Hedgehogs are a small mammal with a spiny coat and short legs, able to roll itself into a ball for defense. This little animal can live in many different habitats, from desert to forest and beyond! It got its name because of its weird scavenging habits. In fact, they snuffle through hedges and other undergrowth in search of their favorite food, which is small creatures. Therefore they got the name hedgehog. What a cute animal the hedgehog is Interesting huh?
They still qualify them as wild animals in some cities and states and are not allowed to be kept domestically. These cities include Arizona, California, Georgia, Hawaii, Pennsylvania, and New York City and Washington, D.C. But, in some areas, like Maine, you need permits to own one.
They are actually animals that quite like their own company, so you will rarely see them in a group. In fact, these solitary animals typically couple only for mating.
There are 17 species of hedgehog in 5 generations, found through parts of Europe, Asia, and Africa, and in New Zealand by humans.
Hedgehogs have about 5,000 – 7,000 spines, and each spine lasts about a year then drops out and a replacement grows.
When they are hunting for food, Hedgehogs rely primarily upon their senses of hearing and smell, because their eyesight is weak though their eyes are adapted for night vision.
Hedgehogs live in many different habitats and are insect eaters but appear to be very opportunistic eaters in the wild, eating a wide variety of insects, mollusks (worms and snails) small animals and vegetation, fruits and greens.
Hedgehogs are not poisonous, but when threatened, it raises its quills upright in a crisscross pattern, making its body pointy and sharp.
Hedgehogs have natural immunity against snake venom through the protein in the animal’s muscular system, although it is only available in small amounts, and a viper bite may still be fatal.
Hedgehogs hibernate in cold climates. In fact, in deserts, they sleep through heat and drought in a similar process called aestivation. This little creature is nocturnal, coming out at night and sleep all day, up to 18 hours!
The spiky mammals were called "urchins" throughout the Middle Ages before the more adorable name came into use and thus inspired the name of the similarly spiky sea creatures. However, Baby hedgehogs are still called urchins.
When German settlers got to America and found no hedgehogs, they turned to the similar-enough groundhog for their winter-weather predictions.
One of the Grimm fairy tales is called Hans-my-hedgehog, about a boy who is born half hedgehog. If it’s not your style, you can try another Grimm tale, The Hare and The Hedgehog.