The other day we were out for a drive when mum pulled over and said “Look, there’s a baby hedgehog!”
Sure enough, there was a hedgehog rooting through the leaves looking for food. Hedgehogs eat frogs, insects, worms, snails, mice, and grubs.
Hedgehog is a strange name. Have you ever wondered why it is called that?
Well, the name hedgehog started being used a long time ago in about 1450. The name came about because it can quite often be found rooting about under the ‘hedges’ and it has a nose like a pig, or hog – hence hedgehog.
Hedgehog are mammals which means that they give birth to live young and the babies suckle the mothers milk. They are born with very soft spines. The spines are not poisonous, and as the hedgehog grows the spines fall out and are replaced by others, this is called quilling.
Their spikes are used as a defence mechanism, they have two long muscles in their back which enable them to roll up into a ball if they are scared. This protects their head, feet and tummy, which are not spiky.
They are mainly nocturnal sometimes they can be seen out and about feeding during the day.
Hedgehogs in Europe normally hibernate, which means they find somewhere safe to hide around October/November time, under some stones, wood or under some dried grass for example. Then they drop their body temperature really low and slow their metabolism down and go to sleep, this allows them to energy and helps them survive the winter. They normally come out of hibernation in March/April, but if the weather is mild they come out sooner, like the little one today.
This is the picture mum took of the young hedgehog.
Did you know:
Hedgehogs can live between 4 to 7 years.
The name for a group of hedgehogs is an ‘array.’
Hedgehogs have about 5,000 to 6,500 spines!
A baby hedgehog is called a hoglet.
In Toby’s Tails (Book 1) I met my first hedgehog, whose name was Horace, in the wood. He was getting ready to hibernate, and mum tells me the importance of making sure that bonfires are checked in case hedgehogs have settled down to sleep in them. If you want to know more about my adventures in my first year of puppy-hood you can read them here https://www.amazon.co.uk/Tobys-Tails-Fantasy-Farm-Tales/dp/1514838168/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1488908290&sr=8-1
I hope you have enjoyed learning about hedgehogs, they are very interesting – if a little prickly!
Bye for now…