The African Pygmy Hedgehog

Scienfic Name:- Atelerix albiventris

African pygmy hedgehogs originate from Africa.   They can grow to between 5-8 inches in length,   and normally weigh between 500-700g when fully grown.

Habitat :- They are extremely active animals and should therefore be kept in as large an enclosure as possible,   a minimum of 2-3 square feet.   Large glass fish tanks could be used,   as well as reptile vivariums.   The floor of the enclosure should be lined with newspaper,   which can also be covered with a layer of wood shavings to provide a softer base,   however this can make soiled areas harder to spot,   therefore a good cleaning regime is even more important.

Cedar shavings should not be use as they can emit harmful odours when soaked in urine therefore,   if shavings are to be used,   Aspen are amongst the best.   The hedgehog also requires a box in which to hide and sleep during the day,   as they are nocturnal animals.   The box can be filled with shredded paper so as to provide a warm and absorbent home.

In order to provide the hedgehog with stimulation,   small toys designed for cats and ferrets can be provided,   along with plastic or cardboard tunnels to burrow through.   A large exercise wheel such as for ferrets can be placed inside the enclosure,   however the wheel should be solid and not have any gaps in which the hedgehog can trap their feet.

Diet :- They are insectivorous and in the wild would mainly eat insects.   In captivity they can be fed mealworms,   but this should not be their sole diet as they are too high in fat and lack many essential nutrients.   A good quality cat food can be offered,   as well as pieces of cooked chicken (boiled is best without the skin),   mince,   lamb,   and occasional small amounts of boiled or scrambled egg.   Their food can be scattered and hidden around the enclosure in order to encourage a more natural foraging behaviour.   Never feed Bread,   milk or any dairy products,   as they will cause illness.   Clean water should be available at all times,   and should be changed at least once a day.

Life expectancy :- 4-6 years but up to 8 years.

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