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Hedgie: Female, born September 6, 2008 in Maryland. She arrived at the Philadelphia Zoo on November 11, 2008.
The African hedgehog is nocturnal, and is often seen sleeping during the day.
Small Mammal House
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The African hedgehog has an oval shaped body and short legs. The upper part of the body is covered with short, sharp spines that are brown or grey with cream tips. The underside is covered with soft white fur. The quills lay flat against the body when the animal is relaxed, but if it feels threatened it contracts a series of strong muscles and curls itself into a tight ball with the quills sticking out in all directions. This spiny ball is a deterrent to predators, which often leave the hedgehog alone and go looking for an easier meal.
1-4 years in the wild and 3-5 years in captivity.
African hedgehogs typically breed once or twice a year when the conditions are right and they come across a potential mate. An average of four young are born after a gestation of 35 days, and each weighs only about 1/3 of a ounce. They are born with soft spines that are covered with a membrane and within a few hours of birth the membrane dries up and the spines begin to harden and grow. Their eyes open in 14-16 days, and are weaned in 3-6 weeks.
Nocturnal and mainly solitary, African hedgehogs maintain distance between each other. They don't hold territories and can cover several miles at night while foraging for food. They are also able to enter a state of inactivity similar to hibernation when the temperature is outside of the optimal range of 75-85 degrees F. African hedgehogs exhibit a very unusual behavior when they come across an novel taste or scent. They produce copious amounts of frothy saliva that they spread across their body. The purpose of this behavior is not understood.
7-9 inches in length
The African hedgehog feeds on insects, earthworms, snails and slugs in the wild. At the Zoo the hedgehogs receive a base diet of a commercial African hedgehog biscuit and canned dog food. The enrichment portion of the diet includes a small amount of fruits and vegetables, egg yolk and insects. The enrichment portion of the diet promotes normal feeding and foraging behaviors and contributes to the overall nutrient intake of the animal.
The African hedgehog is widespread in West Africa, Central Africa and East Africa. It ranges from Senegal and southern Mauritania in the west, through the savanna areas of West Africa, and northern Central Africa, to Sudan and Ethiopia, from here it ranges south into East Africa, ranging as far south as Malawi and southern Zambia. It is found in savanna and grassy areas with light undergrowth.
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