- The Latin word for hedgehog is Erinaceus and our own British hedgehog is scientifically known as Erinaceus europaeus.
- Hedgehogs have spines (often referred to as prickles) that are really modified hairs. There are approximately 5000 to 7000 spines on an average adult hedgehog.
- Under the prickles the hedgehog has a remarkable system of muscles that are designed to raise and lower its spines.
- Their legs are about 10 cms long (4 inches) and these enable them to run as fast as we can walk.
- What many people do not know is that a hedgehog has a small tail.
- If a young hedgehog survives its early years in the nest and then its first hibernation, it can expect to live for 4 or 5 years.
- Hedgehogs tend to hibernate between November and mid March and may choose a stack of leaves or branches in your garden for its nest.
- The hedgehogs is known as ‘the gardener’s friend’ as it will eat beetles, earthworms, caterpillars, slugs and snails. However, they should not be kept confined in close captivity but regarded as welcome visitors. Slugs and snails contain internal parasites which are passed on to the hedgehog. Hedgehogs choose to eat beetles and caterpillars first and resort to slugs and snails if there is little choice.
Thank you to the British Hedgehog Preservation Society for providing these basic facts about hedgehogs. You can find out more exciting facts about hedgehogs by visiting British Hedgehog Preservation Society.