16 Types of Hedgehogs - Names, Features and Photos

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Hedgehogs are characteristic animals for having a body covered with thorns useful to protect themselves from predators. They have excellent vision and smell to achieve their omnivorous diet, which ranges from fruits and mushrooms, to carrion and live animals such as worms, mammals or snakes, since they are immune to their venom. They are nocturnal animals and belong to the family of the erinaceidae. In this Green Ecologist article we will introduce you to the different types of hedgehogs, in addition to mentioning which are the sea urchins and if they are related to this terrestrial group.

South African hedgehog (Atelerix frontalis)

It lives in southern Africa, in areas with dense herbaceous plants, gardens and bushes. Its face is dark and it has a white stripe on its neck, which separates its white spikes with brown stripes. Its legs have five toes, it measures 15 to 20 centimeters and weighs 260 to 600 grams. It is protected by CITES, the International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna, as it is in danger of extinction. In addition, its commercialization is highly protected.

In this post that we recommend you can read more about How to avoid illegal animal trafficking.

Long-eared hedgehog (Hemiechinus auritus)

The long-eared hedgehog, or scientifically known as the Hemiechinus auritus, lives in the deserts of North Africa, Eastern Mediterranean and central Asia, so it has adapted with big ears to cool down in high temperatures. Their limbs are also longer than other hedgehogs, measuring 14 to 28 centimeters. Their quills have grooves and measure up to 1.5 centimeters.

Moorish hedgehog (Atelerix algirus)

The Atelerix algirus, has a light white ventral region and face and its legs are very long. It is usually confused with the European hedgehog, but the Moorish is distinguished by being smaller and more stylized. It measures 18 to 25 centimeters. It lives in the Iberian Levant, the Balearic and Canary Islands and North Africa. It should be noted that it is a nocturnal mammal that eats large numbers of insects, worms or snails. In a very exceptional way, it can hunt invertebrate animals.

If you want to know more, we recommend this article on the General characteristics of land mammals.

Image: iNaturalist

Ethiopian hedgehog (Paraechinus aethiopicus)

It measures from 14 to 28 centimeters and is dark in color, both its speckled ventral area and its face, as well as its 2.5-centimeter long quills. This size makes it one of the smaller hedgehogs that exist and the spikes on your back may be more wrinkled. It inhabits the deserts of North Africa, the Arabian Peninsula and the Middle East. One of the curiosities that characterizes it is that it can shrink completely into a ball, so all its spikes are extended outwards and it is almost impossible to catch it. Is immune to scorpion venom that, in addition to snakes, are their main food.

Here you can discover the Difference between scorpion and scorpion.

European or common hedgehog (Erinaceus europaeus)

It inhabits the wooded areas, gardens and hedges of Europe, Scandinavia and western Russia. In the winter hibernates in holes, in firewood or leaf nests. It is dark in color and measures 20 to 30 centimeters and can weigh up to 800 grams. Within this species two types are classified:

  • The West European Hedgehog: It is also known as the West European hedgehog. It has a highly developed sense of smell, as it can smell food buried 3 centimeters deep.
  • The one of Eastern Europe: it includes from Asia to Germany. It never burrows, but prefers to create nests with grass.

In case you are interested, in this other Green Ecologist article you can find out more about What animals hibernate and why.

Somali Hedgehog (Atelerix sclateri)

It is very similar to A. albiventris, but they differ because this one has hind legs with five fingers instead of four. Its belly is white and its abdomen is black, also with dark legs. As its name suggests, it is endemic to Somalia. An interesting fact about this hedgehog is that it is born blind and, babies, are born with barbs under the skin, as if it were grains that then go outside.

Image: Exotic Animals

Hindu Long-eared Hedgehog (Hemiechinus collaris)

It is a burrowing species that lives in Libya, Iraq, Egypt, Israel, Lebanon, Syria, Turkey, Russia, Iran, India, Afghanistan, Pakistan, China and Mongolia. Their burrows can measure from 30 to 150 centimeters, depending on how compact the soil is. It is a relatively small hedgehog that measures 17 centimeters and weighs 200 or 500 grams.

It feeds on insects, snakes, bird eggs and scorpions, for approximately 5 hours at dawn. They have also registered cannibalism cases, where the female eats her young. It is a curious hedgehog because the male has a ritual before mating with the female that consists of "dancing" in front of her the days before said mating.

Eastern hedgehog (Erinaceus concolor)

The Erinaceus concolor it is light in color, with a white circle on the belly. It inhabits near rivers, wetlands, forests, grasslands and steppes, from Germany to Russia, Poland, Turkey and Azerbaijan. Nests on the grass. At first it was included in the same species as the European hedgehog, but after several physiological and morphological studies, it was decided that it was a different species.

Balkan Hedgehog (Erinaceus romanicus)

Is similar to E. concolor, but it lacks the white patch on the belly and also has the ability to make burrows to inhabit, nest and take shelter. Its distributed throughout Eastern Europe to Ukraine, Russia and Western Siberia, also passing through the islands of the Adriatic. Although it looks a lot like a mole because of its brown color, this hedgehog has up to five different subspecies which are:

  • Erinaceus roumanicus roumanicus.
  • Erinaceus roumanicus bolkayi.
  • Erinaceus roumanicus drozdovskii.
  • Erinaceus roumanicus nesiotes.
  • Erinaceus roumanicus pallidus.

In case you are more curious, in this Green Ecologist post we explain what Animals live in burrows.

Naked-bellied hedgehog or Madras hedgehog (Paraechinus nudiventris)

The quills of the bare-bellied hedgehog are short and dark in color, while its face and belly are light in color. They inhabit thickets with acacia trees and rocky soils. They are endemic to southern India, but it has been consider extinct in different places. Even so, it has been seen by some states in southeastern India.

Other types of hedgehogs

Next, we are going to mention six more types of hedgehogs that exist:

  • Manchurian hedgehog (Erinaceus amurensis).
  • Gobi Hedgehog (Mesechinus dauuricus).
  • Hindu hedgehog (Paraechinus micropus).
  • Hugh's Hedgehog (Mesechinus hughi).
  • Brandt's Hedgehog (Paraechinus hypomelas).
  • African pygmy hedgehog (Atelerix albiventris).

Types of sea urchins

In addition to the terrestrial hedgehogs of the family erinaceidae there are sea urchins, but they are not related at all nor are they morphologically the same. They are called hedgehogs because they also have spikes, but these are grouped globularly around a calcareous skeleton covered with epidermis. They belong to the class of echinoids, related to starfish. They are divided into subclasses, although most are already extinct:

  • Cidaroidea: it has separate quills.
  • Euechinoidea: the quills are not so far apart.

Snuffbox (Cidaris cidaris)

It is a cidaroid with spines of different lengths, the primaries are long light gray with green tips and the secondaries short light green. Is it so covered by algae little. They inhabit the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea.

Hedgehog headbandDiadema antillarum)

This euechinoidea has very long, sharp and brittle black spines averaging 10 centimeters, which are frequently footfalls by tourists, as these urchins are associated with coral reefs. If this is the case, the barbs can break inside the skin, causing infections if they are not removed or absorbed by the body.

Sea chestnut (Paracentrotus lividus)

It is dark brown in color and 7 centimeters in diameter, with few spines. This species of hedgehog is used for human consumption in the Mediterranean Sea, in the form of shellfish. Their communities are reducing by climate change, which is reducing the economic potential, but more importantly, the gene pool of an endemic Mediterranean species. Visit this article to read more about the Effects of climate change.

Flower hedgehog (Toxopneustes pileolus)

This is a poisonous hedgehog with two toxins released in its pedicels: contractin A causes hemagglutination and neuronal transmission failure in the muscles, while peditoxin reduces body temperature, is sedative, decreases muscle activity and leads to a coma. anesthetic. These toxins are used to defend against predators. It feeds on marine detritus, algae, and small organisms such as bryozoans. Read this article to know the Classification of algae.

If you want to read more articles similar to Types of hedgehogs, we recommend that you enter our Wild Animals category.

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  • Marimuthu, R. and Asokan, K. (2014). Bare-bellied or Madras Hedgehog, Paraechinus nudiventris, (Horsfield 1851) in Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu. Available at: https://www.zoosprint.zooreach.org/index.php/zp/article/view/850/835
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