Where Do Hedgehogs Live
Not an altogether common sight, many curious people ask the question “where do hedgehogs live?” The easy answer is many different parts of the globe – but this fascinating creature is worth a closer look.
Hedgehogs are a spiny mammal that does somewhat resemble the hog or pig it is named after. The small animal has spikes or spines on its back, which are actually stiff, hollow hairs. They aren’t filled with poison, but don’t try and remove them from the tiny creature as they also aren’t made to come off easily. When a hedgehog is born, the quills or spikes are underneath his skin and will pop through after his mother has cleaned him properly. Then, a baby hedgehog will lose its infant-sized spines as it grows and develop an adult coat of spikes.
Hedgehogs use the spikes or spines for defensive measures. They can be seen to roll up in a ball, so that only the spikes are showing, creating a pointy armor of sorts. Some desert hedgehogs even attack predators by running at them and attempting to jab them with their spines. These tactics don’t eliminate all predators and birds, foxes and mongoose still hunt hedgehogs for food.
The hedgehog is nocturnal and feeds off of things like insects, frogs, snakes, eggs, berries and grass roots. A hedgehog can even be considered a helpful animal to have while gardening, as they can act like a form of pest control. The diet of a hedgehog does depend on his habitat and time of year – many of them go into hibernation. Where do hedgehogs live is still our question.
You can find hedgehogs living in the wild throughout Europe, Asia and Africa. Hence the names European Hedgehog, African Pygmy Hedgehog and Indian Long-eared Hedgehog all make sense. Native species of hedgehogs are not found in Australia or North America, but hedgehogs were introduced to New Zealand some time ago.
Exactly where do hedgehogs live in these continents is a more complicated question. Some live in the desert and are smaller with fewer quills. Others live in the forest, foraging for insects and digging dens down into the earth. They are quick runners – up to 4.5 miles per hour – and can swim very well. Hedgehogs also like to climb and often use that as a defensive or escape mechanism.
Did you know that hedgehogs can actually live as pets? It is currently illegal in some U.S. states and in Canada, but their popularity as a pet is growing. They are fairly docile and eat almost anything – commonly dog, cat or ferret food sometimes supplemented with insects and vegetation. Hedgehogs get along well with other animals in a domestic environment, such as cats and dogs, and will only roll into their ball if threatened.
Another slightly domesticated habitat for hedgehogs is in the garden. Throughout the U.K. hedgehogs are sought after for their pest control in the garden atmosphere. They can eat up to 200 grams of insects in one night, providing better coverage than many pesticides out on the market. Gardeners in the U.K. may even cut hedgehog shaped holes in their fences and encourage the animals to make themselves comfortable by providing a den-like atmosphere.
It is not so in parts of Scotland and New Zealand however. On the Outer Hebrides islands in northern Scotland hedgehogs are trapped and moved to the mainland. They have been found to be detrimental to the local bird population in the Hebrides. In New Zealand, hedgehogs are threatening the native bird, lizard and insect populations, which will upset the natural balance out of whack.
Where do hedgehogs live? Almost everywhere - from deserts to woods and rocky plains. Hedgehogs can be found in the backyard and even inside the home, a cherished member of the family. They are truly a unique and intriguing animal.