Hedgehog is a common name for a hedgehog.

NAME IN SCIENCE: Erinaceus europaeus


Carnivore diet

SIZE: 5 to 12 inches for the head and body; 1 to 2 inches for the tail

WEIGHT: 14 to 39 oz.

The hedgehog got its moniker from its unusual foraging habits. Insects, worms, centipedes, snails, mice, frogs, and snakes make up the majority of their diet, and these animals rummage through hedges and other undergrowth in quest of them. As a hedgehog moves through the hedges, it emits piglike grunts, hence the name hedgehog.

Hedgehogs are considered useful pets by some because they prey on several common garden pests. Because their eyesight is poor, they rely on their senses of hearing and smell while hunting.

Hibernation and Defensive Adaptations

Hedgehogs are covered in stiff, spiky spines. When assaulted, they curl into a thorny, unappealing ball, which deters most predators. They normally sleep in this position throughout the day and awaken at night to hunt for food.

In chilly climates, hedgehogs hibernate. They sleep through heat and dryness in deserts, a process known as aestivation. In more temperate areas, they are active all year.


These solitary creatures usually pair together solely for mating. The young born each year, in litters ranging from one to eleven, spend only four to seven weeks with their moms before venturing out on their own. Other male hedgehogs, which will occasionally prey on the young of their species, are among the predators females must watch out for during this period. Hedgehog moms have also been observed eating their young if the nest is disturbed, though they may simply relocate them to a different nest.

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