If there’s one thing that’s for sure; there’s nothing cuter than a teeny, tiny hedgehog. These enchanting creatures have it all; they’re totally adorable, a bit mysterious in their ways and a great garden visitor to have. We’re willing to bet there’s a few things you don’t know about these prickly little critters. Read on for the top 10 things you didn’t know about hedgehogs:
1. Their table manners aren’t the best
If you’ve ever heard a hedgehog eating, it may come as a surprise that they chew so loudly! Next time the tiny creature visits your garden, listen out for that telltale sound of them enjoying their dinner.
2. Shakespeare was a fan
Referring to them as ‘hedgepins’ and ‘urchins’, William Shakespeare has included hedgehogs in plays such as The Tempest and A Midsummer Night’s Dream. If Shakespeare is a fan then so are we!
3. They have A LOT of spines
It may come as a surprise but adult hedgehogs have at least 5,000 spines. 5,000 spines of prickly cuteness to be exact. They even have a small tail, which is generally hidden by the needles so a lot of people don’t know it’s there.
4. They like to do the rounds
That hedgehog you’ve affectionately named Steve might not be the regular you think he is. Hedgehogs like to visit different gardens each evening, so Steve might actually be Jack or Harry.
5. Their favourite food is insects
Hedgehogs enjoy beetles, caterpillars, earthworms and slugs, making them the ideal garden visitor. Say goodbye to those pesky insects when Steve/Jack/Harry is in town! To supplement their natural diet, you can also buy hedgehog food from WildThings. These little critters can’t get enough of it!
6. They like things messy
Good news; creating a safe space for hedgehogs is a great excuse to not trim your hedges. These critters love wild and overgrown greenery, as it offers them a safe space to nest. If there comes a time when you do need to do a bit of garden maintenance, especially in the winter, keep an eye out for any hibernating hedgehogs.
7. They sleep A LOT
Hedgehogs hibernate between November and March and need a soft cosy place to remain warm through the winter. Their favourite places to go down for the long nap are beneath garden sheds, under bushwood and snuggled up under bountiful garden hedges.
8. Their eyesight isn’t the best
It’s true, hedgehogs can’t see very well at all. To make up for this, their sense of smell and hearing are both exceptional. This enables them to find a safe place to nest, avoid predators and sniff out a tasty treat.
9. They’re lactose intolerant
If you want to leave a drink out for your garden visitor, you’re probably best staying clear of milk. Hedgehogs are lactose intolerant which means they struggle to digest lactose, the main carbohydrate in dairy products. Opt for clean, fresh water instead.
10. They have strong personalities
When it comes to hedgehogs, you never know what you’re going to get. Some are charming and sociable, while others may be much more wary and want their own space. It’s important that you respect each individual hedgehog’s boundaries so you don’t frighten them. Your best bet is making sure they have plenty of food to eat and going in for a cautious pet once you’ve established a relationship.