Week In Focus #5
When I arrived at home, following a night shift at work, this little Hedgehog was prowling the street, probably looking for scraps as it begins to set about hibernating for the winter. I named him/her Grumpy, as the critter didn’t seem too pleased to meet me.
There are seventeen species of hedgehog through parts of Europe, Asia, and Africa, and in New Zealand by introduction. There are no hedgehogs native to Australia and no living species native to the Americas.
Hedgehogs share distant ancestry with shrews, and they have changed little over the last 15 million years. Like many of the first mammals, they have adapted to a nocturnal way of life. Their spiny protection resembles that of the unrelated porcupines.
In Britain, the main predator of the Hedgehog is the badger. Hedgehogs in the UK have demonstrably lower populations in areas where badgers are numerous, so that British hedgehog rescue societies will not release hedgehogs into known badger territories.
- Hedgehogs are nocturnal
- Hedgehogs are lactose intolerant
- Hedgehogs used to be called Urchins
- Hedgehogs have around 5000 to 7000 spines on their back
- Hedgehogs can travel for up to 2 miles foraging for food