Wild Fact #734 – The Truth Behind Sonic – Hedgehog

Photo by: Jörg Hempel

My nieces birthday is coming up later this week and her parents just finished giving her an early birthday present.  Believe it or not they got her a cute, little Hedgehog, although I think the parents wanted one just as much! As you may have guessed (or by reading the title) today’s post is of course about the Hedgehog. Now if you are like me than the first thing you think of is Sonic the Hedgehog which of course was a popular game for Sega. Is Sega still around? Anyway a real Hedgehog is not blue but it does have quills and it can curl up into a ball just like on the game.

There are actually 15 species of Hedgehog that can be found in Europe, Asia and Africa. Similarly they have also been introduced to places such as New Zealand. For the record the one my little niece received as an early birthday present is most likely the African Pygmy Hedgehog since they are most commonly used for pets.  As with most animals there is usually a reason for the animals name.  The Hedgehog is no different and received this name by their unique foraging behaviour. When this particular animal looks for food they stuff their heads down below the hedges and undergrowth while rooting around for insects, worms, mice, snails and of course frogs. While scurrying around underneath the hedges they would often make pig-like noises so they became known as “Hedgehogs”.  It all makes sense now, doesn’t it?

Photo by: Lars Karlsson

One of the first things you notice about the Hedgehog is their coat of spines which they use to protect themselves from predators.  When threatened they will often curl up in a ball leaving very few body parts unprotected.  As well, during the day they will usually sleep while curled up before venturing out to play at night.  Personally I prefer to sleep on my stomach cuddling my pillow but that is just me.

The Hedgehog will usually give birth to a litter from one to eleven baby Hedgehogs.  Keeping this litter alive is a difficult job for the mother even though the babies only stick around for 4 to 7 weeks before heading out on their own.  During this time the mother must be on guard for all types of predators including male hedgehogs which will often try to eat her young.  I guess these guys never truly got their paternal instinct.  Even crazier is the fact that mother has also been known to eat her cute little babies if the nest has been disturbed.  Normally, she would just move them to a new nest but strange things do happen.  I don’t see how anything could ever harm such a cute animal.

Hedgehog Fast Facts – If the Hedgehog is living in an area with cold climates than they will typically hibernate for the winter.  On the other hand if they live in the harsh deserts than they will also sleep through extreme heat and drought but this process isn’t quite the same as hibernation.  Finally the Hedgehogs hanging out in the temperate climate will remain active all year.

Well that is it for today’s pet.  I hope you all enjoyed learning about Sonic and I will see you all here tomorrow for another fun and exciting Wild Fact.

2 Responses

  1. Joan 7 years ago
    • Nathan Nathan 7 years ago

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