Cape Town - It is mostly active at night, foraging in the bushes for tiny insects and scampering away from predators.
While the spiny hedgehog is a reclusive critter, the animal is becoming a hugely popular pet in South Africa, with breeders banking as much as R5 000 for the exotic animal.
According to the National Council of SPCAs, it’s a “problematic” trend as people in the Western Cape – where the animal cannot be kept without a permit – are driving to Gauteng to skirt around red tape.
Breeders who spoke to the Cape Argus, on condition they remained anonymous, said it was not uncommon for Capetonians to travel to other provinces to buy a litter. One said buyers would often buy breeding pairs with the intention of giving the offspring to friends.
NSPCA Wildlife Protection Unit manager Ainsley Hay said: “They are quite delicate animals but they have become this huge novelty now. We see it often – there are different trends and this one has just boomed.”