North African Hedgehog, Atelerix algirus
The North African hedgehog (Atelerix algirus), also known as the Algerian hedgehog, can be found in many areas including Algeria, Libya, France, Spain, and Tunisia. Little is known about this hedgehog’s preferred habitats, but it has often been found in mixed and conifer forests as well as mountainous areas in northern Africa in Spain. It is not able to survive in arid regions of Libya and Morocco. In France, the Balearics, and the Canary Islands, it is often seen in parks and gardens. Because it is the only hedgehog that occurs outside of its native range in Africa, it is thought that humans brought it to the other areas of their range.
The North African hedgehog is similar to the West European hedgehog in appearance, but it is a distinct species. It is small, reaching up to ten inches in length. The legs and underbelly are brown in color, and the face is white. The belly can be brown or white. Its ears are prominent, and it lacks the spines on top of the head that most other species of hedgehog bear. Its legs are longer than other hedgehog species, allowing it to run at faster speeds.
The North Africa hedgehog can produce two litters between the months of October and March, with each litter ranging between three to ten young. Young hedgehogs mature quickly, and are able to mate at eight to ten weeks of age. Due to its large range and lack of major threats, the North African hedgehog has been given a conservation status of “Least Concern” on the IUCN Red List.
Image Caption: An Algerian Hedgehog in the Balearic Islands. Credit: Conselleria de Medi Ambient i Mobilitat, Govern des Illes Balears/Wikipedia(CC BY-SA 3.0)