Often, we see pictures of hedgehog on the pages of children’s books. Children are amazed by its looks and ask many questions about what the animal eats, where it lives, etc..
What can you tell your child about hedgehog?
Hedgehog – is the most popular prickly animal. Needles – it’s defense mechanism against foxes, wolfs, awls, badgers, martens and other forest predators. As soon as hedgehog senses the danger, it curls up into a one prickly ball. On average, hedgehog has up to ten thousand needles on its body. Between needles, hedgehog grows very fine, rare, barely noticeable hair. Hedgehog’s belly and head also covered with hairy coat. Animal has large head and snout with constantly moving and wet nose. It also has,often little, but sometimes quite large tail that can grow up to 8 inches in length, depends on the specie. Tiny paws consist of five little fingers. Hedgehogs are predominantly night animals but it doesn’t mean that they can see well during the night – they have poor eyesight, but excellent sense of smell and hearing. This animal considered very slow pace, it can’t even catch the mouse, but some species can climb and even swim. Forests, deserts, steppes, parks, gardens are natural habitats for hedgehogs.
Sometimes you can meet hedgehog in your back yard. If you notice little holes between roots of the tree, or in the bushes, it could potentially be a hedgehog’s tiny “house”. During the day, hedgehogs usually are hiding in its dens, but night is the hunting time for them.
What do hedgehogs eat? They are omnivorous. Insects, mushrooms, nuts, berries, rodents of any kind are “menu items” that hedgehogs would choose on daily basis. Every year, hedgehogs breed. Up to seven little hedgehog babies can be born at the same time. Weight of little baby hedgehog is 0.42 oz. When hedgehogs are born, they are completely blind and have no coat. Needles start to appear during fist day after birth. Female hedgehog nurses babies for a month, then little hedgehogs start eating food that adult hedgehogs eat.
Where hedgehogs disappear during winter?
October to April hedgehogs hibernate just like bears. Life span of hedgehog is 3-5 years, but in favorable conditions, for example living with people, hedgehogs can live up to 10 years.
Nowadays, hedgehogs are very popular pets, but bringing hedgehog from natural habitat can be very dangerous. It is carrier to multiple diseases such as ringworm, hemorrhagic fever, rabies, also parasites such as ticks and fleas. If you want to get hedgehog as a pet, please make sure to purchase it in pet store.