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This hedgehog species is remarkably bigger than the rest of the species within this family and naturally occurs in Morocco and Algeria. The species is also kept as a pet, but is still very rare in captivity.

Taxonomy

Kingdom:Animalia
Phylum:Chordata
Class:Mammalia
Order:Eulipotyphla
Family:Erinaceidae
Genus:Atelerix
Species:A. algirus

Natural habitat

The North African hedgehog occurs naturally in North Africa in areas up to 900 meters above sea level. They mainly live in grassland, scrub and desert areas. The North African hedgehog has a relatively small habitat, but occurs in fairly large numbers. The lowest measured temperature in the habitat of this hedgehog species is about 5 degrees Celsius in winter and the highest measured temperature in summer is about 36 degrees Celsius. As a result, North African hedgehogs have both a summer rest and a winter hibernation.

In the dry season, July is the driest month with less than 0.5 mm of rain per day. In the wettest months, up to 3mm of rain can fall per day.

Geography

The North African hedgehog is found in North Africa and southern Europe. The species has been introduced into European areas, presumably as a result of shipping traffic.

The North African hedgehog is found in the countries of Algeria, Libya, Malta, Morocco, Spain and Tunisia. The species was previously also found in France, where the species is now extinct. The species also occurs on islands such as the Canary Islands, Djerba, Mallorca, Ibiza and Formentera. It is also suspected that the species was introduced by humans on these islands.

Climate

The North African hedgehog lives in the Mideteran climate in Morocco, Libya, Tunisia and Algeria. The climate has mild, wet winters and dry, hot summers. The coldest temperatures within the habitat of this hedgehog species are around 7 degrees Celsius in the cold winters. The hottest temperatures can reach up to 36 degrees Celsius in summer. On average, North African hedgehogs have about 6 hours of sunlight per day in winter to 12 hours of sunlight per day in summer.

During the dry season in summer, less than 0.5 mm of rain falls per day for about 1 day per month. In the rainy season in winter there is an average of 2mm of rain per day on about 7 days per month.

Flora & fauna

The North African habitat of the North African hedgehog is quite diverse, despite the intense dryness in the area. The hedgehog species shares its habitat with the endangered Barbary macaque, the Atlas deer, leopards, red foxes, Berber sheep and many more animals.

Special among the plants are the various breadfruit trees, acacia trees and pine trees. Many types of grasses and shrubs are also found in the area, usually species that can store a lot of water to withstand the dry summers.

Appearance

The North African hedgehog is quite larger than the rest of the species within the same family. The species can weigh up to 2 kilograms and grow to about 35-40 cm in length. Seen from above, the North African hedgehog has a teardrop shape and seen from the front, the head is heart-shaped. The ears are behind the eyes, but set slightly more towards the top. The species has five toes on the hind legs and five toes on the front legs.


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