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European hedgehog
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Eulipotyphla
Family: Erinaceidae
For the fictional character, see Sonic the Hedgehog

A hedgehog, also called a hedgepig and furze-pig, is a small mammal. It has spines on its back. There are hedgehogs in Europe, Asia, Africa, and New Zealand. When attacked or threatened, it curls up. Hedgehogs eat insects, snails, frogs and toads, snakes, bird eggs, carrion, mushrooms, berries, melons and watermelons. Sometimes, hedgehogs will search for earthworms, after rainstorms.


Hedgehogs have long spines, or quills, made of keratin. They do not come off easily, unlike porcupines, but in baby hedgehogs, the baby quills drop off and are replaced with adult quills. This is called "quilling". When they are very stressed or sick, their quills can fall off, too. Their quills are not poisonous.


Some people keep hedgehogs as pets. African Pygmy hedgehogs are the most common type that are kept as pets. They live 2-4 years in captivity.


  1. Hutterer, Rainer (16-11-2005). Don E. Wilson and DeeAnn M. Reeder. ed. Mammal Species of the World (3rd ed.). Johns Hopkins University Press. pp. 212–217. ISBN 978-0-8018-8221-0 .

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