However, there are some other less-common named used for them such as a prickle or an array. If attacked they will curl into a prickly and unappetizing ball that deters most predators. Hedgehogs are divided into five subgroups that include Eurasian hedgehogs (Erinaceus), African hedgehogs (Atelerix and Paraechinus), desert hedgehogs (Hemiechinus), and steppe hedgehogs (Mesechinus). Hedgehogs are for the most part nocturnal mammals. Some species of hedgehogs hibernate for several months during the winter. While on the hunt, they rely upon their senses of hearing and smell because their eyesight is weak. If provoked, hedgehogs usually roll up by contracting the muscles that run along their back and in doing so raise their spines and curl their body and enclosing themselves in a protective ball of spines. They are occasionally active during the day but more often shelter themselves in shrubs, tall vegetation or rock crevices during daylight hours. Hedgehogs have a coat of stiff, sharp spines. Hedgehogs hibernate in cold climates. All rights reserved. Young hedgehogs mature in four to seven weeks after birth. These solitary animals typically couple only for mating. Hedgehogs have a coat of stiff, sharp spines. Featured in tales by Beatrix Potter, the hedgehog retains its popularity in the Sonic the Hedgehog video game. Hedgehogs are well-loved animals and are featured in traditional children's stories and fairy tales. 2020 National Geographic Partners, LLC. There are a total of 17 species of hedgehogs. They are not present in Australia, North America, Central America or South America, though have been introduced to New Zealand as an exotic species. They also feed on plant materials such as grass, roots, and berries. If attacked they will curl into a prickly and unappetizing ball that deters most predators. © 1996-2015 National Geographic Society, © 2015- Hedgehogs (Erinaceidae) are a group of insectivores that are native to parts of Europe, Asia, and Africa. Hedgehogs have a coat of stiff, sharp spines. Fascinating Arctic Fox Facts (Vulpes lagopus), www.bbc.com/earth/story/20150818-living-with-hedgehogs, www.nationalgeographic.com/animals/mammals/h/hedgehog/, M.S., Applied Ecology, Indiana University Bloomington, B.S., Biology and Chemistry, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. These include cancer, fatty liver disease, and cardiovascular disease. Young hedgehogs are born with spines that are shed and replaced with larger stronger spines when they mature. Among the predators females must guard against during this period are other male hedgehogs, which will sometimes prey upon the young of their species. Each year, hedgehogs can raise as many as three litters of young with as many as 11 babies. Laura Klappenbach, M.S., is a science writer specializing in ecology, biology, and wildlife. Hedgehogs construct burrows or use those dug by other mammals such as rabbits and foxes. Hedgehog mothers have also been known to eat their young if the nest is disturbed, though they sometimes simply move them to a new nest. Hedgehogs are small mammals with rotund bodies and distinct spines made of keratin. Some people consider hedgehogs useful pets because they prey on many common garden pests. They usually sleep in this position during the day and awaken to search for food at night. If attacked they will curl into a prickly and unappetizing ball that deters most predators. Hedgehogs are born blind and gestation lasts up to 42 days. In deserts, they sleep through heat and drought in a similar process called aestivation. Their belly, legs, face, and ears are free of spines. They have poor vision despite their large eyes but they have a keen sense of hearing and smell, and they use their sharper senses of smell and hearing to help them locate prey. Hedgehog spines resemble those of a porcupine but they are not easily lost and are only shed and replaced when young hedgehogs reach adulthood or when a hedgehog is unwell or stressed. The spines are cream-colored and have brown and black bands on them. When threatened, hedgehogs crouch and hiss but they are better known for their defensive tactics than their might. Although they belong to the group of mammals formerly known as the insectivores, hedgehogs eat a varied diet that includes more than just insects. Hedgehog species include: Hedgehogs are listed as of Least Concern, as there are large populations of hedgehogs around the world. They make nests underground in burrow chambers that they line with plant material. Hedgehogs are generally solitary animals that spend time with one another only during mating season and when rearing young. Hedgehogs suffer many diseases common to humans.
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