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What is cute, comes in a variety of colors, and prickly all over?

June 10, 2016

Hedgehogs

Hedgehogs are mammals that have been around for millions of years. These adorable animals naturally live through most of Africa and in southern Europe. They are primarily insectivores and are nocturnal, spend most of the day sleeping and become active at dusk.

 

A hedgehog’s most distinctive trait is their quills. Their quills are sharp hollow hairs that are used as a defense. When threatened, a hedgehog is able to curl up into a ball with its quills extended. The quills usually have white tips with brown bands and act as camouflage. Other color variations can be brown, black, cream, gray, and even albino.

 

The African pygmy hedgehog is the most common type sold as pets. They grow to be around six to nine inches long. With a average lifespan of four to six years, a pet hedgehog can live up to ten years. They are solitary animals and enjoy living alone.


Hedgehogs can be very active animals, fun to watch, quiet, not aggressive, and is fairly easy to care for. It is a clean animal and has very little smell. A hedgehog can be a wonderful addition for someone who wants a unique and entertaining pet.

 

Fun Facts About Hedgehogs 

  • The hedgehog got its name because of its peculiar foraging habits. They root through hedges and other undergrowth in search of their favorite food. As it moves through the hedges it emits pig-like grunts — thus, the name hedgehog.
     

  • A group of hedgehogs is called an “array”. But it doesn't come up much, since hedgehogs are solitary creatures who usually come together only to mate.
     

  • Hedgehogs are illegal in Maine, Arizona, California, Georgia, Pennsylvania, Hawaii, and New York City.
     

  • Hedgehogs have between 5000 and 7000 quills.
     

  • There are 17 different species of hedgehog.
     

  • Hedgehogs rely on hearing and smell because they have very poor eyesight.
     

  • Unlike porcupine quills, hedgehog spikes are not barbed, and they're not poisonous.
     

  • Hedgehogs are largely immune to snake venom.
     

  • When exposed to strong or unusual smells or tastes, hedgehogs exhibit a behavior called “self-anointing” in which they rub frothy saliva on their quills.
     

  • A baby hedgehog is called a hoglet.
     

  • A hedgehog can run over six feet per second.

 

Please post any fun facts you know or have learned about your hedgehog.

 

 

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