10 fun facts about hedgehogs

Some people are scared when it comes to having a hedgehog as a pet. Even though their entire body is covered with tiny spikes, these little creatures are an excellent help in keeping the garden pests issues away. Just keep in mind that they roll themselves into a ball when they feel in danger or in a vulnerable position. Otherwise, they are a cute companion that likes to eat, sleep, exercise, and repeat. Here you have an interesting list of cool facts that might blow your mind.

  • You might be surprised to learn that there are 14 different species of hedgehogs that live in Europe, Asia, and Africa.

 

  • Apparently, hedgehogs got their name because they have the tendency of foraging for goodies especially in hedges or undergrowth places. Moreover, they actually do a grunting noise, similar to what pigs sound. Hedgehogs are often called urchins or hedgepigs.

 

  • Hedgehogs are basically tiny mammals that weigh no more than 1.5 pounds per average. They are between 7 to 12 inches and have a pointed muzzle and four little legs. Depending on the type, they can have either small or long ears. Since their eyesight is quite poor, they rely mostly on their sense of smell or hearing.

 

  • If you didn’t know, their spines are modified hair which is hollow and stiff. Actually, their tiny spikes are made from keratin and have less than 1 inch. The most important aspect is that these spines aren’t barbed or poisonous, compared to the porcupine. Each hedgehog has approximately 5,000 to 6,000 spines on the body which are replaced every year. If they are threatened they will roll into a ball and protect their little face and belly.

 

  • Although hedgehogs are insectivorous, they do eat bird eggs, mushrooms, earwigs, bees, mice, snails, and frogs. Also, they can’t say no to berries, watermelon, and bananas.

 

  • The female hedgehog is the sow while the male is the boar. Their babies are called hoglets. Nevertheless, after mating the boar leaves the saw and leaves her alone, to raise the baby hedgehogs. The gestation of the female is about 32 days. After 40 or 40 days, the hoglets separate from their mothers.

 

  • Because they are nocturnal animals, they only come out to eat when the dark arises. All day long, they take naps in their nest made of leaves or in the holes located in the ground. You won’t see them in pair because they enjoy solitude.

 

  • Hedgehogs live, on an average, from 2 to 7 years, depending on the species. Even though they don’t have many predators to fear, they are prone to several health conditions, including ovarian, mammary, and uterine tumors. Males can suffer from jaw or testicular cancer.

 

  • The reason why you should appreciate having a hedgehog in your garden is that these tiny animals eat pests that harm your harvest. Beetles and caterpillars have no chance when you have a hedgehog savior that keeps your garden healthy and great shape.

 

  • Just like bears, hedgies hibernate during the winter season. Plus, they go through a process called aestivation, known as summer sleep. These situations occur in the desert or dry places.

How to care for a pet hedgehog

Unlike other exotic pets, hedgehogs have certain food requests. Plus, they are covered with tiny little spikes that come to life when they feel attacked. Those quills are basically their only weapon against predators so you need to handle them carefully if you plan on taking a hedgehog as your house pet.

One first aspect you need to learn about is related to their diet. Even though hedgehogs are primarily insectivores, they do eat things that crawl or creep. They like to eat all sorts of worms and crickets. However, you should stick as much as possible to formulated hedgehog kibble. The main reason why this type of food is more preferred is that it contains mashed up insects and plenty of vitamins and minerals that are mandatory for a balanced diet.

 

 

Although some hedgie owners tend to use cat food or dog food, try to avoid them because it needs a certain level of protein in its diet. Kibbles made for dogs or kittens have a higher level of proteins which is not recommended for hedgehogs. You’ll find plenty of good and affordable options online or in pet stores.

As far as their housing goes, you must understand that the best hedgehog houses provide enough room for them to sleep, move and play according to their desire. You can use cages made for rabbits or even guinea pigs just try to avoid cages with wire grate bottoms because hedgehogs have small feet and they can suffer injuries if they fall through the grates.

 

Furthermore, place a soft bedding made of towels or recycled paper so you can change them on a regular basis. Plus, these fabrics are suitable for their sensitive feet.

In addition to the cage and bed, hedgehogs are active livings that need a running wheel where they can play. Don’t forget to put in their house a hide box, as well as a water and a food bowl. Daily or every second day, check their cage and make sure the running wheel is cleaned. Fecal matter can cause foot infections on hedgehogs so they need a clean space in order to be healthy.

These running wheels are extremely important because hedgehogs can run miles daily and since you intend to keep them in an enclosed area, they must stick to their natural habits.


If you don’t comply with their needs for physical activity, they can become depressed, overweight and even suffer from foot sores. Just like you need a good workout that keeps you in good shape, hedgehogs don’t differ much from humans.  

The most common type of hedgehogs used for pets is the African pygmy. This one has a lot of quills but they are funny animals that can be a tad tame.

Typically, hedgehogs don’t like to be handled, especially when doing their dental checkups. They can roll into and put their spines at the front when scared. However, younger hedgehogs are more easy to deal with so it’s best to get one when it’s six to eight weeks of age.