Creatures & Critters: Hedgehog Edition
Luna is our African Pygmy Hedgehog. They are native to Africa, Europe, and Asia, but not to Iowa. We got her from a breeder and she was born on October 24, 2019. A full grown hedgehog will grow to be between 6-11 inches long and weigh between 18025 ounces. A fun fact about these hedgehogs is that they will not overeat so their food bowl can be full all the time. They can eat wet cat food, but they also will eat meal worms, dried crickets, beans, peas, apples, and carrots.
Luna is litter box trained and she loves to run on her wheel. She is nocturnal so she can frequently be found buried under her blankets during the day. She also has toys in her cage to play with and a couple of different huts to hide in. She no longer has her eyes because they became infected, but that’s okay because hedgehogs rely on their sense of smell and hearing more. Hedgehogs actually have weak eyesight. This causes them to rely on their sense of hearing and smelling to hunt. They have a long snout that helps them to forage for their diet of insects and worms.
Hedgehogs are covered in spines except for their underside, legs, face, and ears. They have about 5000 to 7000 spines! When they feel threatened, they will curl up into a ball exposing their spines. This helps to scare off their predators. Hedgehogs are usually solitary animals, but they will couple for mating. Baby hedgehogs will stay in their nest for about three weeks after being born. By the time they are three weeks old, their eyes are open and their spines are effective which allows them to venture outside the nest.
Don’t forget to say hi to Luna next time you visit the Nature Center!