by kathy roche
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Though hedgehogs mainly stay on the ground, they swim quite well
and even climb trees. If one is up in a tree and wants to get down
quickly—or falls—its spines come in handy once again. When the
hedgehog hits the ground, it bounces, unhurt, because of the
Tops on the hedgehog's menu are insects, followed by small
mice, snails, lizards, frogs, eggs, and even snakes. When a
hedgehog goes after a snake to eat, its spines act as a shield
against the reptile's bites.
The scientific name for the genus that includes
the three species of Eurasian hedgehogs is
The hedgehog family's scientific name is
Erinaceidae, and it includes hedgehogs and
Even if a bold predator does stop to investigate a
rolled-up hedgehog, it's usually unsuccessful at prying
the hedgehog open. Most predators move past the
hedgehog to look for easier prey.
INS to insert (Windows)
TAB to insert (Mac OS)
ENTER to add siblings
DEL to delete
If a fox, badger, or other predator
approaches, a hedgehog rolls up
Everyone is sure to know what a Hedgehog looks like. The animal is
almost totally covered in 25mm (1") long spines (Which are really
modified hairs). These are absent from the chest, belly, throat and
legs which are covered with a coarse, grey-brown fur. There are
approximately 5,000/7,000 spines on an average adult Hedgehog
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Hedgehogs have prickly spines
everywhere except on their face, legs,
extra protection to
their spines by
Immune to poisons
in some plants,
those plants and
then make a
frothy saliva in
Sometimes people keep hedgehogs as pets. Captive hedgehogs will eat household and garden pests (that's insect pests... not little brothers or sisters)!
The normal lifespan of a hedgehog is about seven years.
If you want to attract wildlife to your garden, leave wild areas and avoid 'tidying up'
too much. Hedgehogs tend to hibernate between November and mid March and may
choose the stack of leaves or branches in your garden. For this reason if you have to
get rid of such material, move it to a different spot before setting fire to it: a
Hedgehog may be sheltering or hibernating in it. They like to nest under things (e.g.
sheds, hedges and brushwoods) and need plenty of dry leaves to build their nest.