The Four-toed Hedgehog (Atelerix albiventris), or African Pygmy Hedgehog, is a small species of hedgehog found throughout much of the south-Saharan African countries, from Senegal and Mauritania in the west, to Sudan in the east, and it has been recorded as far south as Zambia. Populations tend to be scattered between suitable savannah or cropland habitats, avoiding forested areas. The species common name is derived from the number of toes found on it rear feet. Due to its extensive range and stable wild population, the species holds no particular conservation status.
When the Four-toed Hedgehog is introduced to a new or particularly strong smell, it will sometimes do what is referred to as self-anointing. It creates a frothy saliva and spreads it onto its quills in incredible amounts. It is not really understood why it does this, but it is thought to be a defensive action, as hedgehogs have been known to self-anoint with poisonous toads.
This species tends to prefer temperatures between 24 and 30 °C. When it is hotter than that, it tends to find shelter in a burrow and go into a state of estivation, or when it is colder it goes into a state of hibernation in order to conserve energy.
The Four-toed Hedgehog is one of the most popular species of domesticated hedgehog sold in the exotic pet trade. It is bred extensively for color and temperament and is even displayed in competitive hedgehog shows. Lifespan is typically 4-6 years. Due to its energetic nature, many owners provide their hedgehog with a large running wheel. Some measure the distances their pets run every night, and some have claimed that their hedgehogs run upwards of 8 km a night with speed bursts in excess of 16 km/h. When kept in captivity, at more regulated temperatures, this species does not typically display its estivation or hibernation behaviour. Due to the large amount of breeding stock available in captive collections, the Four-toed Hedgehog is rarely imported from the wild any longer. Several US and Canadian localities ban ownership of this species, or require special permits for them. Hedgehogs are generally hardy animals when kept properly, though they may be vulnerable to the growth of tumors as they mature.
Megaplanes. (aeronautical engineers to develop airliners capable of accommodating record numbers of passengers)
Apr 01, 1995; Huge new jetliners carrying 600 to 800 passengers could be flying within a decade. Aeronautical engineers toiling at computer...