The African hedgehog (Atelerix albiventris) often known as the African pygmy hedgehog originates from Africa, with a spread spreading by central, west and east Africa.
The African pygmy hedgehog is a small mammal with a pointed muzzle, brief legs and its again and sides are coated in spines which can be between 0.5 and 1.5 cm lengthy. The African hedgehog weighs between 250 g and 600g and is on common about 21 cm lengthy from head to tail. They normally have darkish ears and muzzle and the physique is speckled with gray, brown and white on the again and sides whereas the underparts are white. African hedgehogs can exhibit albinism, with the dearth of pigmentation leading to a completely white colouration and pink eyes. Albinism within the wild is uncommon however is commonly a trait selectively bred for in captive populations.
The African pygmy hedgehog is bred and offered as a pet in locations like North America and the UK. Nonetheless, the species is prohibited all through Australia for numerous causes together with its potential to introduce unique animal ailments and since the species has the flexibility to turn out to be a severe invasive pest in Australia.
The African hedgehog belongs to the Erinaceidae household which incorporates the European hedgehog (Erinaceus eruopaeus) which has established feral populations in New Zealand and a few Scottish islands. As soon as established in a brand new setting, hedgehogs negatively impression native species as a result of their voracious, omnivorous urge for food, affecting bugs, snails, lizards and ground-nesting birds, significantly shore birds, as hedgehogs raid their nests and eat the eggs and chicks.
Hedgehogs even have the potential to significantly harm the Australian financial system as a result of their capability to harbour unique animal ailments corresponding to foot and mouth illness. Different endemic ailments carried by hedgehogs embrace Salmonella, Q fever and Toxoplasmosis that are all able to being transmitted to people.
The African pygmy hedgehog provides delivery to a litter of two to 10 younger, with a median of 5 per litter. The younger are born in a nest and are blind and bare at delivery. The feminine reaches sexual maturity at about one yr of age and on common provides delivery to at least one litter a yr. A wild African hedgehog sometimes lives for 2-3 years whereas a captive hedgehog can reside as much as 10 years.
The importation of the African hedgehog into Australia is prohibited. In Australia the importation of reside animals is managed by the Surroundings Safety and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act), and the Biosecurity Act 2015 (Cth). There are restrictions on the animals that may be imported into Australia. These restrictions have been established as a safeguard to guard Australia towards unique pests and ailments which can be thought of a risk to the Australian setting, financial system and the broader group and to guard endangered species from uncontrolled commerce which might result in inhabitants decline and extinction of endangered species.
The unlawful importation of wildlife usually results in animal cruelty points as a result of efforts made by smugglers to keep away from detection of the animals throughout the importation course of. As a consequence, smuggled animals can undergo stress, dehydration and hunger and plenty of smuggled animals die throughout or on account of the smuggling course of.
As a mirrored image of the biosecurity dangers it presents, the African hedgehog is classed as a Prohibited Dealing underneath the Biosecurity Act 2015. It’s an offence to maintain this species except authorised, for instance underneath the Exhibited Animals Safety Act 1986 or Animal Analysis Act 1985.
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