At The Hedgehog Program, we strive to gain more and more knowledge about the different species of hedgehogs around the world. In order to do research, we have set up several projects and will continue to expand them as the company develops. The Hedgehog Program only conducts non-invasive research, meaning we don’t harm animals and try to minimize their discomfort as much as possible. Much of our data comes directly from hobbyists and breeders of various pet species or from experienced and recognized rescue organizations around the world for wild hedgehogs. For example: obtaining pedigrees and nest results from breeders, owners who send us information about the health and weight of their hedgehog. During the microscopic examination we ask for samples of hairs and spines of different types and colors of hedgehogs. Hedgehogs naturally lose these throughout their lives and the samples don’t have to be fresh. No need to disturb the animals! In other cases we need a more ‘hands on’ approach. In the field study, we have to observe the animals and temporarily capture them to take stool samples. Many hedgehogs defecate and urinate while experiencing stress, so this usually only takes a minute or two before they can be released back into the same spot where they were trapped. In these cases stress cannot be ruled out, but we try to minimize it by not driving them around, not handling them too much and releasing them immediately after taking the samples.

At The Hedgehog Program, we believe that a lot can be done without harming animals. We started out as hobbyist owners of White Belly Cones and care deeply about the animals we work with. And we carry that through in our work as a research and education center!


By means of taxidermy you can properly research the build of a hedgehog and the pieces can then continue to be used for education, for example at fairs or in schools. At The Hedgehog Program we have a starting collection of stuffed hedgehogs, skeletons and skulls of different types of hedgehogs. Note: if you have a bad bone health, you better skip this page.
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Microscopic research

Through microscopic examination, we can find differences between species of hedgehogs and tenrecs with regard to the structure of their quills and the pigmentation of hairs and quills. We use cross-sections and scale casts for this, as well as close-ups and we maintain a full database of photos.
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Genetics research

Since 2014 we have started collecting information about the colors of African pygmy hedgehogs by collecting pedigrees and litter results, making predictions and slowly building a list of base colors. A solid color guide has been created over the years and the project was completed in early 2021. Since the study on the genetics of African pygmy hedgehogs was completed in early 2021, we have set up a study to study the genetics and colors of Long-eared hedgehogs. This is the project we are currently working on.
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Weight guidelines

To study the average weights of different species of hedgehogs in different situations, we ask for information through a Google form. Owners can easily pass on information and for breeders and rescue centers there is a special form to use for multiple hedgehogs.
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General health study

The health of the species is constantly evolving, so this study focuses on common health issues that may require a little more research. But to better understand these common health issues, we ask for more information via a Google form. In this way we can monitor the health of the animals and inform people about specific topics.
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Field research

Field research can play a huge role in how we view animals as we can map their natural habitats and find specific differences between species to help improve our care for the animals. In June 2025 we will organize a field study in Uganda to study African pygmy hedgehogs. Before that, we'll do some scaling studies on European hedgehogs and Northern white-breasted hedgehogs. And the projects will expand to multiple other species over the years.
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