Brandt’s Hedgehog (Paraechinus hypomelas)


Hedgehog Emerging from Hibernation

Brandt’s hedgehog, scientifically known as Paraechinus hypomelas, is a fascinating species of desert hedgehog native to the arid regions of the Middle East and Central Asia. This small mammal is characterized by its spiny coat, which protects against predators in its harsh desert habitat. The species is named after Johann Friedrich von Brandt, a prominent figure in the field of zoology, who first described it.


Brandt’s hedgehog possesses unique physical characteristics that distinguish it from other hedgehog species. It is typically small in size, with a compact body covered in sharp spines, which provide defense against potential threats. The spines are interspersed with soft fur, giving the hedgehog a distinctive appearance. Its large ears and dark, beady eyes contribute to its endearing yet resilient visage.


Hedgehog pouting among autumn leaves

Brandt’s hedgehog is primarily found in specific Middle East and Central Asia regions, including parts of Iran, Afghanistan, and Pakistan. It may also inhabit areas of Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. The species demonstrates an affinity for arid desert environments, where it has adapted to thrive in the challenging conditions presented by these regions.

Habitat Preferences

Brandt’s hedgehog is well-suited to desert ecosystems, where it seeks refuge in caves during the day and emerges at night to forage for food. These hedgehogs are adept at navigating the sandy terrain and rocky outcrops characteristic of their habitat. Their ability to survive in such harsh environments highlights their resilience and adaptability to arid conditions.

By understanding Brandt’s hedgehog’s unique characteristics, distribution, and habitat preferences, conservation efforts can be tailored to ensure the preservation of this remarkable species and its crucial role within its ecosystem.

Facts About Brandt’s hedgehog

  • Brandt’s hedgehog (Paraechinus hypomelas) is approximately the size of the West European hedgehog, weighing about 500–1,000 g and measuring around 25 cm in length.
  • This species has distinctively large ears compared to other hedgehog species.
  • Brandt’s hedgehog is native to parts of the Middle East and Central Asia, including Iran, Afghanistan, and Turkmenistan.
  • They are commonly found in deserts, desert steppes, and other arid habitats.
  • Brandt’s hedgehog mostly occupies mountainous rocky steppes and open arid habitats in its native range.
  • The morphology of Brandt’s hedgehog reflects the isolation history of Persian Gulf islands, which has implications for taxonomy.
  • The diet of Brandt’s hedgehog typically consists of insects, small vertebrates, and plant matter.
    This species may face threats from habitat loss and fragmentation due to human activities and urbanization.
  • Brandt’s hedgehog is known to have interactions with other species, such as the common sheep tick (Ixodes ricinus).
  • Studies have been conducted to analyze the variation in the morphology of Brandt’s hedgehogs, providing valuable insights into their characteristics and evolutionary history.

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