Facts About Hedgehogs



9 Questions

What is the scientific family name of the hedgehog?

What is the primary food source of hedgehogs?

What is the average lifespan of a larger species of hedgehog in the wild?

What is the purpose of anointing behavior in hedgehogs?

What is the primary reason hedgehogs are illegal to own as pets in some US states and Canadian municipalities?

What is the primary method of self-defense used by hedgehogs?

What damage do hedgehogs cause in areas where they have been introduced?

What is the primary method of communication used by hedgehogs?

What is the commonality between hedgehogs and shrews?


Facts about Hedgehogs

  • Hedgehogs are small spiny mammals that are part of the subfamily Erinaceinae in the eulipotyphlan family Erinaceidae.
  • There are 17 species of hedgehogs in five genera found throughout parts of Europe, Asia, and Africa, and in New Zealand by introduction.
  • Hedgehogs share distant ancestry with shrews, with gymnures possibly being the intermediate link, and they have changed little over the last fifteen million years.
  • Hedgehogs are easily recognized by their spines, which are hollow hairs made stiff with keratin and are not poisonous or barbed.
  • Hedgehogs can roll into a tight ball in self-defense, causing all of the spines to point outwards to protect their tucked face, feet, and belly.
  • Hedgehogs are primarily nocturnal, though some species can also be active during the day, and they sleep for a large portion of the day under bushes, grasses, rocks, or most commonly in dens dug in the ground.
  • Hedgehogs communicate through a combination of grunts, snuffles, and/or squeals, and they occasionally perform a ritual called anointing.
  • Hedgehogs are omnivorous and feed on insects, snails, frogs and toads, snakes, bird eggs, carrion, mushrooms, grass roots, berries, melons, and watermelons.
  • Hedgehogs have a relatively long lifespan for their size, with larger species living 4–7 years in the wild and smaller species living 2–4 years.
  • Domesticated hedgehogs can get their heads stuck in tubes, and they are illegal to own as pets in some US states and Canadian municipalities.
  • In areas where hedgehogs have been introduced, such as New Zealand and the islands of Scotland, the hedgehog has become a pest, causing immense damage to native species including insects, snails, lizards, and ground-nesting birds.
  • Hedgehogs suffer many diseases common to humans, including cancer, fatty liver disease, and cardiovascular disease.
  • Hedgehogs are a food source in many cultures and are traded throughout Eurasia and Africa for traditional medicine and witchcraft.


Test your knowledge on these small spiny mammals with our "Facts about Hedgehogs" quiz! Discover interesting information about their biology, behavior, and habitat. Learn about their unique defense mechanism and what they eat. Find out how long they live and what diseases they can suffer from. Take the quiz now and become a hedgehog expert!

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