Animal of the Month
Ten Things You Should Know About Hedgehogs
- Hedgehogs roll up in a ball to protect themselves. Their feet, face and tail are tucked inside, and their prickly hollow hairs — called “spines” — face outward and deter most predators from attacking.
- A baby hedgehog is called a hoglet.
- Hedgehogs are nocturnal animals, which means they sleep during the day and are awake at night.
- Hedgehogs hibernate during the winter but wake up on warm days to drink water and eat. They roll themselves into a ball and make a nest using dry leaves to keep warm.
- There are 5,000 to 7,000 spines on the average adult hedgehog!
- Hedgehogs can make their spines even more protective by chewing on the leaves of poisonous plants, making a frothy liquid in their mouths and applying the poisonous paste by licking their spines.
- Hedgehogs communicate by grunting, snorting and snuffling. They hiss when threatened.
- In the UK, a hedgehog’s main predator is the badger, but cars, lawnmowers, pesticides and chemicals also pose a threat to hedgehogs. Thoroughly search bonfire areas before lighting fires, as hedgehogs like to crawl into these cosy spots.
- Hedgehogs have poor eyesight but an excellent sense of hearing.
- During hibernation, hedgehogs’ heartbeats drop from 190 beats per minutes to 20 beats per minute and their body temperatures drop to around 10 degrees. Many hedgehogs die during the winter months.