The Facts

  • Genus/Species: Erinaceus europaeus

  • Conservation Status: Least Concern

  • Location: Europe, Asia, Africa and New Zealand


The Scoop

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.

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.

Did You Know?

  • The hedgehog gets its name from the pig-like grunts it emits while foraging through hedges and undergrowth.

  • There are approximately 6,000 quills on a hedgehog.

  • Hedgehogs are around 7 to 9 inches long, and weigh 1 to 2 pounds.

  •  The average hedgehog lifespan is around 2-5 years.

  • Hedgehogs shed their baby quills, and grow adult spines in a process called “quilling.”

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