Hedgehogs are small insectivores, characterised by their pointed faces and short, sharp spines covering the flanks and back as protection against predators. Their head and body length is 200mm with a short rudimentary tail of 20mm.


Hedgehogs feed on insects such as beetles, termites, grasshoppers and slugs. They may also prey on young rodents, small birds' eggs and chicks, frogs and lizards. Even fungi and vegetable matter are occasionally included in their diet. They are apparently not dependant on free water.


Breeding season extends from October to April. Their offspring are reared in the shelter of nests or holes lined with dry leaves and debris. Gestation period lasts from five to six weeks and litters vary from one to nine. Young are hairless and blind at birth and their ears are closed. Beneath the skin of newly born young, the rudimentary spines are already visible.

Pigmented spines appear after one day and infant spines are replaced with mature spines between four to six weeks after birth. Young are weaned at about five weeks.

©Roger de la Harpe


Hedgehogs are generally nocturnal and solitary.


Hedgehogs inhabit open grasslands or open wooded country. They inhabit a wide variety of habitats, but apparently avoid mesic habitats.
Kruger National Park - South African Safari