Genes of the African Pygmy Hedgehog

Genes are inheritable traits that are passed on from parent to their offspring. Each gene is a package that consists of two halves which are called ‘alleles’. Genes can be either dominant or recessive and depending on that, a trait needs either one (dominant) or two (recessive) alleles to become visible.
Hedgehogs with two equal alleles for a gene, are called pure bred or ‘homozygous’. Hedgehogs with two different alleles for a gene are called ‘heterozygous’.

Genetic mutation in hedgehogs

The existing mutations in hedgehogs are still being researched, but the main color mutations are known. They each work in their own way. Colors for as far as we know now, are recessive. But patterns, which can work together with colors, can be either dominant or recessive.  But within those terms, are a lot of other forms of inheritance. We’ll guide you through this as we go through the mutations and their codes.


Color mutations are the base look of hedgehogs. It makes up the color of their nose, quills, mask, skin and eyes. Allthough all researche mutations so far are recessive, there are a few difficut genes within this group.  But we’ll start at the very beginning

A* B* C* D* P* – No mutation visible
If there is no mutation visible, the hedgehog will turn into a color that’s described as the ‘wild type’. Overall, this mutation has only capital letters, since color mutations so far are recessive. In hedgehogs, this color is Dark grey. It has a black eyes, quills and nose and the mask is dark grey with a brown hue.
The asterixes in the genetic code means that we don’t know if the hedgehog might be carrying for recessive mutations. The second allele might be dominant, but might also be recessive. So the asterix says the second allele is unknown and can ony be determined through breeding and watching the outcome.

aa B* C* D* P* – Melanism
The first mutation in hedgehogs, is the melanism mutation. It causes a hedgehog to get fully black quills, mask, eyes, ears, skin and nose. This color is called Black.
The mutation is recessive, but makes a carrier of the gene slightly darker and causes a more grey undertone to the visible color. It almost looks like it’s dominant, because it shines through. Therefore, the gene is also incomplete dominant. But you don’t have to remember that. It still needs two alleles to be visible, it’s just a very stubborn gene.

A* bb C* D* P* – Brown dilute
The brown dilute mutation causes the Black pigment to be less intense, making a hedgehog Brown. They have a dark chocolate to black nose, black eyes, dark brown quills, mid brown mask and mid grey skin.
The gene is autosomal recessive, which means that it needs two alleles to become visible and it doesn’t have any difficulties.

A* B* cc D* P* – Albinism
This mutation causes a total lack pigment, causing a hedgehog to have a bright pink nose and skin, pink translucent eyes and fully white quills and mask. We call this color Albino.
The gene is autosomal recessive and needs two alleles to be visible. It has no difficulties, however there is something interesting going on within this gene.

A* B* C* dd P* – Dilute
The mutation causes all pigment to be less intense, causing a lighter version of the wild type and making the hedgehog Grey. It has a Dark grey to black nose, mid grey mask with a brown hue and Black quills. After fading, the mask becomes almost invisible.
Just like Brown, this mutation is autosomal recessive and has no other difficulties.

A* B* C* D* pp – Pink eyed dilute
Pink Eyed Dilute causes the eyes to lighten to ruby red, but also infects the quills, nose and mask. The main color of this mutation is Cinnicot. It has a liver colored nose and skin, light brown mask with an orange hue and the same counts for the quills. The eyes are ruby red.
The gene is autosomal recessive.

Color name Genetic code Abbreviations
Dark Grey





(Ruby Eyed) Cinnicot

A* B* C* D* P*

aa B* C* D* P*

A* bb C* D* P*

A* B* cc D* P*

A* B* C* dd P*

A* B* C* D* pp