About The Hedgehog Program

In 2011, Judith Duinkerken (then Bos) started collecting and caring for African Pygmy Hedgehogs as a hobby and she discovered how little information was available about the care of these special animals. Three years later she had her own forum and website about African Pygmy Hedgehogs and their care and from that moment on she started doing small-scale research into their natural environment and behavior. Over the years it has grown into an international phenomenon and on October 14, 2019, The Hedgehog Program was registered with the Chamber of Commerce as a sole proprietor.

Independent researcher

Basically Judith is someone who has developed herself from her passion as a researcher specialized in hedgehogs. She doesn’t call herself a scientist, she prefers the term ‘researcher’. That keeps the difference between her and someone with an academic background clear. Together with hundreds of breeders and pet owners, she collects information about the animals and analyzes it through various types of software. Recordings are made for field research, which are analyzed using Boris software. The pedigree registration for breeders is used for genetics research into the inheritance of colors and patterns, for this the software of Zooeasy Online is used. For the weight guidelines, Google Forms is used in combination with Microsoft Office Access 2007. These softwares allow research to be conducted on a small budget at a low level and lay a foundation for research on which academics can potentially build further.

In loving memory

The Hedgehog Program grew out of Judith’s promise to her brother Harry to always work with animals. Unfortunately, Harrie passed away unexpectedly a few months on October 14, 2014 from a brain haemorrhage. Her passion has grown over the years into a company after making that promise and that is why Judith registered the company with the Chamber of Commerce on October 14, 2019, five years after the death of her brother. The company therefore focuses on working in the future with research that is carried out non-invasively out of love for the animals.

Future vision

Judith’s future vision within The Hedgehog Program is to enable long-term field research for all existing hedgehog species within their own habitat. That is quite a challenge, because as a non-academic sole proprietorship, The Hedgehog Program must arrange all financing itself without government subsidies. The costs for field research quickly add up, which is why, on the basis of researches, we also work on books and courses in order to free up a budget for the projects. A webshop has also been set up especially for keepers of hedgehogs as pets, with products that have been specially selected and are suitable for these animals in captivity. The physical products are only sent within the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany, but digital products can be purchased worldwide.

Media presentation

Over the years, Judith has regularly made national media with her company. For example, she was in De Telegraaf in December 2016, and a few months later her company was discussed in RTL Boulevard because of a litter with the African Pygmy Hedgehog named after Luuk Ikink. The Hedgehog Program was also mentioned on nu.nl, VROUW, RTV Drenthe, Hoogeveensche Courant and Regionieuws Hoogeveen.

Interested in an article about hedgehogs or tenrecs?

Feel free to contact us at info@hedgehogprogram.com, and she will be happy to discuss the options. Of course with a view to the welfare of the animals.