Hedgehogs are small nocturnal mammals, best known for their coats of stiff, sharp spines. If attacked, they curl into a prickly ball to deter predators, including badgers, foxes, household pets and other male hedgehogs.
- Genus/Species: Erinaceus europaeus
- Location: Europe, Asia, Africa and New Zealand
Hedgehogs are often considered useful pets because they prey on common pests including insects, worms, snails and snakes. They are also known to eat vegetation, fruits and greens. Hedgehogs rely on their senses of hearing and smell while they hunt, because their eyesight is weak. During the day, hedgehogs sleep in their curled up position, and at night, they awaken to search for food.
Hedgehogs hibernate in cold climates, and in deserts, they sleep through the heat in a process called aestivation. They are notoriously solitary animals that only come together for mating. Baby hedgehogs are born in litters of up to eleven, and remain with their mothers for four to seven weeks before heading out on their own.