How’d the Hedgehog Get Its Name?

There are 15 species of hedgehogs in the world. Each species is similar, but they each have small characteristics and habitual differences. The typical body length of a hedgehog is 5 to 12 inches long and the average length of the tail is 1-2 inches. They weigh about 1-2 pounds. The hedgehog has quite a unique name, but how did it get such a name. It got its name because of its unique foraging methods. In a typical night of foraging, they can travel up to two miles! They will root through hedges looking for insects, small mice, and other common garden pests. As a hedgehog roots its way through the hedges, it will make pig-like grunting sounds, therefore it was named the hedgehog.

The hedgehog not only has a unique name, but it also has many unique characteristics. Although hedgehogs have large eyes, they have weak eyesight. They rely upon their sense of hearing and smelling to hunt. They have a long snout to help them forage for their diet of insects and worms. The body of a hedgehog is covered in spines except for the underside, legs, face, and ears. Their coats are made of about 5000 to 7000 stiff, sharp spines. If they feel threatened, they will curl into a prickly ball to scare off their predators. Hedgehogs are nocturnal and they will also sleep in the curled up position during the day and then search for food during the night.

Hedgehogs are solitary animals, but if you do happen to find a large gathering of hedgehogs, it is called an array. They will typically only couple for mating. Baby hedgehogs are called hoglets and they are usually born in litters of four to seven. Hoglets are born with spines, but at the time of birth their skin is swollen and covers their spines so that they do not injure the mother during birthing. The swelling decreases over a few days and the spines are revealed and others will begin to grow in. They will remain in the nest until they are about three weeks. At that time, their eyes are open and their spines are effective so they can begin to venture outside the nest with their mother to look for food. At about the age of four to seven weeks old, they will begin to adventure without their mother. Although hedgehogs will stay on the ground for majority of the time, they can swim fairly well and even can climb trees! Hedgehogs are certainly a unique animal!