Hedgehog lying in human hands, yawning. Hedgehogs are mammals that have been around for millions of years. The first hedgehog was domesticated in 4 B.C. There are some 15 species of hedgehog in Europe, Asia, and Africa. Hedgehogs have also been introduced into nontraditional ranges such as New Zealand.

The hedgehog was named because of the way it looks for food. They dig through hedges and other undergrowth looking for small creatures,insects, worms, centipedes, snails, mice, frogs, and snakes. As a hedgehog digs through the hedges they make a piggy grunting noise. Hence, hedge-hog. While searching for food they rely upon their senses of hearing and smell because their eyesight is weak.

Hedgehogs have a coat of stiff, sharp spines. When feeling threatened they will curl into a prickly and unappetizing ball with spines extended. They usually sleep in this position during the day and search for food at night. The quills usually have white tips with brown bands and act as camouflage. Other color variations can be brown, black, cream, gray, and even albino. Each hedgie has around 5,000 spines — each of which lasts about a year.

The name for a baby hedgehog is a hoglet. The collective noun is “an array of hedgehogs.” The most common domesticated hedgehog is the African pygmy hedgehog.

Hedgehogs  African pygmy hedgehog (OSEW, OWV) - r