1. Hedgehogs are solitary creatures that only come together to mate, however when they are in a group they are called array!
2. Hedgehogs hunt primarily using their hearing and smell because their eyesight is not very good, although they can see quite well in the dark.
3. In New Zealand, a satirical party tried to get a hedgehog elected into parliament. Sadly the McGillicuddy party was unsuccessful with their tiny candidate.
4. When exposed to pungent smells or tastes a hedgehog exhibits a behaviour called ‘self anointing’ in which they rub frothy saliva on their quills.
5. The ‘Hedge’ part of their name comes from where they build their nests hedges, bushes and shrubs. The ‘hog’ part comes from the small snorting/ grunting sound they make which is similar to a pig/warthog. The hedgehog was not always called a hedgehog. Before this they were called Urchins which led to the naming of Sea Urchins.
6. Hedgehogs have the ability to hibernate (although not all do), which makes them one of only three mammals that hibernate in the UK. Hibernating means that they hole themselves up and stay in a dormant state for winter.
7. When hedgehogs are out to forage in the evening, they can travel for up to 2 miles, that’s a long way for little legs!
8. The hedgehog has a vulnerable stomach, which is why it curls up into a spiky ball when predators such as badgers are around.
9. Not only do hedgehogs enjoy berries and fruit but the staple of their diet is made up from pests that are common in our back gardens such as beetles and caterpillars.
10. There are 15 different species of hedgehog in the world. Each are similar but have small characteristic and habitual differences. The UK only has one native species, the European Hedgehog. Sadly there are fewer than 1 million hedgehogs left in the UK.
What can you do?
Hedgehogs need homes just like humans, so making one for them is a great way to encourage them into your garden.
Leave areas of the garden 'wild', with piles of leaf litter and logs. These are an attractive nest as well as a home for the invertebrates (slugs, beetles) that hedgehogs like to eat.
Food and fresh water will encourage hedgehogs to return.
Never feed hedgehogs milk as it can cause diarrhoea; instead provide plain, fresh water in a shallow bowl.
Here is some additional info on how to build a hedgehog home - https://www.wildlifetrusts.org/actions/how-build-hedgehog-home