What you didn’t know about Hedgehogs

The Humble Hedgehog

With the hedgehog having a quiet and unobtrusive nature, it is not a surprise that many of us overlook these dynamic creatures and their unique characteristics. The next time you see a hedgehog rummaging around your garden, have a think about these interesting facts.

  • Before being given the softer sounding title, Hedgehogs previously bared the name of Urchins. Their prickly nature was the inspiration for the naming of the well known Sea Urchin.

 

  • Hedgehogs have carried great reputation for a long time, with records showing the first domestic Hedgehog dated way back to 4B.C. Their friendly nature may be the reason for there multiple mentions in well known literature, including the Bible!!

 

  • We all know what it’s like to have a chill day, but Hedgehogs take it to a whole new level. Not all Hedgehogs hibernate, but the ones that do can reduce their heartbeat from 120 bpm, down to as few as 20!!

 

  • Hedgehogs have been known to help weather predictions of up to an astonishing 6 weeks in advance – move over Sean Batty! When settlers reached America for the first time and found no Hedgehogs, they turned to the very similar Groundhogs to help for see incoming weather fronts, sparking the expression “Groundhog Day”.

 

  • Regardless of their spines being hollow and lightweight, they can defend Hedgehogs against much larger predators. Hedgehogs can roll themselves into a ball which gives an uncomfortable bite to most mammalian predators and can even inhibit snake attacks!

 

SRUC Hedgehogs

 

Within the Animal Care Unit of the Aberdeen campus, you will find 2 resident Pygmy Hedgehogs – the most commonly domesticated breed of the Hedgehog family.

Mel and Sue are 2 and a half year old friends.

They arrived on campus a year and a half ago after being rescued by the RSPCA.

Mel, named appropriately after the blonde presenter, is a very rare albino Pygmy. Only 1 in 100,000 Hedgehogs are born with the recessive gene which means they produce no melanin.

The pair love to swim and enjoy a feast of mealworms and other insects.

 

 

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