Hedgehogs are cute, no doubt about it. But what are hedgehogs really like? Do they make good pets? If you’re thinking about getting a hedgehog, or just can’t resist these sweet little guys and want to find out more about them, here are some interesting hedgehog facts. Well, besides fact number one, which is that they’re off the charts cute!
1. There are 17 species of hedgehogs across Europe, Asia, and Africa. The 2 most common species to be kept as pets are the European hedgehog (Erinaceus) and the African hedgehog (Atelerix).
2. A hedgehog has spines (also called quills) along the top of its head and back, but the face, legs, chest, and belly are covered in fine, soft hair.
3. Hedgehogs have poor eyesight and rely on their senses of smell and hearing. While their eyesight is weak, they are nocturnal, so they see best in the dark.
4. Hedgehogs perform an interesting behavior called self-anointing when they encounter something new. They will approach the new object, give it a sniff and a lick, then they’ll foam at the mouth and spread the saliva over their bodies.
5. Hedgehogs like warm temperatures and some will go into hibernation when it gets cold. The ideal temperature for a room where you keep a hedgehog is around 80 degrees. A European hedgehog will hibernate if the temperature drops below 60 degrees. Temperatures over 90 degrees could cause heat stroke.
6. Hedgehogs in the wild eat a large number of insects, especially beetles. Pet hedgehogs can eat either commercial hedgehog food or dry cat food, supplemented by vegetables, fruits, mealworms, and crickets.
7. You can groom your hedgehog’s spiny coat with a soft cloth or soft-bristled toothbrush. This will keep the skin and coat healthy and also increase the bond between the two of you.
8. Hedgehogs love to nest. You can give them a blanket to snuggle into or buy them cozy hedgehog habitats that look like little fleece tents.
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