Hedgehogs got their name because in the wild they like to hunt for insects, worms, snails, and frogs in hedges and they make pig-like grunting noises.
There are 17 species of hedgehog. The most common hedgehog kept as a pet is the domesticated four-toed hedgehog or African pygmy hedgehog, scientific name Atelerix albiventris.
In the wild, they can be found in central and eastern Africa, parts of Europe, Asia, and in New Zealand. They were introduced to New Zealand and are considered an invasive species and pest as they have caused damage to native species there. They can be found in many types of environments including deserts, forests, and savannahs.
A nickname for hedgehog is hedgie. A group of hedgehogs is called an array, and a baby hedgehog is called a hoglet or piglet.
Even though they both have quills, hedgehogs and porcupines are not related! Their closest relatives are actually moonrats, shrews, and moles.
Hedgehogs are nocturnal. They are very active and can travel 2 kilometers or more each night.
Their lifespan in captivity is up to 10 years and average may be 4 to 6 years. They are 4 to 6 inches long depending on the species.
Wild hedgehogs in cold climates will hibernate over the winter. Pet hedgehogs should not be allowed to hibernate as they will not be able to enter a true hibernation and may die, so it is extremely important to provide them with enough heat so they don’t attempt to hibernate.
Each hedgehog may have 5,000 to 7,000 quills. They shed their quills about once a year and grow new ones. Quills are made of keratin, which is what our fingernails and hair are made of.
Their quills are used for defense. They curl up into a tight ball to protect their belly, head, tail, and legs.
Hedgehogs have poor eyesight. They rely on their excellent senses of smell and hearing.
If you want a hedgehog for a pet, read this: How to care for a pet hedgehog