African Pygmy Hedgehogs Lifespan

African Pygmy Hedgehogs Lifespan? #9 Factors You Must Know

How Long Do African Pygmy Hedgehogs Live? Do hedgehogs live longer in the wild or in captivity? Well, You can expect the lifespan of African Pygmy Hedgehogs between 3 to 5 years as a pet. However, some of them do live longer. Still, they usually get diseases such as cancer, Wobbly Hedgehog syndrome, etc. in the wild, these little creatures live for 1 to 3 years. This is because they constantly are at risk from predators in the wild.

It is evident that the African Pygmy Hedgehogs and some rodents live longer in captivity than in the wild. In captivity, they get a lot of facilities and are safe from parasites and predators.

However, research by semantic scholars shows that around 10% of pet African Pygmy hedgehogs in North America are affected by Wobbly Hedgehog syndrome. It is a progressive paralysis that leads to neurologic diseases.

Actually, African Pygmy Hedgehogs need a good environment, and diet to survive for a long. However, in the wild, these creatures need to look for their safety and food.

Due to changing environmental conditions, it gets difficult for hedgehogs to survive in the wild. This ultimately decreases their lifespan.

African Pygmy Hedgehogs Lifespan

9 Factors that Impact A Hedgehog’s Lifespan

Factors like nutrition, genetics, environment, diet, etc are responsible for a Hedgehog’s lifespan. Let us discuss these factors in detail.


African Pygmy Hedgehogs need less fat and more protein. This is important because they are more prone to obesity. Talking about the pet Hedgehogs, need good quality hedgehog food and wild hedgehogs eat small mammals and insects.

As the BVA journal suggests, they are omnivores and usually eat insects like mealworms and crickets and other fruits and veggies. Moreover, you can also give them veggies and fruits to eat.


Every potential owner wishes to have a pet hedgehog with the best life expectancy. However, a lot of them feel that the natural and genetic components are out of anyone’s control.

However, the choice of breeder plays a big role in getting an African Pygmy Hedgehog with good genetic capabilities. Good genes form a strong foundation for the hedgehog’s capabilities to live a healthy and long life.


Although the African Pygmy Hedgehog is small, it needs a big cage that allows it to run around and play. If the cage has a wired floor, the hedgehog’s feet can get entangled. Hence, go for a solid floor. Moreover, also add various levels so that it can climb.

Place the cage in a warm area where it can see both day and night. Also, tunnels and mazes can help the Hedgehog be mentally stimulated.


Just like us, food quality plays an important role in the lifespan of the African Pygmy Hedgehog. If your pet hedgehog is not getting the essential nutrients and vitamins from the food, there are various problems that can happen. Here are the common problems that the African Pygmy Hedgehog can face:

  • Weak immune system
  • Developmental problems
  • Diet-related illnesses

Proper Conditions

You must keep the African Pygmy Hedgehog in a good condition. As hedgehogs are light sleepers, they may not like your late-night activities. If you have kids, they may want to play with a hedgehog and hold it, which is not advisable because of the potential for injury.

Amount of exercise

The African Pygmy Hedgehog is very active and needs a lot of exercises to live. Its lifespan is very much influenced by the amount of exercise it gets on a day-to-day basis. It not only helps the hedgehog to stay fit physically but also mentally.


Regular checkups are a must to keep your hedgehog healthy. There are a few common ailments that the hedgehog can suffer. This includes obesity, ringworm, cancer, heart disease, and ear infection. Therefore, they need regular checkups and immediate vet care if anything goes wrong.


Stress adversely impacts the lifespan of African Pygmy Hedgehogs. If your pet is regularly grumpy, nervous, or upset this will cause problems in the future.

Therefore, you need to keep an eye on the mood of your pet to ensure that it is happy. If you find anything unusual, it is better to figure it out and get it fixed as soon as possible.


You cannot do anything about it. However, you can only take care of your pet to improve its condition. African Pygmy Hedgehog can develop sickness and it is not much you can do about it. This is the only factor that adds randomness to the equation. Here are a few most common diseases that the African Pygmy Hedgehog can suffer from –

  • Eye injuries
  • Dental problems
  • Obesity
  • Wobbly hedgehog syndrome
  • Skin infections
  • Mange

How Do You Know When Your Hedgehog Is Dying?

For any creature to live a good life, a balanced diet, medicine, and a good environment are important. The African Pygmy hedgehog is the one who hides its illness which can be harmful in the long run. It can die due to various diseases like cancer, heart attack, etc. Hence, you must look for symptoms like lumps, changes in habits, and weight loss.

It is very difficult to identify or diagnose illness in these small creatures because they can easily hide it. You must take your pet to the vet if you find something unusual in their body or behaviour. The most common symptoms include slow breathing, lack of energy, lying flat on the belly, and weight loss.

You should take your pet hedgehog for routine checkups to keep them healthy and away from every disease. You can just give medicines to the dying hedgehog that can relieve his pain.

Provide easily digestible food so that the pet can get sufficient energy to stay alive at least. Moreover, keeping him hydrated, is very important. If he is not drinking water by himself, you need to make him drink water with the help of a syringe.

Illness such as tumours, obesity, and cancer usually kills African Pygmy Hedgehogs. However, early diagnosis gives you a chance to save them. Heart problems or heart attacks can also cause death. Therefore, it is very important to take your pet to the vet clinic for regular checkups.

African Pygmy Hedgehog age Comparison Chart with Humans

African Pygmy Hedgehog age Equivalent in Human age
2 m 10 y
6 m 20 y
14 m 30 y
3 y 40 y
3 y 6 m 50 y
3 y 8 m 60 y
4 y 2 m 70 y
5 y 4 m 80 y
6 y 2 m 90 y
7 y 8 m 100 y

Final words

African Pygmy Hedgehogs are similar to other pets. The only significant thing is that they need extra attention from you. Feed your pet well and it will be healthy for months. Additionally, attention and vet care are also a necessity for every African Pygmy Hedgehog to live a healthy life.

Also, understand this, not all vets can be familiar with this creature’s needs. Hence, go for the vet who knows how to inspect and treat the hedgehogs. In my opinion, I would suggest not bringing an African Pygmy Hedgehog home. This is because they sustain very well in their natural environment itself.

I hope you enjoyed the article. I will be back soon with more informative and interesting pieces of writing. Till then, stay connected. Thank you.

Frequently asked question

Is a pygmy hedgehog a good pet?

A hedgehog is a good creature but not a suitable pet. It is solitary, and nocturnal in nature. This means the hedgehog is active at night. Its complex needs can only be met in natural surroundings. Still, many humans do keep them as pets.

Are African pygmy hedgehogs cuddly?

African Pygmy Hedgehogs are not cuddly at all. This is also because of their nocturnal nature. They are active at night when you are sleeping. And when you wake up, they usually are in a sweet sleep. Hence, they are not for people who want a cuddly and hands-on pet to hang out with in the daytime.