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South African Hedgehog

wildlife of Namibia

Introduction: The South African hedgehog (Erinaceus frontalis) is so called to distinguish it from other species in Africa and of the world. It is an unmistakeable mammal with its covering of short spines. The coat extends from the forehead, round behind the ears and covers the whole of the upper parts of their bodies. They occur in a wide variety of habitats and are often found in gardens, as they require dry cover for resting and in which to have their young, at the same time providing a plentiful supply of insects and other food.

They are predominantly nocturnal creatures and large numbers are killed at night on roads. They move around slowly, but are capable of a surprisingly good turn of speed by rising on their hind legs as they run. They have an acute sense of smell and hearing, advantages when it comes to locating food, as their sight is generally poor.

Distribution: They occur in the north-western and central parts of Namibia, but not as far as into the coastal Namib Desert.

Diet: These hedgehogs eat a wide variety of food and they are partial to small mice, lizards and the eggs of chicks of ground living birds as well as frogs and slugs, but the bulk of their food includes beetles, termites, centipedes and millipedes, grasshoppers, moths and earthworms.

Colouring: The short spines are white at the base, with a broad black or dark brown band in the middle and white or buffy tips. The face, limbs and tails are covered with dark brown or greyish-brown hair, with a white band of white hair across their foreheads.

Breeding: Size of litters vary from 1 to 9, averaging around 4. The gestation period is around 35 days. As they are born blind and naked, so well-hidden shelters are sought by females, who lie on their sides to suckle.

Size: The South African hedgehog reaches a maximum size of about 20cm overall, with a mass of up to 400g. Females are slightly smaller and lighter.

Wildlife Namibia

  • Namibian Wildlife: Hedgehog
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Self Catering Accommodation in Namibia