We all know how awesome Sonic the Hedgehog is, but are hedgehogs really THAT fast? To find out, keep reading and learn all about these irresistibly cute--but don’t hug them!--critters.

Hedgehogs are nocturnal foraging animals that dig through hedges, bushes, and underbrush in search of food. As they dig they make little grunting noises, much like the grunting of a pig. That’s why they're called hedgehogs! 

A hedgehog is a spikey mammal of the family Erinaceidae. There are seventeen species of hedgehogs found throughout Europe, Asia, Africa, and New Zealand. Varying from the 5-8 inch long African Pygmy to the 5-pound and 14 inch-long West European Hedgehog.

Baby hedgehogs
Baby hedgehogs

Hedgehogs will get ready to mate around May. Baby hedgehogs called hoglets are usually born in June or July in the UK. A second litter will usually be born around September or October. Each litter is around 4-5 hoglets. 

Hedgehogs are hunted by badgers, foxes, and sometimes big predatory birds. Cats and dogs don’t pose a big threat to hedgehogs but sometimes a dog will attack one or a cat will get curious, but then the spines will usually teach them a lesson! If an animal happens to get stuck with a spine, it will not get poisoned or anything. It's just like being spiked by a rose thorn. 

Small fields growing crops with hedgerows and ponds used to offer great nesting sites, foraging grounds, and food for hedgehogs. These homes to hedgehogs have now been replaced by vast fields, bounded by fences with not a pond in sight. 

hedgehog

 

One of the best ways to help hedgehogs or at least to avoid endangering them is to let them into your garden if you have one by simply cutting a 12cm by 12cm hole at the bottom of your fence. Consider cutting several holes and getting together with your neighbors to make “hedgehog highways'' so hedgehogs can roam more freely. And if you don’t have a garden you can donate money to any hedgehog rescue. More ways to help hedgehogs!

 

Fun facts

  • Did you know the average hedgehog has between 5000 and 7000 quills?
  • In the Middle Ages, hedgehogs were called “urchins,” so you can see where the name “sea urchin” came from!

 

Learn more about hedgehogs

https://www.hedgehogstreet.org/predators/

https://www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/trees-woods-and-wildlife/animals/mammals/hedgehog/

https://homeandroost.co.uk/blog/why-are-hedgehogs-endangered/

https://www.mentalfloss.com/article/56004/16-fun-facts-about-hedgehogs

 

By Calvin, Age 11.

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