The Quilled Hedgehog is a Peculiar Forager

Did you know that the porcupine and the hedgehog are not related, contrary to popular belief? They actually only share one similarity: their quills.

Hedgehogs are mammals with the scientific name Erinaceus europaeus. Hedgehogs' quills are nowhere near as sharp as porcupine quills. Their quills stay attached to their bodies. If a hedgehog is attacked, it hides in a ball-like position, which repels its predators. Since they are partially nocturnal, they sleep in a ball-like position during the day and are awake at night.

In severely cold climates, hedgehogs hibernate during the winter. In places with less severe temperatures, they are active year-round. These small animals were named because of their unique food-seeking habits. To find food, they poke around hedges and undergrowth for insects, worms, centipedes, snails, mice, frogs, and snakes.

Hedgehogs also engage in cannibalistic behavior; sometimes they eat their own young. Speaking of their young, hedgehogs are born in litters of one to 11 on average. The parent hedgehogs only mate for the sake of reproducing. Once they mate they separate. The mother hedgehog leaves to take care of her litter for four to seven weeks. Once the young leave the nest, they usually live for four to six years.

Hedgehogs are animals as small as teacups with interesting and foraging habits. Though they sometimes act in ways we humans may find repulsive, they certainly are resourceful creatures.

[Sources: National Geographic; International Hedgehog Association]

Good job! – EvaMadison (2018-03-05 14:25)