A hedgehog is a small mammal with spines. There are 17 hedgehog species in total, that span three of the five continents the continents they do not exist in are Australia and America they are also found in plus New Zealand.
Hedgehogs are distantly related to shrews, and have not changed much physically in the last 15 million years.
Hedgehogs are nocturnal creatures meaning they only really come out at night, it can be said that they resemble other spiny creatures like porcupines.
Physical description of the male hedgehog
Hedgehogs have long hollow spines and are a little like human hairs in that they are made with keratin. The keratin in the spines makes them stiff so they are good for protection.
Unlike the porcupine the hedgehogs’ spikes may look dangerous but to a human are very much harmless.
They do not contain poison and they do not have small barbs to catch skin on, unless they are in their infant stage their spines do not easily get removed from their body.
Male Hedgehog Skeletons
When they feel threatened all hedgehogs have the ability to roll into a ball for defense, this results in the spines that are attached to their backs pointing outwards protecting their feet, belly and head which are the only parts on their body that do not have spines.
Otherwise known as quills. Able to prick anyone or anything that comes close. These spines are controlled by two muscles on the hedgehogs back.
Although all hedgehogs have spines not all have evolved enough to use this as a defense mechanism so most of the desert species either flee from their attacker or they attack by ramming the predator with their spines.
A skin-skeletal preparation
The majority of hedgehog species only come out at night but there are a select few that are mainly active during the day time.
When not out at night they are mainly sleeping to gather their energy for the evening ahead they tend to look for areas of comfort like budges and dens.
All hedgehogs also have the ability to hibernate during the tougher seasons but it is not a fact that all hedgehogs do this. In fact some are active throughout the year.
In a ritual called anointing a hedgehog will like and bite the source of a new smell, it then continues to create a froth in its mouth which finally turns into a paste.
Eventually the animal coats the spines with this pasty substance.
As interesting as it is the reasons for this ritual are still unknown, however, some people believe it is a way for the hedgehogs to camouflage themselves when exploring a new area so they do not smell foreign to any predators in the area.