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Algeria's Wildlife: Algerian Hedgehogs

Measuring between 20 and 25 cm in length, the North African hedgehog (Atelerix algirus) is found in Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia, Libya, Malta, France and Spain. As this cute little hedgehog is native to North Africa, it is generally agreed that it was introduced into France, Spain, the Balearic Islands and Malta by humans. Also known as the Algerian hedgehog, the North African hedgehog is one of four species in the Atelerix genus, the others being the four-toed hedgehog (Atelerix albiventris); the Southern African hedgehog (Atelerix frontalis); and the Somali hedgehog (Atelerix sclateri).

Although the Algerian hedgehog is smaller than its European cousins, it is the largest of the African hedgehog species. It has a longer snout and longer legs than other species, with its face being almost white in color, while its legs and head are brown. Its underbelly is either white or brown and the soft spines covering its body are mostly white with darker bands. Its ears are quite large and rounded with pointy tips and it has no spines on the crown of its head, so it lacks the characteristic 'widow's peak' – a V-shaped arrangement of spines in the middle of the forehead - seen on most hedgehogs.

Breeding season is between October and March with the female giving birth to between 3 and 10 hoglets after a 30 to 40 day gestation period. The male and female mate only for one season, during which time two litters may be produced.

Algerian hedgehogs are found primarily in forested areas or parks, as they are not adapted to live in desert-like climates. Located in Algeria’s Bejaia Province, Gouraya National Park is one of the country's conservation areas that is home to a population of Algerian hedgehogs. Be sure to watch out for them as you explore this picturesque region of Algeria.


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