If you’re like me, fascinated by unusual creatures that have the ability to roll around in mud for fun, then you’ll love hedgehogs!
Hedgehogs are interesting in their own right, but there are so many quirky (& awesome) facts that are not widely known.
In this post, we’ll go through some of the most fascinating facts about hedgehogs, from their personality traits to their dietary habits. Ready to learn more!
1. Hedgehogs are nocturnal
Hedgehogs are nocturnal animals. What does this mean? This means they are active at night. This is when they tend to be most active and explore their surroundings.
So you might be thinking “I am an evening person, does this mean I am nocturnal?” and no it doesn’t!
Hedgehogs use their keen eyes and hearing to stay safe while they forage for food. Hedgehogs’ sense of smell is really developed and advanced, which helps them find food and water in the dark.
2. A group of hedgehog is called an array
A group of hedgehogs is called an array. Some believe a group of hedgehogs is called a prickle, which is also not wrong – but “Array” is the word you are looking for here!
3.Their Earliest Relatives Lived About 125 Million Years Ago
Hedgehogs are the earliest known relatives of modern mammals. Over 125 million years ago, they shared a common ancestor with mice, rats, and other small rodents. Today, hedgehogs are widely considered to be microphagous animals – that is, they feed mainly on smaller prey items such as insects or grubs. However, during the early Paleogene period (56-23 million years ago), when their fossil record was first discovered, hedgehogs were probably much more omnivorous than they are today!
4.They Roll Into a Ball to Protect Themselves
Hedgehogs are known for their quills, but did you know that they can also roll into a ball to protect themselves? When hedgehogs feel threatened, they will often tuck their head and legs tightly against their body and curl into a ball. This protective posture makes it difficult for predators to attack or grab the hedgehog.
5.They are lactose intolerant
Hedgehogs are lactose intolerant, just like some of us humans. This means that they can’t fully digest milk and other dairy products, which can cause problems in their diets.
Some of the effects of this intolerance include diarrhoea, stomach pain, and weightloss. If you’re worried about your hedgehog’s diet and want to make sure he is getting the nutrients he needs, you should consult a veterinarian or animal nutritionist.
6.They Are Naturally Immune to Snake Venom
Hedgehogs are naturally immune to snake venom, which is why they are so commonly kept as pets. Snakes can inject their venom into a hedgehog’s eyes, mouth, and other sensitive areas in order to subdue or kill it. However, because hedgehogs have evolved over time to be resistant to snake venom, they are usually able to fight off the poison and survive.
7.They Can Pass Infections to Humans
Yes, hedgehogs can pass infections to humans. In fact, they are some of the most common vectors for spreading various types of viruses and bacteria around homes.
This is because hedgehogs have a very high level of immunity to many different diseases and parasites. They also have a quick temper, so if you scare them (by accident), you might find yourself getting bitten in retaliation.
When this happens, their saliva can contain harmful microorganisms that can enter your body through any open wound on your skin. So if you live with a hedgehog, it’s important to be aware of these risks and take precautions to avoid getting sick.
8. Their scientific/official name is erinaceous
The hedgehog’s scientific name for this animal is erinaceus because it was first identified in Europe (specifically Germany). Despite its popular name, hedgehogs aren’t actually related to pigs – their closest relatives are bears and weasels!
9.They can run as fast as 9.5km/h
Yes, hedgehogs can run as fast as 9.5 kilometers per hour! Hedgehogs have survived for centuries in all sorts of habitats across the world, and their speed and agility shouldn’t come as a surprise. They can easily outrun most other animals, making them perfect candidates for running tests or tracking down prey.
What makes hedgehog running so impressive is not just their top speed, but also their ability to change direction quickly and efficiently. Their short legs provide minimal resistance as they dash through the undergrowth, allowing them to reach incredible speeds very quickly.
10.They are omnivores
Hedgehogs are omnivores. They primarily consume insects and other small animals like slugs and worms, but they will also eat fruits and vegetables if they have access to them – so basically they will eat whatever food they can get.
11.They can hibernate
hedgehogs can hibernate. In fact, they are one of the few animals that is able to do so effectively. During winter, hedgehogs will go into a mild state of hypothermia and enter a deep sleep called torpor. This allows them to conserve energy and survive long periods without food or water.
Hedgehogs will also build nests during winter in which they will rest and conserved their body temperature. When spring arrives, they’ll wake up from their hibernation cycle and start eating again as normal
12.They Don’t All Hibernate
However, not all hedgehogs hibernate. In fact, only about 25% of hedgehog species do so.
So why do so few hedgehogs hibernate?
- There are a number of reasons. Some Hedgehog Species Are Too Nervous To Hibernate
- Some hedgehog species are too nervous to hibernate and will simply die from the cold instead. These species include the American three-toed woodchuck (Inucapion regius) and common pygmy hog (Capricornis pygmaeus).
- Others Lack The Vitality To Survive Out Longer Than A Year
- -Many hedgehog species don’t live very long – typically less than two years – which is not enough time to go through their full winter cycle without risking death from freezing temperatures or starvation.
13.Their spikes are not poisonous
Hedgehog spikes are not poisonous – that’s what many people believe, at least. Hedgehogs use their spines to ward off predators and defend their territory. However, some people have mistaken hedgehog spikes for the toxic protrusions of certain animals (like snakes or spiders), and they have been treated accordingly.
Hedgehog spikes are actually something completely different – they’re modified hairlike quills that function as internal skin sensors and thermal regulators. They help the hedgehog maintain a constant body temperature by dissipating heat through his spines, which can reach up to 100 degrees Celsius!
So next time you see a hedgehog spike, don’t be afraid – it just means he’s defending himself!
14.There are 17 different types of hedgehog
Yes this is true! There are 17 different types of hedgehog out there, each with its own unique features and characteristics. Some examples include the African pygmy Hedgehog (most popular pet type), the Algerian Hedgehog, the European Hedgehog & the Daurian Hedgehog to name a few.
15.They could have up to 7000 spikes on their back
Hedgehogs’ backs are covered in thousands of spikes – between 5,000 and 7,000 to be precise! These spines help the hedgehog stay upright and protect it from predators. Hedgehogs also use these spikes to grasp objects, move through dense vegetation, and balance themselves while foraging.
16.Wild/garden hedgehogs can travel up to 2 miles
Did you know that wild hedgehogs can travel up to 2 miles per day? According to Hedgehog Registry, hedgehogs are also good at climbing trees, walls and fences thanks to their strong claws and long toes. So if you live in an area with lots of trees and shrubs, keep an eye out for these fun-loving animals!
17.Hedgehogs are illegal to own in some countries
Yes, hedgehogs are illegal to own in some countries including Australia, France and Singapore. Even in the US, there are some states that forbid pet hedgehogs, such as California, Hawaii & New York City.
18.They have poor eyesight – they rely on hearing
Hedgehogs have poor eyesight, which is why they rely on their good sense of hearing and smell to find food. Good job that they are nocturnal – they don’t mind the dark!
19.Sea urchins were named after the hedgehog
This is true. Hedgehogs used to be called “urchins” until the 15th century. Sea urchins were named after the “original urchins”, because their spines resemble hedgehog quills. So this basically means sea urchins are Sea hedgehogs…
20. a political party tried to get a hedgehog to parliment in New Zealand
A political party in New Zealand attempted to get a hedgehog to parliament, but it didn’t go well.
The Hedgehog Party submitted an application for the hedgehog, James Shaw, to be elected as a MP. However, the proposal was quickly rejected (quite understandably) due to widespread concerns that he would not be able to properly represent his constituents.
21. there used to be the international hedgehog Olympic games (IHOG)
Yes, there used to be an international hedgehog Olympic games (IHOG)! The IHOG was first held in 2002 and took place every two years. It was a celebration of hedgehog culture and diversity, and featured competitions in many different categories.
22. the word hedgehog was first used in 1450
The word hedgehog was first used in 1450. At the time, it referred to a type of animal known as an Erinaceus europaeus. These animals were originally seen as guardians of fields and gardens, because they would eat any vegetation that grew near the ground. Hence, their common name – hedgehogs.
23.Hedgehog first evolved 15 millions years ago – one of the oldest surviving mammals
Hedgehogs first evolved 15 millions years ago, according to a study published in the Scientific Reports journal. The hedgehog was one of the earliest mammals on Earth and you’ll find them all over the world except for Antarctica.
The hedgehog’s spines helped it survive by protecting it from predators and prey alike. Their quills also help them keep warm during cold weather months.
24.None of the hedgehog species are native to America
There are several hedgehog species that can be found in North America, but none of them are native to the continent. The two most common hedgehog species in North America are the African pygmy hedgehog and the European Hedgehog. Both of these Species were originally brought over as pets, and have since escaped and become established throughout much of North America.
25.they can roll while they are curled up
Hedgehogs can roll while they are curled up. Yes I know, this is pretty cool. They use their body to curl into a tight ball and then push off the ground with their front feet to move forward. Hedgehogs spend a lot of time in this position because it helps them stay hidden from predators and keep warm.