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Home > Hedgehogs > Northern White-Breasted Hedgehog: Care Guide, Varieties & Lifespan

Northern White-Breasted Hedgehog: Care Guide, Varieties & Lifespan

northern white-breasted hedgehog

Hedgehogs have become a popular pet amongst tiny animal enthusiasts. It’s hard not to fall in love with their adorable faces.

Small animal enthusiasts will be familiar with the Four-Toed Hedgehog, African Pygmy Hedgehog, and the European Hedgehog. However, not all hedgehogs are the same, and there are still wild, undomesticated hedgehogs like the Northern White-Breasted Hedgehog!

Northern White-Breasted Hedgehogs are known for not being especially fearful of humans because they have a beneficial relationship with us. But can they be kept as pets? Stick around and find out!

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Quick Facts about Northern White-Breasted Hedgehog

Species: Erinaceous roumanicus
Family: Erinceidae
Care Level: N/A
Temperament: Solitary
Color Form: Brown with white belly
Lifespan: 2 – 5 years
Diet: Omnivorous
Compatibility: N/A

Northern White-Breasted Hedgehog Overview

Northern White-Breasted Hedgehogs are a distinct species from the European Hedgehog and the Southern White-Breasted Hedgehog, though it took until the 1990s to be classified as such.

Northern White-Breasted Hedgehogs are synanthropic, which means they benefit from their interactions with human-made structures. However, direct interactions between humans and Northern White-Breasted Hedgehogs are rare because the hedgehogs are nocturnal.

Northern White-Breasted Hedgehogs are one of Europe’s most common undomesticated hedgehogs. They have a distinct appearance apart from the commonly domesticated hedgehogs. Still, it’s ill-advised to pick up hedgehogs that you see walking around outside.

While we don’t fully understand why they do it, you may see the Northern White-Breasted Hedgehog licking itself to coat its spines in saliva. This is not a concerning behavior and is perfectly healthy for the hedgehog.

Hedgehogs are also not threatened by human interaction. They’re considered one of the most friendly breeds of wild hedgehogs because of their close relationship to human settlements and structures. They’re classified as being among the species of Least Concern when it comes to populations.

The greatest threat to the Northern White-Breasted Hedgehog is external parasites. They are highly susceptible to carrying Hedgehog Ticks and other parasites, which can be transferred from the host to other animals who interact with it.

Northern White-Breasted Hedgehog
Image Credit: Marcus Molinder, Pixabay

How Much Do Northern White-Breasted Hedgehog Cost?

Northern White-Breasted Hedgehogs are not commonly kept as pets. They are endemic to Northern Europe and have not been domesticated. To purchase a Northern White-Breasted Hedgehog, one would likely have to import the animal from Europe, requiring health screenings in both countries and cost several thousand dollars.

Four-Toed, European, and African Pygmy Hedgehogs are more common pets and easier to find. Additionally, breeders exist more readily worldwide and do not require special importing.

Typical Behavior & Temperament

Northern White-Breasted Hedgehogs are rather bold for wild animals. Because of their synanthropic relationship with humans, they don’t tend to fear us like many other small wild animals.

However, direct interactions remain rare because of our opposing schedules. With humans as diurnal animals and hedgehogs as nocturnal animals, it’s hard to find a time when both hedgehogs and humans are awake.

Further, these hedgehogs are undomesticated wild animals. So, direct interactions should remain rare because they could put the animal or the human in danger, primarily through parasite transmission.

a young northern white-breasted hedgehog
Image By: WildMedia, Shutterstock

Appearance & Varieties

Northern White-Breasted Hedgehogs have a distinct appearance because of their pale-colored throat and belly. While most other hedgehogs maintain a reasonably consistent coloring over their whole body, Northern White-Breasted Hedgehogs have a uniquely pale coat on their stomach that contrasts with their back.

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How to Take Care of Northern White-Breasted Hedgehog

There is no meaningful standard of care for Northern White-Breasted Hedgehogs because they are not usually kept as pets. Since they remain undomesticated, there is no community or veterinarian oversight into their care and keeping.

Young northern white-breasted hedgehog
Image By: WildMedia, Shutterstock

Does the Northern White-Breasted Hedgehog Get Along with Other Pets?

Northern White-Breasted Hedgehogs are generally friendly animals, but they would likely fear other animals since they are undomesticated. As prey animals, they would be incredibly uncomfortable around cats or dogs, which might be viewed as predators.

It’s unknown whether Northern White-Breasted Hedgehogs get along amongst themselves in captivity since no widespread study of their captive behaviors has occurred.

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What to Feed Your Northern White-Breasted Hedgehog

Northern White-Breasted Hedgehogs are not usually kept as pets. So, there’s not any standardization as to domestic feeding. Hedgehogs are omnivorous and eat a combination of animal proteins and plant material in the wild.

It’s safe to say that your hedgehog will need a combination of animal proteins such as those found in cat or dog food and plant material. A commercial diet intended for hedgehogs will likely contain everything your hedgehog needs to survive.

Northern white-breasted hedgehog on the grass
Image By: Lubos Houska, Shutterstock

Keeping Your Northern White-Breasted Hedgehog Healthy

The biggest threat to the Northern White-Breasted Hedgehog is external parasites. Since we haven’t domesticated them, no known breed-specific ailments may befall Northern White-Breasted Hedgehogs.

An experienced exotic veterinarian should see your hedgehog regularly to ensure optimum health outcomes. They will be able to guide you if any issues arise with your hedgehog properly.

Are Northern White-Breasted Hedgehog Suitable For You?

Northern White-Breasted Hedgehogs are wild animals not meant to be kept as pets. While there is a possibility for domestication in the future — especially since Northern White-Breasted Hedgehogs are synanthropic — it hasn’t yet occurred, and prospective pet parents will want to be wary of anyone claiming to sell domesticated Northern White-Breasted Hedgies.

Further, the domestication process would probably start in Europe, where they are endemic. So, importing one would be the only way to get one until the breed takes off as a common household pet.

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Final Thoughts

While it might be tempting to go searching for a breeder to sell you a Northern White-Breasted Hedgehog, prospective owners should exercise caution. These animals are not yet domesticated, and inviting a wild animal into your home can be dangerous for you and the animal alike.

Supporting the domestication of the Northern White-Breasted Hedgehog might be possible, but it’s essential to leave that task to skilled animal breeders who have experience with long-term domestication. Only experts can provide reasonably consistent domestication results.

So, unfortunately, you can’t keep a Northern White-Breasted Hedgehog as a pet just yet. Luckily, there are several domesticated breeds of hedgehogs to choose from if you dream of having a hedgie!


Featured Image Credit: Toni Genes, Shutterstock

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