10 Things about Hedgehogs
Ever wondered just how many spines a hedgehog has or a hedgehogs favourite grub? We have compiled a list of 10 interesting hedgehog facts!
- Hedgehogs can have from 3000 to 5000 spines! They last around 1 year before they fall out and a replacement spine grows!
- When in danger a hedgehog will curl up tight into a ball. Small muscles along their back help their thousands of quills interlock in different directions creating a strong defensive wall!
- Hedgehogs are solitary animals coming together only to mate before parting again. The male never stays to take care of the young, and if a mother is disturbed whilst nurturing her young she may desert the nest or even eat her young.
- After mating the female creates a nest of leaves and grass. After 32 days a hedgehog can have a litter of around 3-5 babies. Born with their eyes shut the hoglets will stay with the mother for around 5 weeks before going their separate ways.
- Hedgehogs are nocturnal animals, meaning they come out to feed at night. A hedgehog out in the day is most likely to be in danger and have hypothermia!
- Hedgehogs are Lactose Intolerant! Contrary to popular belief drinking milk can actually make hedgehogs sick! They also find it hard to digest bread!
- A fully grown hedgehog weighs on average 700g and grows to a length of around 25cm. They live for up to 6 years.
- Hedgehogs are nature’s pest control, feasting on many of the garden creatures we fight so hard to keep away! These include insects, worms, centipedes, snails and slugs. Hedgehogs have also been known to eat mice, frogs and even snakes!
- For a reason unknown hedgehogs love to self-anoint when they find something particularly smelly! Hedgehogs self anoint by mixing the foul smelling object with saliva before brushing it through their spines with their tongue!
- Hedgehogs can have hundreds of fleas at one time! But don’t worry, hedgehog fleas only live on hedgehogs and if they find themselves on a human, cat or dog they know they are in the wrong place and drop off to find a hedgehog!
It is estimated that between the 1950’s and now the hedgehog population in the UK has reduced from around 36million to just 1 million, and this number continues to decline.
A Typical Hedgehog Year
Woodlands admits hedgehogs all year and each season brings its different challenges.
Spring and Summer brings an influx of hoglets, whereas autumn sees us admitting underweight juveniles that would not survive hibernation.
Hedgehogs are known for hibernating. Hedgehogs usually do this from Oct/Nov through to Mar/Apr but only hibernate for around ten days at a time. It is essential that you continue to feed through the winter months! To successfully hibernate a hedgehog must be around 750g
Hedgehogs can breed at any time of the year but between May and June is peak breeding season for hedgehogs. It is possible for a female to have 2 litters, and up to 5 hoglets per litter.
In autumn hedgehogs spend their time building up body mass before they hibernate. Any hoglets born in this period find it hard to survive, as they are unable to accrue enough body mass in time for winter.
Want to learn more about Hedgehogs? Why not volunteer or take a look at our education programme? You can also visit us at one of our upcoming open days!