Hedgehogs are spiky mammals that live across Africa, Europe, the Middle East, New Zealand, and Asia. They dig burrows, roll into a tight ball to protect themselves against predators, and make pig-like grunts. Learn all you need to know about hedgehogs with these interesting hedgehog facts for kids.
Hedgehogs are mammals
Mammals are warm-blooded animals, have hair, are born not hatched from eggs, and drink milk from their mothers. Hedgehogs are mammals. There are 17 species of hedgehogs.
- African Pygmy Hedgehog
- Algerian Hedgehogs
- Amu Hedgehogs
- Bare-Bellied Hedgehog
- Brandt’s Hedgehog
- Daurian Hedgehogs
- Desert Hedgehogs
- Egyptian Long-Eared Hedgehog
- European Hedgehogs
- Gaoligong Forest Hedgehog
- Hugh’s Hedgehog
- Indian Hedgehog
- Indian Long-Eared Hedgehog
- Northern White-Breasted Hedgehog
- Southern African Hedgehog
- Southern White-breasted Hedgehog
- Somali Hedgehog
Hedgehogs used to be called urchins. Sea urchins were named after the hedgehog. Their names were changed to hedgehogs because they like to be in garden hedges and sound like hogs.
Variety of colors
Hedgehogs come in many different shades. Hedgehogs can be many shades of brown, black, or even white.
There are 17 species of hedgehogs. All species are between 4 and 12 inches long and weigh between 1 and 3 pounds.
They are spikey
Hedgehogs have between 5,000-7,000 spikes that cover their bodies called quills. They can move their quills up and down. Hedgehog quills act as protection against predators. When a hedgehog feels threatened, it will roll into a ball, and its quills protect them against natural predators.
Porcupines also have quills. A porcupines quills and hedgehog quills are similar but also have many differences.
Porcupine quills are longer. They are 3 inches long, whereas hedgehog quills are only 1 inch.
Hedgehogs have fewer quills. Porcupines have up to 30,000 quills.
Hedgehogs use their quills for protection by rolling into a ball. Porcupines arch their back and hit a predator with their tail, so their quills stick to them.
They are nocturnal
Hedgehogs are primarily nocturnal, meaning they are active at night and sleeping during the day. Sometimes hedgehogs are active during the day, usually after it rains.
Wild Hedgehogs do not live in the United States
Hedgehogs do not live in the wild in the United States. They live in Africa, Asia, Europe, and New Zealand. Hedgehogs live in woodlands, grasslands, meadows, and gardens. They live in areas that have plenty of access to food.
They live in burrows
A burrow is a hole or underground tunnel built by an animal. Hedgehogs live in either a burrow they dug or a nest. Nests are made from leaves, and branches can also be made out of other types of things they find in nature.
Wild hedgehogs are meat-eaters. They eat insects, including caterpillars, earwigs, earthworms, beetles, millipedes, and fly larvae. Hedgehogs eat what’s available; other food choices include frogs, small rodents, or baby birds. They will also eat fruit and other foods from gardens.
Domesticated hedgehogs eat apples, bananas, and berries, they also eat some vegetables. People mainly buy hedgehog food from pet stores.
Hedgehogs cannot see well, but they have excellent hearing and sense of smell.
A baby hedgehog is called a hoglet. A mother hedgehog gives birth to a litter of 4-5 hoglets. Babies stay with their mothers for six weeks.
Hedgehogs are born weighing less than one ounce. They are born blind. Their eyes open when they are 2-3 weeks old.
Baby hedgehogs are born with their quills under the skin. Shortly after birth, they poke through the skin.
There are three species of hedgehog sold as pets. The most popular species is the African pygmy. The African pygmy hedgehog is around 8 inches long and comes in various colors. The average lifespan of a pet hedgehog is 6-8 years. One of the main problems that domesticated hedgehogs face is obesity. Like humans, hedgehogs need exercise. If they can become overweight, it will shorten their lifespan.
Predators include badgers, birds of prey, snakes, wolves, foxes, and ferrets. When they face enemies, they will roll into a little ball, and their prickly spines protect them.
Interesting Hedgehog Facts for Kids
- A group of hedgehogs is called an array.
- The smallest hedgehogs are the African Pygmy Hedgehogs
- Hedgehogs have a long snout that they use for hunting
- Sea urchin get their name from hedgehogs
- Hedgehogs can swim and climb trees
- A male hedgehog is called a boar
- A female hedgehog is called a sow
- Hedgehogs are immune to snake venom and scorpion venom.
- People ate hedgehog meat in Ancient Egypt.