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Thursday 13— 13 Facts about Hedgehogs

. 1. In the world, there are 14 species of Hedgehogs but the main ones are: the European hedgehog, the African white-bellied hedgehog, the desert hedgehog and the long eared hedgehog.
2. The fall under the class of mammalian, order insectivore
3. They all have sharp, narrow snouts, small eyes, and short legs. They are covered on the back and sides with smooth spines. Males can have up to 500 spines on their backs (Kind of makes you wonder who took the time to count all those quills. LOL). The face, legs, tail, and belly are covered with fur. Quills are modified hairs, they are not very sharp and do not have barbs (not like the porcupine, in fact, they aren’t even related!).
4. They have a very good sense of smell and hearing.
5. They are nocturnal so they come out at night to eat and run around and during the day, they sleep. Mine enjoys running around in her wheel at night. Some of the species hibernate during the months of november to march, but more domestic ones like the African pygmy hedgehog do not. If they do, they can easily succumb to sickness and die.
6. The hedgehog protects itself by rolling up into a ball, from which spikes stand out in every direction. The average hedgehog has 5,000 -7,000 quills.
7. In the wild they will sleep either curled in a ball or stretched out. They will sleep under fallen logs and tree roots, under heaps of leaves, among rocks, or in burrows. Mine, loves to sleep under a t-shirt, sprawled out over my lap.
8. Hedgehogs can make sounds which vary from sneezing to snorting to clicking. When they are frightened they squeal (I’ve never heard mine squeal but she has made little sounds in her sleep as though she’s having a nightmare). They make a purring sound when something interests them or they are happy (mine does this when sprawled out over my lap).
9. The hedgehog is an omnivore which means it eats both plants and animals (Although she may eat cat food as a staple, I often give her cooked egg, mashed potatoes, chicken, turkey, carrots, etc).
10. Hedgehogs have very long tongues. They use their tongues to spread saliva over their spines. This action is brought on by the hedgehog smelling agreeable odors, which causes the hedgehog to salivate and then spread the saliva. This is called self-anointing. The exact purpose of anointing is unknown.
11. 91 different colour of hedgehogs are recognized! That’s a lot of variety!
12. Hedgehogs have many common ailments such as cancer which they are really prone to getting and WHS (wobbly hedgehog syndrome) which is a genetic disorder that causes progressive paralysis similar to the human form of MS. There is no cure and the afflicted hedgehogs slowly and eventually become totally paralyzed.
13. The average lifespan of a hedgehog is approximately 4-6 years.

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