Hedgehogs are native to Europe, Africa and Asia. They live in deciduous woodlands, woodland edges and grasslands. They also thrive in human habitats, such as orchards, vineyards, farms, parks and gardens, including those in urban areas. They are omnivores.
The name hedgehog has been in use at least since the 1500s: hedge because the animal often finds shelter in hedgerows between agricultural fields, and hog because of its pig-like snout and the grunts it emits while foraging. Hedgehogs are not related to pigs. They are related to gymnures and shrews. Hedgehogs may have 5,000 to 6,500 quills.
Hedgehog behavior and facts
- Hedgehogs are nocturnal, hunting at night for eggs, frogs, fruit, fungi, lizards, mice, snakes and insects. They eat carrion when available.
- They use their prehensile (adapted for seizing, grasping or holding) snouts to search for food, turning over leaves, sticks and other debris.
- They escape predators by running and hiding in rock crevices and under logs, or rolling into a ball and using their spines as a deterrent. Muscles under the spines cause each spine to stand erect, making the hedgehog an unpleasant bundle of pain for any persistent predator.
- They are friendly, solitary, and squeal and grunt when they are hungry, excited or afraid.
From birth to death
- Gestation: 35 to 58 days
- Litters: usually 4 to 5 young
- Young are born with soft, short spines that lengthen and harden soon after birth.
- Lifespan: 7 years
- Weight: 8 to 24 ounces
- Length: 6.5 to 9 inches with a half-inch tail
Hedgehogs the Oregon Zoo and you
Hedgehogs are part of the zoo's education programs. They eat a combination of high quality dry cat food and specially formulated insectivore chow, supplemented by insects.