Hedgehog Facts

Hedgehog Facts
Hedgehog is spiny mammal that belongs to the family Erinaceidae. There are 17 different species of hedgehog that are native to Europe, Asia and Africa. Hedgehog inhabits hedgerows, woodlands, gardens, parks and fields. Major threats for the survival of hedgehogs in the wild are habitat loss, lack of food, traffic accidents and accidental poisoning with pesticides. Thanks to all these factors, European hedgehog is classified as endangered in the UK.
Interesting Hedgehog Facts:
Hedgehog can reach 6 to 8 inches in length and 0.5 to 1.25 pounds of weight.
Hedgehog has elongated snout and body covered with 5000 to 6500 quills. Each quill is hard, hollowed hair whose interior consists of numerous air pockets. Unlike the porcupine, hedgehog does not have barbed or poisonous quills that can be easily removed from the body. Hedgehog replaces old quills with new ones each year.
Hedgehog covers its quills with foamy saliva after exposure to strong, unpleasant smell or taste. This behavior is known as self-anointing. Some researchers believe that self-anointing can provide camouflage (blending with the scents in the area that hedgehog inhabits) or serve as a source of potential infection for the predators (when they touch quills).
Hedgehog is active during the night (nocturnal animal). It sleeps during the day usually hidden under the bushes or in the underground den.
Hedgehog has poor eyesight, but excellent senses of hearing and smell which facilitate detection of food.
Hedgehog is an omnivore. Its diet is based on insects, centipedes, mice, slugs, snails, caterpillars, frogs, mushrooms and berries. Just like moles and opossums, hedgehogs are immune to snake venom.
Hedgehog can be often found in the hedges where it produces pig-like grunts while it searches food (hence the name "hedgehog").
Species of hedgehog that inhabit cold areas hibernate during the winter in the nests made of grass and leaves. Fat reserves accumulated in the body during the autumn serve as the major source of energy during this period.
Hedgehog is fast animal, agile climber and good swimmer. When it cannot escape from a danger, hedgehog curls its body into a ball (to protect head, feet and belly) and exposes its quills toward the predator.
Natural enemies of hedgehogs are foxes, ferrets, mongooses and owls.
Hedgehog is a solitary creature.
Mating season of hedgehogs takes place between April and September.
Male circulates around the female to initiate mating and leaves female shortly after the copulation (he doesn't take part in the rearing of the babies).
Pregnancy lasts 35 to 58 days and ends with one to eleven babies known as hoglets. Babies are blind and covered with soft quills at birth. They stay with their mother until the age of 4 to 7 weeks.
Hedgehog can survive 4 to 7 years in the wild.

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