Amazing Things About Hedgehogs

There’s a lot hiding inside the spiky exterior of a hedgehog. In fact, they are actually pretty entertaining animals. Like many other small animals, they like to run through tunnels and explore mazes. As well as physical activity, this also provides them with some mental stimulation. Their diet includes live insects like snails, crickets and mealworms. These are usually found under hedges, leading to the first part of their namesake. While searching for their favorite treats, they often emit pig-like grunts (aka hog-like), thus hedge-hog. This diet of insects tends to make them a gardener’s friend since they keep the pests away from vegetation growth.

A beautiful young hedgehog sitting on a soft tree stump in the morning

Getty Images / Moment / Supakrit Tirayasupasin

 

Hedgehogs are generally quite solitary creatures, they leave their mothers after four to seven weeks, and with the exception of pairing up to mate, they spend their entire lives alone. If however, you do manage to catch a group of hedgehogs together, it is called an ‘array of hedgehogs’. Don’t be fooled by their nocturnal habits, or the fact that in some climates they hibernate through winter. Hedgehogs have built-in protection. They have between 5000 and 7000 quills on their back, and when they sleep, they will curl into a ball, thus protecting their most vulnerable area. In addition to fending off predators, hedgehogs are also naturally immune to snake venom.

They are not completely indestructible though, these little buddies are also lactose intolerant. Therefore water is preferred to milk when feeding your little pet. Hedgehogs also have a unique self-anointing behavior ritual. When they are exposed to pungent smells or tastes, they tend to lick themselves like a cat, and rub a frothy saliva mixture on their skin and spines. There is no known reason why, but scientists think it’s to make themselves more poisonous to predators. Yet another amazing safety mechanism to keep themselves safe.