INDEX Physical description Diet Human influence Reproduction Predators
PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION Hedgehogs are easily recognized by their spines. Their spines are not poisonous spines. Normally come out when a hedgehog sheds baby spines and replaces them with adult spines. This is called "quilling". A defense that all species of hedgehogs possess is the ability to roll into a tight ball, causing all of the spines to point outwards.
DIET Although traditionally classified in the now abandoned order insectivora, hedgehogs are not exclusively insectivores but are almost omnivorous. Hedgehogs feed on insects, snails, frogsand toads, snakes, bird eggs, carrion, mushrooms, grass roots, berries, melons and watermelons.
HUMAN INFLUENCE As with most small mammals living around humans, cars pose a great threat to hedgehogs. Many are run over as they attempt to cross roadways. In 2006, McDonalds changed the design of their McFlurry containers to be more hedgehog-friendly.
REPRODUTION Depending on the species, the gestation period is 35–58 days. The average litter is 3–4 newborns for larger species and 5–6 for smaller ones. As with many animals, it is not unusual for an adult male hedgehog to kill newborn males. Hedgehogs have a relatively long lifespan for their size. Larger species of hedgehogs live 4–7 years in the wild (some have been recorded up to 16 years), and smaller species live 2–4 years (4–7 in captivity), compared to a mouse at 2 years and a large rat at 3–5 years. Lack of predators and
PREDATORS Hedgehog bones have been found in the pellets of the European Eagle Owl.