Hedgehogs Features and Characteristics
They could not see properly which is why they rely on other senses like hearing, touch, and smell. However, hedgehogs are distinguishable by their blunt spines that serve as a protection against potential predators.
Hedgehogs often roll up into a tight ball to protect themselves. As they feel threatened, they make their muscles active which indeed cause their spines to grow straight. It is the only mammal native to Britain that has spines.
Hedgehogs have relatively short tails but some species have a fairly long tails. The Madagascar hedgehog is one of them for it has a tail which is 1.5 to 2.6 times longer than its body. It is one of the few mammals with longest tails, second only to the pangolin.
Hedgehog Facts For Kids
Hedgehogs are extremely shy mammals.
Like other insectivores, hedgehogs like to live alone as they are highly solitary animals. They have fairly limited social life but they do gather around with the arrival of breeding season in order to raise their offspring. In the breeding season, hedgehogs establish their territories.
While adult hedgehogs produce ‘hissing sound’ when they feel threatened the young usually make quacks or whistles.
Those animals living in colder climates go into hibernation in the winter season whereas desert-dwellers likely to hibernate in the hot weather.
They find some holes or abandoned tunnels in deep forests under branches, leaves, roots, of plants, and stems where they could spend their time.
Hedgehogs are largely nocturnal species as they are least likely to come out during the day. During day, they spend a considerable amount of time sleeping in rocks, grounds, or in bush.
Hedgehogs fancy eating animal-based diet including reptiles, snails, worms, and ground-nesting birds’ eggs. Sometimes they also feed on green vegetables, plants, fruits, seeds, and nuts.
Where do Hedgehogs Live?
Hedgehogs prefer moist habitats and because they are terrestrial animals they live either on the ground or under the ground. They make habitats in farmlands, gardens, or even in parks. They live in habitats where ground-dwelling insects and other invertebrates are in large quantity.
They are introduced in New Zealand and Australia and not a single hedgehog specie is native to Australia. Although they occupy much of East Africa, hedgehogs predominantly exist in Suburban Nairobi, West Africa, Central Africa, Kenya, Zambia, and Tanzania.
The average size of the litter is 3 to 4 babies after a gestation period of 35 – 58 days. The mortality rate is high as the adults sometimes kill their young in their infancy. The newborns are blind at birth.
Interesting Hedgehog Facts for Kids
How many Species of Hedgehogs are there?
There are 17 species of hedgehogs
How long do hedgehogs live?
In captivity they can live up to 10 years. The lifespan in the wild is 4 to 7 years.
They have a home range of 120 yards from the nest.
Quills on hedgehogs
There are around 6,000 quills on its body.
The size of these mammals is almost equal to the tea cup. The head-and-body length measures around 13 – 30 cm (5 – 12 inches), with the weight measuring at 3 – 5 cm (1 – 2 inch).
Hedgehogs weigh around 397 to 1,106 grams (14 to 39 oz).
These mammals often fall prey to large birds of prey especially European Eagle Owl.
They are Least Concern (LC) on the IUCN Red List.