Things you didn't know about hedgehogs

Take the challenge and read these amazing things we have observed about Grace and her friends

• Grace relies on her sense of hearing and smell when foraging for food at night. #AmazingGrace

• There are 16 species of hedgehog. #AmazingGrace

• When hedgehogs mate they often make loud snuffling noises. #AmazingGrace

• As Grace rummages in the hedge for food she grunts and snuffles like a pig, hence the name hedgehog! #AmazingGrace

• Hedgehogs in cold climates hibernate over the winter. #AmazingGrace

• In warmer climates, such as deserts Grace will sleep through heat and drought in a process similar to hibernation called aestivation.  #AmazingGrace

• Grace has a long snout extending beyond the front of her mouth that she uses to help her forage for food. #AmazingGrace

• Hedgehogs are born in litters of anything from 1 to 11, usually 4 to 5. They remain with their mothers for around 7 weeks before heading out on their own. #AmazingGrace

• One litter of baby hedgehogs can have several fathers. #AmazingGrace

• A hedgehog's diet consists mainly of creatures such as insects, worms, beetles, caterpillars, earwigs, millipedes and slugs. #AmazingGrace

• 1Grace has longer legs than you would expect and can reach a top speed of 9 km per hour. #AmazingGrace

• Hedgehogs have thick and spiny coats providing an awesome layer of protection and defence If alerted to danger they will curl up and protect their soft furry stomach. #AmazingGrace

 

• Hedgehogs can swim incredibly well. But drown if they cannot get out of the water #AmazingGrace

• Hedgehogs in the UK often hibernate throughout winter. They feed as much as possible during the autumn, and in and around October build nests of leaves and grass in which to hibernate. #AmazingGrace

 

• Hedgehog fleas are host-specific; they are called Archaepsylla erinacei. They will not survive for long on any species other than the hedgehog, be it pets or people. #AmazingGrace

• Baby hedgehogs are born blind after 32 days and their spines are soft. The young are suckled by the mother until they are able to hunt for themselves. The prickles may be soft at birth but when they push through the skin but they quickly harden and  are incredibly sharp by at least 36 hours. Unfortunately, a late litter born in September seldom survives its first winter. #AmazingGrace

• Cars kill 100,000 to 200,000 Hedgehogs a year in Britain. #AmazingGrace

• Hedgehogs can eat over 100 caterpillars in just one night. #AmazingGrace

• Hedgehogs have between 5,000 and 7,000 spines. Each spine lasts about a year then drops out before being replaced. But they fall out a few at a time so there are no gaps in their protection. #AmazingGrace

• Hedgehogs can travel over 2km on a single night. #AmazingGrace

• Grace sometimes covers her prickles in foamy saliva. This is called self-anointing. #AmazingGrace

• Hedgehogs can scream, huff, snort, snuffle and quack! #AmazingGrace

• Grace eats so many pests that she is called “the gardener’s friend”. #AmazingGrace

• Hedgehogs are nocturnal. They sleep all day and feed at night when their food is more abundant. #AmazingGrace

• Hedgehog spines are hollow and springy with a flexible neck and are erected by muscles. At the base there is a smooth ball that bends on impact. #AmazingGrace

• Apart from conception males have nothing to do with their hoglets and play no part in child rearing. #AmazingGrace

• A group of hedgehogs is called an array. #AmazingGrace

• Hedgehogs can hibernate, but don't always do so #AmazingGrace

• The sea urchin is actually named after the hedgehog. #AmazingGrace

• In New Zealand, McGillicuddy's Serious Party tried - unsuccessfully -to get a hedgehog elected to Parliament. #AmazingGrace

• The hedgehog is the UK’s most popular wild animal, as voted in a 2013 BBC poll. #AmazingGrace

• Hedgehogs are not related to other spine-covered creatures such as the porcupine or echidna. #AmazingGrace

• Hedgehog spines are actually stiff hollow hairs - they are not poisonous or barbed and cannot be easily removed. #Amazing Grace

• Hedgehog spines fall out naturally when a hedgehog sheds its baby spines and grows adult spines in a process called "quilling". #AmazingGrace

• Hedgehogs are well represented in our culture - Shakespeare mentions hedgehogs in The Tempest and A Midsummer Night’s Dream, when he refers to “hedgepigs” and “urchins.” #AmazingGrace

• Hedgehogs are lactose intolerant and  should never be given milk to drink. #AmazingGrace

• Hedgehogs are a woodland edge species that has adapted to live in a wide range of habitats, including those that are highly modified by humans. #AmazingGrace

• Hedgehogs can be found is woodlands, farmlands, gardens, parks and rescues!  #AmazingGrace

• When hedgehogs hibernate, their heartbeat drops from 190 beats per minute to 20 beats per minute and their body temperature drops. #AmazingGrace

 

• If a hedgehog feels threatened it will actually hiss. A young hog will make a quack or whistle sound. Best be careful to not upset them! #AmazingGrace

• Hedgehogs are the source of some weird and wonderful folk myths. One such myth was that hedgehogs picked up fruit on their spines. Another was that they sucked milk from cows. Neither is true. #AmazingGrace

• Hedgehog spines are made of keratin - the same as human fingernails and hair. #AmazingGrace

• Hedgehogs love to sleep - sometimes up to 18 hours a day! #AmazingGrace

• Grace can have up to 44 teeth - adult humans have 32 on average. #AmazingGrace

• A baby hedgehog is called a hoglet or piglet and weighs less than 1 ounce (3 to 25 g) at birth. #AmazingGrace

• When under extreme stress or during sickness, hedgehogs can lose their spines. #AmazingGrace

• Hedgehogs measure around 23cm in length and have a 4cm tail. They can weigh up to 2kg. #AmazingGrace

• Hedgehogs have a powerful forefoot and claws for digging. They have 5 toes on their front paws with short nails. #AmazingGrace

• Hedgehogs have changed very little over the last 15 million years. Like many of the first mammals they have adapted to a nocturnal way of life. #AmazingGrace

• Hedgehogs are born blind. Many people believe they are born without quills, but this isn’t really true, as the quills are easily visible within hours of birth, after the newborn hedgehog has been cleaned by its mother. #AmazingGrace

• Hedgehogs become independent of their mother at 4 – 6 weeks of age. #AmazingGrace

• Hedgehogs are protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act in Britain and may not be trapped without a licence. #AmazingGrace

• You could build a hedgehog house very easily by covering a sturdy upturned crate with stones, earth or wood, but do remember to leave them a way to get in and out. #AmazingGrace

• You can buy specially designed wooden hedgehog boxes but please check that the wood used is from a sustainable source and not treated with harmful chemicals. #AmazingGrace

• Hedgehogs will build their own home if you help by creating hedgehog-friendly sites around the garden such as accessible space under your shed or hedge, log piles and compost heaps. They are all favourites. #AmazingGrace

• You should site a hedgehog house in a quiet area, against a wall, bank or fence if possible, and under or near plant cover. #AmazingGrace

• Do not disturb a hedgehog box once it is occupied as you may frighten the mother and cause the young to be abandoned. #AmazingGrace

• Always check compost heaps and piles of firewood for hedgehogs before disturbing them. Also check under sheds before dismantling them They are ideal nest sites. #AmazingGrace

• Fruit and Pond nets can be dangerous for hedgehogs and other wild mammals and birds as they get tangled up in them. #AmazingGrace

• Lawn mowers and strimmers can be fatal for hedgehogs. Please be especially careful when cutting longer grass and check your borders! #AmazingGrace

• Avoid using slug pellets and other garden chemicals as they can kill hedgehogs. It is far better to encourage hedgehogs to keep these pests under control for you. #AmazingGrace

• Did you know that hedgehogs can hear ultrasonic sounds? #AmazingGrace

• Albino hedgehogs are rare. On average, 1 in 12,000 is born with no pigmentation due to a mutation in the gene. #AmazingGrace

• Hedgehogs are ‘induced-ovulators’, which means they will only produce an egg when mating. #AmazingGrace

• If you are feeding hedgehogs the food should be put out at sunset, so that flies cannot lay eggs in it. If the food is not eaten by morning, it should be collected. #AmazingGrace

• The hedgehog’s favourite food includes hedgehog food, tinned (wet) cat food, chopped unsalted peanuts (not whole ones) raw or cooked meat leftovers, unsweetened muesli. Never cooked bones as they splinter  #AmazingGrace

• Never give a hedgehog bread or milk. Milk will give them diarrhoea as they are lactose intolerant and bread offers little nutritionally. #AmazingGrace

• Dropped litter can be deadly to hedgehogs. They can easily become entangled in the plastic rings that hold cans together, or become wedged in yoghurt pots or empty tins. Dispose of litter properly and crush all your tin cans before recycling them #AmazingGrace

• Fast food containers are potential death traps for hedgehogs so please dispose of them in a bin. In Britain, the British Hedgehog Preservation Society persuaded fast food giants McDonald’s and KFC to changed their packaging in 2006 to be more “hedgehog friendly”. #AmazingGrace

• One of the biggest threats to hedgehogs is habitat loss. Over the last 30 years, agriculture has favoured large fields and the habitats of the hedgehog, particularly hedges, have been lost #AmazingGrace

• During mating, a male hedgehog will circle the female, sometimes for hours, to persuade her to mate. They will separate after mating and the male takes no part in rearing the family. #AmazingGrace

• After about 4 weeks, the mother will take the young hedgehogs out on their first foraging trip and around 3 weeks later the family will separate. #AmazingGrace

• Hedgehogs’ back paws have 4 toes with long, constantly growing nails. On the front paws they have 5 toes to help them forage and burrow. #AmazingGrace

• To entice hedgehogs into your garden cut a simple hole, about the size of a CD case into your fence. #AmazingGrace

• Bonfires are a massive danger to the hedgehog - please store your wood safely prior to building and then build on the day you light the bonfire. #AmazingGrace • Another of the hedgehog’s biggest threats comes from manmade influences, such as ponds. Grace can swim well but she needs a way to climb out of a pond. #AmazingGrace

• The Japanese name for hedgehog is “harinezumi”,  literally  meaning “needle mouse”. #AmazingGrace

• On the Island of North Ronaldsay and the Channel Island of Alderney, blondes have more fun! Around 25% of the hedgehog population is leucistic or ‘blonde’. This means they have black eyes and cream-coloured spines. In their mainland counterparts this is extremely rare. #AmazingGrace

• The average roam of hedgehog is between one and two km per night. However, during the breeding season, males go that extra 1km looking for females. #AmazingGrace

• The male attempts to woo Grace in lengthy encounters that involve much circling and rhythmic snorting and puffing. #AmazingGrace

• Males square up to one another when courting and often head-butt and chase their rival. #AmazingGrace

• Grace can be very promiscuous both males and female hedgehogs, often having several different mates in a single season. #AmazingGrace

• Grace’s front feet are wider than the back, with the tracks looking like little hands. The back feet are slimmer and longer and leave correspondingly narrower tracks. #AmazingGrace

• There are five genera of hedgehogs (Erinaceus, Paraechinus, Atelerix, Mesechinus and Hemiechinus) with a total of 16 species. #AmazingGrace

• Species Hemiechinus has no central parting of the spines on the crown of the head. It has long ears, a well-developed big toe and no face mask. #AmazingGrace

• Species Erinaceus has a faintly visible central parting of the spines at the crown of the head, short ears and a well-developed big toe on the hind foot. Colouration can vary from dark brown through to pale or even albino variations. #AmazingGrace

• Species Paraechinus or “desert hedgehog” has a wide parting in the spines on the crown of the head, large ears and dense, soft fur on the underside. #AmazingGrace

• Loose or absent drain covers are lethal traps for unsuspecting hedgehogs, please check you’re your garden  regularly  #AmazingGrace

• Hedgehogs have a fantastic sense of smell and use their ‘forever twitching’ and sensitive nose to find food  and to avoid danger   #AmazingGrace

• A town in Germany is called Iglau,  Igel means hedgehog and their coat of arms has a hedgehog on it #AmazingGrace

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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