Where African pygmy hedgehogs do not hibernate during the coldest months in their habitat, African pygmy hedgehogs do summer sleep during the hottest months in their habitat. Especially in countries where temperatures can rise to over 40 degrees Celsius in the summer months, they keep long summer sleeps in their shady, cool burrows. These summer sleeps are very similar to hibernation: the body causes the heart rate to drop, the hedgehog becomes slower, eats less, sleeps more, organs are kept active at a low level and the body temperature adjusts to the ambient temperature, until the hedgehog eventually falls into a deep sleep, until the temperature cools down enough for the hedgehog to become active again.

In other areas where it gets up to 30 degrees Celsius in the summer months, African pygmy hedgehogs may go on a summer rest instead of a summer hibernation, resting in their burrows for only a few days to shelter from the heat.


In captivity it is also important to keep a close eye on White-bellied cones. They can withstand the heat in many of the countries where they are kept, but above 30 degrees Celsius it becomes important to ensure that the temperature does not rise even higher. The chance of overheating then becomes a lot greater and captivity, imitating a cool cave is very difficult to imitate. As a result, the hedgehogs get very hot and can die from overheating without intervention.

A good way to prevent this is to place frozen water bottles on top of the enclosure, but out of reach of the hedgehog. Cool air descends and will usually cool the enclosure enough for the hedgehog to remain active. The bottles must of course be replaced regularly as long as the temperature remains too high. A ceramic stone can also help cool the hedgehog. However, do not put it in the refrigerator beforehand, the chance of a hibernation attempt then becomes very high, because the ambient temperature can suddenly cool down too quickly for a hedgehog and the hedgehog can go into shock. The same applies to ice jars or placing ice bottles in the enclosure.