Where do hedgehogs live?
Hedgehogs inhabit a wide range across a variety of climates and terrains in East Africa. They must have dry shelters on well-drained soil and a good supply of ground-dwelling insects and other invertebrates. Hedgehogs are reported to be abundant in Suburban Nairobi, which meets these habitat conditions.
Tags: Benin, Burkina Faso, Kenya, Niger, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, East Africa, West/Central Africa, Kilimanjaro, Regional Parc W, Cameroon, Hedgehog
View Africa | Habitat
What are hedgehogs?
The hedgehog is a small mammal with thousands of stiff, sharp spines—harder and sharper than those of a porcupine—that cover the animal's back and sides, like a pincushion filled with needles.
Hedgehogs are rarely caught off-guard.
The hedgehog has a practice of curling into a tight ball, with its spines sticking out in all directions. When it rolls up, a special, highly developed circular muscle that runs along the sides of the body and across the rump and neck contracts and forms a "bag" into which the body, head, and legs are folded. The hedgehog curls up if disturbed or frightened—only the strongest predators, such as the badger, can pry it open. It also sleeps in this position, so is rarely caught unprotected.
Hedgehogs will eat one-third of their body weights in one night.
The hedgehog wakes up at dusk and begins its nocturnal activities alone. It uses regular pathways, toddling along on its short legs searching for food. It eats one-third of its body weight in one night. The hedgehog’s favorite foods are insects, earthworms, snails, and slugs, making it a welcome guest in many suburban gardens—it is even kept as a pet. It is also known to eat eggs, small mammals, birds, frogs, reptiles, fruit, fungi, and roots. Although not completely immune to toxins, hedgehogs have enough resistance to allow them to eat poisonous snakes.
They have courting rituals.
Hedgehogs perform a courtship in which the male walks round and round a female in heat, often for hours at a time. After mating, they usually go their own ways.
They are anointed.
Hedgehogs have a peculiar practice whereby they will taste or chew on an object of interest and then produce a foamy saliva. The hedgehog will then proceed to self-anoint and rub this saliva all over its body. The reason for this practice is largely unknown.