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Hedgehogs

Hedgehogs are spiny mammals.  Their spines are hollow hairs made stiff with keratin, the same substance that is in fingernails.  There are 17 species; and they are found in Europe, Asia, Africa and New Zealand.  They were introduced to New Zealand and were not naturally found there.  There are no species native to the Americas.

The hedgehog has changed little over the past 15 million years.  They are nocturnal and sleep most of the day.  Their defense is to roll up into a ball.  They are omnivorous and eat insects, snails, frogs, bird eggs, snakes, carrion, mushrooms, grass roots, berries, watermelon, etc.  They grunt, snuffle and/or squeal depending on the species.

The large species live 4-7 years in the wild; and the small species live 2-4 in the wild.  They are subject to some of the same diseases as humans; such as, cancer, fatty liver disease and heart disease.  The last two can be caused by a bad diet, especially in pets.

I saw one close-up at a safari park.  I would have held it; but they wanted someone to help hold a huge snake; so I did that!

Photo Credit:  Pixabay

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Written by LindaOH

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