Iowa State University Veterinarian

Document Type



The African hedgehog, Atelerix albiventris, has become a very popular pet in the United States. At one time, this animal was being imported from its native land of Central Africa, but it is now being successfully bred in captivity in the United States. Another species that is also becoming popular is the African pygmy hedgehog, Erinaceinae aethechinus. There are many species and variations of hedgehogs, differing in size, shape, and color. Although hedgehogs have a similar appearance to a porcupine, they are classified with the shrew and the mole in the order Insectivora. Hedgehogs belong to the family Erinacidae, which consists of three genera: Erinaceus (African and Eurasian hedgehogs), Hemiechinus (long-eared desert hedgehogs), and Paraechinus (desert hedgehogs).