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Gymnures and Hedgehogs: Erinaceidae

Physical Characteristics

Gymnures and hedgehogs are generally small, pointy-snouted animals covered with fur, or in the case of hedgehogs, with spines. Each of their four, short legs ends in a flat, walking foot with five toes. In a few African hedgehogs, the big toe is small or nearly nonexistent (not there).

Overall, this group ranges from 4 to 18 inches (10 to 46 centimeters) in body length plus tails from 0.4 to 12 inches (1 to 30 centimeters), and weighs from 0.5 ounces to 4.4 pounds (15 to 2,000 grams). Most members of this group have bodies about 4 to 6 inches (10 to 15 centimeters) long, and short, sometimes barely noticeable tails. A few, however, have longer tails and larger bodies. For example, the Madagascar hedgehog has a grasping tail that can be more than two times the length of its body. The Malayan moonrat is the largest member of this family. With a body that can reach 16 to 18 inches (41 to 46 centimeters) long and a tail that stretches up to 8 to 12 inches (20 to 30 centimeters) long, this animal can measure more than 2 feet (0.6 meters) long from snout to tail tip and weigh up to 4.4 pounds (2 kilograms).

Additional topics

Animal Life ResourceMammalsGymnures and Hedgehogs: Erinaceidae - Physical Characteristics, Behavior And Reproduction, Gymnures, Hedgehogs, And People, Conservation Status, Western European Hedgehog (erinaceus Europaeus): Species Accounts - GEOGRAPHIC RANGE, HABITAT, DIET