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Home > Hedgehogs > Southern White-Breasted Hedgehog: Pictures, Info, Care Guide & Traits

Southern White-Breasted Hedgehog: Pictures, Info, Care Guide & Traits

If you landed on this page, it is probably because you were charmed by the adorable little face of the hedgehog. You are probably also familiar with the African Pygmy Hedgehog, which is increasingly popular with people who want to have an exotic pet. But did you know that there are over 14 species of hedgehogs?

Today we present to you the Southern White-Breasted Hedgehog, which is native to the Middle East and Southwestern Asia. Find out everything you need to know about this tiny quill ball, and whether or not it is possible to keep it as a pet.


Quick Facts about Southern White-Breasted Hedgehogs

Species Name: Erinaceus concolor
Family: Erinaceidae
Care Level: Intermediate to advanced
Temperature: 75°F to 84°F
Temperament: Shy, solitary
Lifespan: 4 to 7 years
Size: Up to 10 inches
Diet: Pelleted formulas, mealworms, crickets, small amount of fruits and vegetables
Minimum Cage Size: 2 x 3 feet
Habitat Set-Up: Large escape-proof cage
Compatibility: Can coexist with cats and dogs

Southern White-Breasted Hedgehog Overview

The Southern White-Breasted Hedgehog (Erinaceus concolor) is very similar to the European Hedgehog (Erinaceus europaeus); only a white spot on the chest of the first (hence its name) distinguishes them. Additionally, the Southern White-Breasted Hedgehog never digs a den and prefers to build a cozy nest of grass to hide and rest.

Moreover, these two species have long been considered to be the same. However, more recent studies have established some genetic differences between the two species. These hedgehogs are, nevertheless, able to mate together.

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

How Much Do Southern White-Breasted Hedgehogs Cost?

It is difficult to know the price of the Southern White-Breasted Hedgehog, but know that an African Pygmy Hedgehog typically sells for between $150 and $400.

Before you begin your search for reputable hedgehog breeders, be aware that it may be illegal in your state or country to keep any of these exotic animals. For example, in the United Kingdom, it is forbidden to keep a hedgehog, regardless of the species. These are protected by very strict laws and violators can be liable to hefty fines.

In the United States, it is illegal to keep hedgehogs in five states: California, Georgia, Hawaii, New York, and Washington, DC There are regulations in other states that allow, for example, to have an African Pygmy Hedgehog but no European Hedgehog. Check with your locality to find out if you need a permit to keep a hedgehog.

Also, although there are reputable and knowledgeable hedgehog breeders out there, you should consider adoption. The International Hedgehog Association and the Hedgehog Welfare Society are excellent resources for finding hedgehogs. Ultimately, many hedgehogs can be found in shelters across the U.S.

Typical Behavior & Temperament

Hedgehogs are adorable creatures, but they’re not known for their exuberant personalities! In fact, hedgehogs of all species are notoriously shy animals. The Southern White-Breasted Hedgehogs are no exception: as soon as they sense danger or an unknown presence, they curl into a ball and present their armor of small spikes to the intruder. Therefore, to tame a hedgehog, it is important to accustom it from an early age to your presence, your smell, and your voice.

However, Southern White-Breasted Hedgehogs, like other species, do not form extremely strong emotional bonds with their human and adopted family. They can be tame, with patience, skill, and kindness, but they will never be as friendly as a dog. They are solitary animals that are active mainly at night, which further limits social interactions.

european hedgehog
Image Credit: Jussi Suvela, Shutterstock

Southern White-Breasted Hedgehog Appearance & Varieties

The Southern White-Breasted Hedgehog measures up to ten inches long. This small, stocky-looking mammal is covered with yellowish and brown quills on the back, forehead, and flanks. Its belly is covered with stiff, yellowish hairs; its tail is very short and the muzzle always looks like a snout.

This hedgehog looks a lot like the European Hedgehog. The most noticeable difference is the white patch on its belly. Its face is also covered in slightly lighter hair than its European counterpart.


How to Take Care of Southern White-Breasted Hedgehogs

Habitat & Setup

Cage and Bedding

Hedgehogs need a large, escape-proof wire cage, but also with solid ground to prevent their small legs from getting caught in the wire mesh. You can purchase paper-based litter made especially for hedgehogs or fill the cage with newspaper. It is also possible, with patience and repetition, to train the hedgehog to use a litter box, like a cat.

Since the hedgehog is a nocturnal animal, it needs a wheel to stay active at night. The noise of the wheel can sometimes bother some ears; It is, therefore, important to choose wisely the place where you will place the cage (not in your room if you are a light sleeper!).

  • Unlike the African Pygmy Hedgehog, the Southern White-Breasted Hedgehog needs to hibernate in winter. You will need to provide it with a small shelter where it can take refuge when the time comes.

Hedgehog Habitat Temperature

The cage should be placed in a quiet area of the house with medium lighting. The ambient temperature should be kept between 75°F and 84°F. You can use a heating mat or even a heat lamp to maintain a proper temperature, especially if you live in a colder area.

hedgehog cage
Image by: Best Dog Photo, Shutterstock

Do Southern White-Breasted Hedgehogs Get Along with Other Pets?

The Southern White-Breasted Hedgehog can coexist with other pets such as dogs and cats, although it is a rather solitary animal. However, he will need room to move around as it will be difficult to get used to an enclosed space. To train him well, it is important to socialize him from an early age, as he is a shy animal but with a gentle character.


What to Feed Your Southern White-Breasted Hedgehog

Hedgehogs are omnivorous and spend most of their time searching the ground for food. Their diet is very varied. PetMD recommends a diet based on formulated pellets, a few mealworms, crickets, and a few pieces of fruit and vegetables as occasional treats.

However, be aware that this diet is most suitable for African Pygmy Hedgehogs, as the exact nutritional needs of Southern White-Breasted Hedgehogs kept as pets are still unknown.

Keeping Your Southern White-Breasted Hedgehog Healthy

Hedgehogs are prone to becoming obese. Therefore, it is essential that they be able to exercise every day and ideally be able to stretch their legs outside their cage, under your constant supervision.

Also, hedgehogs can be infected with the Salmonella species or other bacteria, which leads to diarrhea, vomiting, and weight loss. You can get infected by this bacteria yourself since it is transmissible to humans. Always wash your hands after each handling of your hedgehog and contact with its environment.

However, the most important thing in keeping your hedgehog healthy is having access to a veterinarian who is skilled with this type of exotic pet. He will be able to do regular check-ups on your unique little mammal.

Hedgehog Breeding

It is not advisable to breed hedgehogs, especially if you are unfamiliar with this species and the care required to ensure safe breeding. Additionally, in the United States, you must have a license delivered by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to legally breed hedgehogs. Indeed, this practice is regulated by the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), a division of the USDA.

If you would like more information on the USDA licensure, click on this link.

divider-hedgehogAre Southern White-Breasted Hedgehogs Suitable For You?

If you want to adopt a Southern White-Breasted Hedgehog, know that this exotic little creature certainly has a lot of charm, but is not suitable for everyone. They are solitary animals, with a fearful nature. That, along with the presence of quills on its back and its tendency to curl into a ball, limits the possible interactions. And, more importantly, it may be illegal in your state or country to keep this exotic animal as a pet.

Nonetheless, the hedgehog is a fascinating creature with a little something special that can charm more than one. However, you must adequately weigh the pros and cons before its adoption and not do it out of a simple, often fleeting heartthrob.

See Also:

Featured Image Credit: WildMedia, Shutterstock

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