The Madras hedgehog (Parachinus nudiventris, Horsfield 1851) also known as the bare-bellied hedgehog, is a small-sized insectivorous mammal endemic to the dry scrub forests and grasslands of southeastern India. It is one of the 17 species of hedgehogs found in India. They curl their whole body, covered with spines, into a ball to defend themselves against predators when threatened.
Although locally common in Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh, very little is known about its ecology and population status. Hedgehogs are hunted for medicinal purposes and traded in the illegal pet trade. At the same time, the species face habitat loss due to the collection of fuel wood, logging, agriculture, and urbanization. Madras hedgehog is not a protected species in India and is listed as ‘Least Concern’ by the IUCN.
Due to the lack of awareness about the species, educational programs were held in schools and colleges in Tenkasi, Erode, Nagercoil, Tuticorin, Kanyakumari, and Sivagangai districts of Tamil Nadu from October 2021 to April 2022 to inform people about their ecological role and the threats faced by these species. We also conducted questionnaire surveys to gain firsthand knowledge about the distribution of this species. We hope these activities will help shed light on the conservation of this elusive species.