A hedgehog is any of the spiny mammals of the family “Erinaceidae”. There are 17 species of hedgehog in 5 genera found throughout parts of Europe, Asia, and Africa. They have been introduced into New Zealand.

Hedgehogs share distant ancestry with shrews (family “Soricidae”). Like many of the first mammals, they have adapted to a nocturnal way of life. Their spiny protection resembles that of the unrelated porcupines, which are rodents, and echidnas, a type of monotreme. Monotremes lay eggs rather than bear live young, but like all mammals, the female monotremes nurse their young with milk.

Hedgehogs are easily recognized by their spines, which are hollow hairs stiffened with keratin. Their spines are not poisonous or barbed and unlike the quills of a porcupine, cannot easily be removed from the animal. A hedgehog measures around 23 centimetres (9.01inches) in length and has a 4 centimetre tail (1.57 inches). They can weigh up to 2 kilograms (4.1pounds). The hedgehog has a powerful forefoot and claws for digging.

They are seldom seen during the day. Their nocturnal wanderings take them through several gardens in the evening, where they feed on a variety of invertebrates such as snails, slugs, beetles, caterpillars and worms.

They are very good at running, climbing and swimming. In cold winter weather they will go into hibernation, only emerging when conditions are warmer. Their nests are usually large and made of mosses, grass, leaves and other garden debris.


More Info: en.wikipedia.org