Desert Hedgehog, Paraechinus aethiopicus

The desert hedgehog (Paraechinus aethiopicus) can be found in many areas including Algeria, Chad, the Sahara Desert, Egypt, Iran, Israel, Iraq, Jordan, Libya, Mali, Morocco, Niger, Somalia, Sudan, and many other areas. It is though that this hedgehog can also be found in Ethiopia.

It has an average body length of up to eleven inches and can weigh between ten to eighteen ounces, making it one of the smallest hedgehogs. The coloring of the spines is similar to that of the four-toed hedgehog with banded markings. If threatened, the hedgehog tightens its muscles and pulls the outer layer of skin around its entire body. Only the long spikes are visible, and this defense mechanism makes the desert hedgehog difficult to catch. These hedgehogs eat desert plants like the prickly pear. The conservation status of the desert hedgehog is of “Least Concern”.

Image Caption: A Desert Hedgehog cub (Paraechinus aethopicus) curled up in a man’s hand. Credit: Max Korostischeveski/Wikipedia(CC BY-SA 3.0)