching from the eastern Mediterranean through the Middle East and into the deserts of eastern Asia. They’re one of the fastest runners and will escape a predator by releasing their quills before taking flight.
Unfortunately, while sometimes kept as pets, they’re highly prone to parasites, many of which cause disease in humans.
13. North African Hedgehog (Atelerix algirus)
Rarely growing to more than eight inches in length, this native of Northern Africa has recently spread to Spain and France, making it unique among the African species.
They’re also referred to as Algerian hedgehogs and are a little smaller than European hedgehogs. They have brown heads and legs and a light whitish face. Unlike other species, they have no quills on their foreheads.
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14. Northern White-Breasted Hedgehog (Erinaceus roumanicus)
While the southern white-breasted hedgehog was once thought to be a subspecies of European hedgehog, the northern white-breasted species was once considered a subspecies of its southern counterpart.
However, it has a different jaw structure and a habitat ranging from Poland and Greece into Siberia.
15. Somali Hedgehog (Atelerix sclateri)
Native to the outer portions of Somalia, these are are perhaps the least researched of all species. They have white undersides and black or brown backs. From observations, they appear to prefer the more open savannah areas.
16. Southern African Hedgehog (Atelerix frontalis)
As the name suggests, this species is found in the southern portions of Africa. They’re brown, often with a white stripe across the forehead. While generally calm, they can run quickly if threatened.
Although traditionally insectivores, southern African hedgehogs have become more omnivorous in recent years due to their shrinking habitat. They’re also notable for finding holes or thick vegetation to take shelter in during the day.
17. Southern White-Breasted Hedgehog (Eranaceus concolor)
Originally believed to be a subspecies of European hedgehog, these hedgehogs are slightly smaller and have a white spot on their chest. Unlike their European kin, this species builds grass nests instead of digging dens.
They’re mainly found in Western Europe and West Asia.
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18. Spiny Norman (unclassified)
Of al the species of hedgehogs on this list, spiny Normans are by far the most mysterious. They’re said to measure 12 feet long (and growing to an incredible 800 yards long when depressed) and are usually brown in color, although some albino specimens have been spotted.
What makes the Spiny Norman so challenging to research is that they’ve only been seen by one Dinsdale Piranha who insists that they roam Britain calling out his name.