Facts about hedgehogs

Facts about hedgehogs
  1. Food: Hedgehogs feed primarily on insects, worms, snails, mice, frogs and snakes
  2. Snake venom: Like mice and moles, hedgehogs are to some extent immune to snake venom. However, hedgehogs can still die from a snake bite from a snake, for example, as they only have small amounts of antibody (the protein ‘erinacin’)
  3. Garden owners: Hedgehogs are beloved by gardeners because they eat many of the “pests” that make gardening difficult. If you want to attract hedgehogs to your garden, you can try putting out dog food or cat food
  4. Nocturnal animals: Hedgehogs are most active at night and in the early morning hours. They usually spend most of the day in their nests, which are typically found under bushes or dense shrubbery
  5. Species: There are 17 hedgehog species, which are divided into 5 genera. All hedgehog species originate from Europe, Asia, Africa and New Zealand (i.e. all hedgehogs in America and Australia are introduced)
  6. Illegal hedgehogs: In several North American states, it is illegal to keep hedgehogs as pets because they are considered wild animals
  7. Hedgehog fleas: Hedgehogs have their own fleas; hedgehog fleas (Archaepsylla erinacei). Hedgehog fleas live exclusively on hedgehogs and in hedgehog nests
  8. Senses: Hedgehogs have night vision, but when hunting, they primarily use their sense of smell and hearing
  9. Hedgehogs in parliament: In New Zealand, the McGillicuddy Serious Party attempted to elect a hedgehog to parliament. This was in the wake of a goat being elected in a local election on Waiheke Island
  10. Predator: Hedgehog predators include: badgers, owls, crows, rooks, foxes, martens, ferrets, mink, otters and dogs. In addition, mice and rats can also eat hibernating hedgehogs. Blowflies can also lay eggs on the hedgehogs, which after about 1 day develop into maggots that eat the live hedgehog
Fact: Baby hedgehogs are born in litters of 1 - 11
Attribution: idalingi – Flickr.com

Fact: A hedgehog litter can consist of between 1 and 11 young (but typically 3-6). Baby hedgehogs develop “baby spines” after 1 day and “adult spines” after approx. 6 weeks


Facts about hedgehog quills

  • Number: A hedgehog has around 5,000-7,000 spines. Each spine falls out after about 1 year and is replaced by a new emerging spine
  • Poison: Hedgehog quills are not poisonous and do not have barbs
  • Press: Each spike is hollow and spring-like and can be raised using the hedgehog’s muscles. At the bottom of each spike is a small ball that bends the spike and reduces the pressure on the hedgehog on impact
  • Defense: When hedgehogs feel threatened or frightened, they roll up into a small ball, hiding their vulnerable abdomen and surrounding them with their characteristic spines


About baby hedgehogs

  • Hoglets: Baby hedgehogs are also called “hoglets”
  • Kuld: A hedgehog litter can consist of 1 – 11 young (but typically 3 – 6), which remain with the mother for 4 – 11 weeks after birth. At birth, the young are blind and naked. After about 1 day, white “baby spines” begin to develop and only after about 6 weeks do they develop “adult spines”. The young suckle with their mother until they can hunt for themselves
  • Threats: Threats to young hedgehogs include alien male hedgehogs that may eat their young conspecifics. In cases where the mother hedgehog is disturbed, she may also eat her young
  • Birth: Baby hedgehogs are typically born in early August after 35-58 days of gestation. Litters born late – in September, for example – typically do not survive the winter
Fact: Hedgehogs curl up into a ball when they feel threatened
Attribution: harry22 – Pixabay.com

Fact: When hedgehogs feel threatened, they roll up into a ball to protect their vulnerable stomachs


More facts about hedgehogs

  • Single animals: Hedgehogs are solitary animals that usually only come together in pairs when they need to mate. The mating process can be long and noisy. After mating is complete, they separate. The male hedgehog does not participate in raising the young hedgehogs
  • Age: Hedgehogs have a relatively long lifespan for their size. Larger hedgehog species typically live 4-7 years in the wild, while smaller species live 2-4 years. The oldest documented hedgehogs have lived up to 16 years. In captivity, hedgehogs can live 8-10 years due to a controlled diet and absence of predators
  • Surroundings: Hedgehogs living in cold climates hibernate in winter. In warmer climates – such as deserts – they sleep through the hottest and driest periods in a state very similar to hibernation. In more temperate climates, they remain active throughout the year