What do you Know About Hedgehogs?

The European hedgehog
Image by Gibe via Wikicommons

My childhood was accompanied by hedgehogs teaching me road safety and not to step out into the road but what do we know about them?

The essential facts

Hedgehogs are around 26cm long and have an average life expectancy of just three years in the wild. They like to hibernate in cold climates, usually between November and mid-March, mostly living a solitary lifestyle.

Primarily nocturnal, they sleep in the day under bushes, grasses, rocks, or most commonly in dens dug in the ground. They awaken to search for food at night.

When threatened they will roll into a tight ball, with the sharp spines providing protection from predators. Although hedgehogs need to watch out for foxes, badgers and other predators that might try and eat them the most common cause of death is from starvation during hibernation.

Hedgehog diet

Their diet consists of insects such as beetles and earwigs, worms, slugs, mushrooms, frogs, moths and even cat food.  They are slightly lactose intolerant and  people should avoid leaving out cheese for hedgehogs. Whilst hunting, they rely upon their senses of hearing and smell because their eyesight is weak.

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