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Hedgehog


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The hedgehog is a small, noisy mammal whose hair is modified into stiff, spiky spines on the upper part of its body. Large birds of prey (like owls), foxes and badgers are the only enemies of hedgehogs. Hedgehogs are native to Africa, Asia, Europe and have been introduced to New Zealand. They can live in a wide variety of habitats, including deserts, forests, and plains. Hedgehogs will hibernate (sleep through the winter) in very cold climates and aestivate (sleep through dry summers) in hot deserts. Hedgehogs have a life span of about 5 years in captivity.

Anatomy: Hedgehogs range in size from 6 to 14 inches (16-35 cm) long. When threatened, the hedgehog can pull itself into a prickly ball almost impossible to attack. It has a soft underbelly with white hair.

Diet: Hedgehogs are classified as insectivores (insect-eater), but have a wide-ranging diet. They eat insects (like beetles, bees, and wasps), crustaceans (like snails), small vertebrates (like mice, birds, lizards, and snakes), eggs, dead meat that they find, and some plant material. They often poke around in the dirt for food. Hedgehogs are nocturnal (most active at night).

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