The hedgehog, as its name suggests, spends its day
sleeping in hedges or under shrubs. Its prickly spines
provide it with a formidable defense against predators.
A hedgehog is a solitary and nocturnal animal. During the
day it sleeps in a temporary nest from which it emerges as
it grows dark.
The hedgehog hibernates in winter. It feeds as much as
possible during the fall, and in October it builds an
extra-thick nest in which to spend the winter. It prefers
to build its nest in woodpiles, compost piles, and haystacks.
By being inactive during hibernation, the hedgehog is able to
survive on its body fat. On warm days, it may wake up briefly
Hedgehogs mate during April and August. The male may circle
the female for hours before she will mate. After mating, the
two separate; the male takes no part in rearing the young,
which are born 32 days later. Litters born in late September
rarely survive their first winter. Blind until they are 14 days
old, the young are suckled by the mother until they are able to
hunt for themselves. After four weeks, she takes them on their
first foraging trip. The young are independent 10 days later.
FOOD & HUNTING
Hedgehogs hunt at night, searching for earthworms and insects
such as millipedes and earwigs. They also eat beetles,
caterpillars, slugs, and mice.
A hedgehog will also eat dead animals and soft fruit. Much of
the food left outdoors for dogs and cats is eaten by hedgehogs.
The hedgehog is appreciated by many gardeners who depend on it
to keep their gardens free of pests.
HEDGEHOG & MAN
Gamekeepers used to kill hedgehogs because the animals ate
birds' eggs. Today, most hedgehogs that are killed are run
over by cars. Also, hedgehogs often hibernate in piles of
leaves in autumn. If the leaves are burned, the hedgehogs die
in their hidden nests.
Average 25 oz.
April or August.
No. of Young:
Up to 7, but usually 4 to 5.
Nocturnal and solitary.
Caterpillars, beetles, earthworms, slugs, and snails.
Hedgehogs roam 1-2 miles in search of food.
Can live 5-6 years.
Snuffling while foraging. Louder when mating or disturbed.
DID YOU KNOW?
The hedgehog is host to the flea
Up to 500 fleas may be found on a single hedgehog,
but they do not bother man.
When stimulated by certain strong smells or tastes,
the hedgehog may cover its spines with its foamy
saliva; no one knows why.
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