The hedgehog is a small spiny mammal with a long thin nose. They are nocturnal creatures, which means that they do their hunting at night. Hedgehogs eat insects and small animals such as frogs. They have a snout and sharp teeth. The name “hedgehog” originated from its frequent appearances around hedgerows and its pig-like snout. Hedgehogs are covered in hollow hairs made of keratin which cannot be easily removed from the skin. The average hedgehog has 5,000 to 6,500 quills. Hedgehogs are also able to roll into a tight ball to defend themselves from attack.
Where do hedgehogs live?
There are 17 species of hedgehog in the world. Hedgehogs can be found throughout Europe, Asia, Africa and New Zealand. However, hedgehogs are not native to New Zealand and were introduced to the country. Hedgehogs are not native to Australia or the Americas, but may be found in zoos or kept as pets in these countries. Only one species of hedgehog lives in Western Europe and this species is called the western European hedgehog. A different species of hedgehog inhabits the area from Berlin into Germany and Eastern Europe known as the Eastern European hedgehog. However, this definition may encompass a number of species as they are very similar in appearance and often mistaken for each other. This species of hedgehog is also found New Zealand. The Desert Hedgehog inhabits Africa and parts of Asia.
The European hedgehog lives in grassed meadows, hedgerows and woodlands. They eat insects and forage for food during the night. Desert hedgehogs live in dry, arid regions which are sandier and have less shade. They have adapted to building burrows and living in caves.