(Last Updated On: April 15, 2021)

The North African hedgehog, scientific name Atelerix algirus or Algerian hedgehog, is a mammal species within the family Erinaceidae native to Algeria, Libya, Malta, Morocco, Spain, and Tunisia.

North African Hedgehog Overview

North African hedgehogs range in size from 200 to 250 mm. They are paler in coloration than hedgehogs from Europe, with the possible exception of Erinaceus europaeus.

The most helpful diagnostic characteristic is the spine-free “part” on the crown of the top, which seems as a scarcity of a widow’s peak typically seen in related species.

They even have bigger ears, longer snouts, and longer legs than Erinaceus europaeus. The underbelly is colored both brown or white. The dorsal floor of Atelerix algirus is roofed in sharp spines made from powerful keratin.

The gestation interval of the North African hedgehog ranges from 30 to 40 days, and the litter size is between three and 10 hoglets. Two litters are sometimes born in a season from October to March.

The North African hedgehog (Atelerix algirus), or Algerian hedgehog, is a species of hedgehog within the Erinaceidae family. It is present in Algeria, France, Libya, Malta, Morocco, Spain, and Tunisia.

Little is thought about this species of hedgehog, regardless that the commonest breed of domesticated hedgehogs is a result of crossing a four-toed hedgehog with a North African hedgehog.

Because this species of the hedgehog is native to Africa, it has been recommended that it was launched by people to the opposite international locations the place it’s now discovered, together with France and Spain (together with the Canary Islands).

Of the 4 African species of hedgehogs, the North African hedgehog is the one among these hedgehogs that may be discovered outdoors on the continent of Africa.

Because this species of the hedgehog is native to Africa, it has been recommended that it was launched by people to the opposite international locations the place it’s now discovered, together with France, Spain, and the Canary Islands.

Of the 4 African hedgehog species, the North African hedgehog is the one among these hedgehogs that happens outdoors in Africa. Because the North African hedgehog has such a large habitat range and has seemingly stable inhabitants, each within the wild and within the domesticated capability, it doesn’t seem to at present be in danger.

When the desert temperatures get to be too scorching and meals turn scarce, hedgehogs will aestivate. This is the summer season model of hibernation; the acute warmth causes the hedgehog to enter hiding, decrease its metabolic fee, and reside off of the saved fats in its body till it is ready to go back outdoors. While just like hibernation, the hedgehog doesn’t sleep as deeply or for as long whereas it aestivates.

The IUCN at present lists the four-toed hedgehog within the “least concern” class, which means that the inhabitants are giant and stable.

Of course, this doesn’t imply that they don’t seem to be going through any threats. Hedgehogs are dropping more and more of their habitat to human improvement. Also, because the human inhabitants expand, more roads are constructed, which ends up in more hedgehogs being hit and killed by vehicles.

Geographic Range

North African hedgehogs are native to the northern areas of Africa from Morocco to Libya. They have additionally been launched to close by areas, together with the southern, mountainous areas of Spain, France, and the islands off the coast of Africa, such because the Canary Islands and the Balearics. Introduced populations in France are actually extinct.

North African Hedgehog Habitat

North African hedgehogs want arid climates, however are present in a broad range of habitats together with dry Mediterranean scrub, grasslands, pastures, cultivated fields, semi-desert, and gardens.

They are additionally discovered close to human populations. They are sometimes discovered at altitudes of 400 m or much less, though elevations of as much as 900 m have been noticed in Morocco.

North African Hedgehog Description

The North African hedgehog intently resembles the European hedgehog however there are a number of distinct variations between the 2 species. The North African hedgehog tends to be smaller than its European counterpart, measuring between 20 and 25 cm (7.9 and 9.eight in) long and weighing as much as 650 grams.

The North African hedgehog intently resembles the European hedgehog, nonetheless, there are a number of distinct variations between the 2 species.

The North African hedgehog tends to be smaller than its European counterpart, measuring wherever from 200 to 250mm long. However, it’s bigger than the opposite African species of hedgehogs and has an extended snout and longer legs, making it a quicker runner.

Its face is light in coloration, normally showing to be white, and the legs and head are brown. The underbelly of this animal can differ in coloration and is usually both brown or white in coloration.

Its ears are extremely seen on the top of the animal and are giant in size. The body is roofed in smooth spines which are primarily white with darker banding. It is most distinguishable from bodily related kinfolk by the shortage of spines on the crown of the top, which means a scarcity of the widow’s peak.

However, it’s bigger than the opposite African species of hedgehogs and has an extended snout and longer legs, making it a quicker runner. Its face is light in color, normally showing to be white, and the legs and head are brown.

The underbelly of this animal can differ in color and is usually both brown or white. Its ears are extremely seen on the top of the animal and are giant.

The body is roofed in smooth spines, that are principally white with darker banding. It is most distinguishable from bodily related kinfolk by the shortage of spines on the crown of the top, which means a scarcity of the widow’s peak.

The species is often infested by the hedgehog flea, Archaeopsylla erinacei maura.

North African Hedgehog Distribution and habitat

Very little is definitely identified about the popular habitat of the North African hedgehog. It has been present in Mediterranean conifer and combined forest climates as are present in southern mountainous areas of Spain and northern Africa.

In northern Africa, it may be discovered from Morocco to Libya, however, is just not capable of surviving in dry desert areas around this space. It might be present in different hotter areas as effectively, together with components of France, the Canary Islands, and the Balearics.

Within these areas, it may well typically be noticed in backyard and park areas.

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Food Habits

North African hedgehogs are generalist omnivores. They forage at night for arthropods, small vertebrates, carrion, fungi, and different obtainable meals.

Lifespan/Longevity

Little is thought in regards to the lifespan of North African Hedgehog. It is anticipated to observe tendencies seen in different hedgehogs of its size. If so, the anticipated lifespan can be between three and seven years within the wild and eight to 10 years in captivity.

North African Hedgehog

North African Hedgehog Behavior

This species is tough to review within the discipline as a result of its nocturnal. Like most hedgehogs, it’s almost definitely solitary. When threatened, it curls right into a ball and shows its spiny exterior to discourage predators.

The African pygmy hedgehog, or four-toed hedgehog, might be discovered throughout a lot of Eastern, Western, and Central Africa. They weigh in between one and two lbs. and are seven to 9 inches long.

Their tiny bodies are lined with about 6,000 quills, that are normally used as a protection mechanism, though people additionally take into account the hedgehog’s pores and skin and quills to be good fertility charms. A hedgehog’s quills are tougher and sharper than a porcupine’s.

When a hedgehog will get scared, it curls up right into a ball in order that its quills are pointing in all completely different instructions, making it very unappealing to predators.

Hedgehogs have a particular round muscle that runs alongside the edges of their body and throughout their neck and butt. When this muscle contracts, it creates a “bag” for the hedgehog to place its head, body, and legs in because it curls up. Hedgehogs additionally sleep rolled up, simply in case.

Although hedgehogs have many predators, together with giant birds and most carnivores, however solely the strongest predators, like badgers, can open a curled-up hedgehog.

When on the lookout for a house, a hedgehog has a couple of necessities. They need a dry shelter, well-drained soil, and an abundance of bugs they like to eat. They have begun to maneuver into suburban areas, that are supreme habitats for them.

Because they eat many bugs thought-about to be pests, although, people are sometimes glad to have a hedgehog round.

Hedgehogs like to eat bugs, earthworms, snails, and slugs, they usually additionally eat eggs, small mammals, birds, frogs, reptiles, fruit, fungi, and roots.

They have additionally been identified to eat toxic snakes, regardless that they don’t seem to be full-proof against the toxins (they do have sufficient immunity to make it protected, although).

Communication

Nothing is thought about communication within the wild for North African Hedgehog. Hedgehogs increase their quills and make hissing noises when nervous. In addition, hedgehogs typically make purring noises when content. Like different mammals, scent cues are prone to be necessary for communication and in prey detection.

Predation

Eurasian eagle-owls (Bubo bubo) overlap in geographic range with North African Hedgehog and are identified to prey on different species of hedgehogs. North African hedgehogs use their sharp spines to discourage predators and are additionally cryptically colored.

Ecosystem

There is little information on the ecosystem roles of North African hedgehogs. They serve as prey for giant predators which are capable of getting past their defensive spines and are prone to impression inhabitants ranges of the species on which they prey.

North African Hedgehog Reproduction

The breeding season for North African Hedgehog is October to March. They don’t mate for all times or interact in pair-bonding, however little else is thought about mating behavior.

The gestation interval for this species of hedgehog ranges from 30 to 40 days and the litter size can differ between three to 10 hoglets. This species typically produces two litters in a season.

The hoglets usually weigh between 12 to 20 grams every. The season for reproduction is from October to March. It reaches sexual maturity at about eight to 10 weeks of age and doesn’t mate for all times. That is, this hedgehog doesn’t take part in pair bonding.

North African hedgehogs produce two litters per breeding season. Litter size is between three and 10 hoglets, and every hoglet weighs 12 to 20 grams. The hoglet is born blind, however positive factors vision rapidly.

The spines start to erupt from beneath the pores and skin and membranous coverings about 36 hours after birth. The gestation time for the species is 30 to 40 days and the younger grow to be sexually mature between eight and 10 weeks of age.

The hoglets are born with hairless, pinkish pores and skin in addition to small, smooth spines, that are later shed as soon as the hedgehog acquires its tougher, stiffer set of quills at around 4 weeks of age; and usually weigh between 12 and 20 grams.

This species reaches sexual maturity at eight to 10 weeks of age and doesn’t mate for all times, that’s this hedgehog doesn’t take part in pair bonding. The North African hedgehog is a bunch of the Acanthocephalan intestinal parasite Moniliformis aegyptiacus.

North African Hedgehog Conservation

North African hedgehogs are labeled as a species of least concern in keeping with the IUCN Red List. Like most hedgehogs within the Mediterranean, North African Hedgehog is almost definitely in decline, however not sufficient is thought about their inhabitant’s size to make sure.

They are sometimes killed by passing vehicles and populations are restricted by appropriate habitat. They are sometimes killed by people for use for meals, regional medical functions, and components in witchcraft markets.

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