17 species of hedgehogs can be found wild in Africa, Europe, and Asia.
The majority of pet hedgehogs in the United States originated from the import of 80,000 in the 1980’s and 90’s, from Africa to North America. They come from two species: the four-toed hedgehog and the algerian hedgehog.
Hedgehogs are insectivores. Naturally, the majority of their diet consists of a variety of bugs.
Hedgehogs are not rodents, therefore they do not have continually growing incisors and do not “chew.”
Hedgehogs are not related to porcupines. Porcupines are rodents and have long, detachable, barbed quills. Hedgehog quills are not made for “dropping” when afraid.
Hedgehogs can run several miles every night.
Hedgehog quills are actually spines, but the term quill is more common.
Hedgehogs are born spineless.
Quills lay flat when a hedgehog is relaxed, and tense up when the hedgehog is threatened.
Quills are modified hairs made of keratin. The interior is an elaborate structure of hollow air chambers, making them lightweight and strong.
Quills are locked into each follicle by a large bulb at the base of the quill, which prevents it from being pulled out of the body.
An erector muscle under the skin enables a hedgie to raise and lower his quills.
Hedgehogs have a bald strip in the middle of their head, running about an inch back. The coronal parting, or a reverse mohawk, on a hedgehog’s head, enables him to cross his visor quills and is a part of the ring of muscles that allows him to ball up when afraid.
The quill tip is smooth and needle sharp. When a hedgie rolls into a ball, the quills cross to protect from all angles.
The quills have an angled stem at the base, allowing it to lay flat when the hedgehog is relaxed, and to absorb a blow if attacked.
Hedgehogs have a unique behavior called self-anointing. When they smell something new and interesting they will lick it, start to foam at the mouth, torque their bodies into what almost seems like an unnatural position, and spread the foam over their quills with their tongues.
A hedgehog’s tail is usually hidden or barely visible.
There is a small bump on a hedgehog’s chin, usually with a few hairs on it.
Some hedgehogs have dewclaws on the front feet and some do not. All hedgehogs have four toes on each back foot.
Hedgehogs are nocturnal, do not see well, and are color blind. They rely on their sense of smell.
Hedgehogs love rolling in food grade diatomaceous earth. DE is also a natural mites treatment.