Hedgehogs are omnivores found naturally throughout Europe, Africa and Asia. They also have become popular as pets due to their cute appearance, quirky vocalizations and gentle personalities. Their spikes and curved spines enable them to curl into a protective ball when they're threatened.
Hedgehogs naturally occur in Africa, Asia and Europe and have been introduced in New Zealand. However, populations tend to be localized within these ranges, rather than widespread. They can thrive in urban and suburban as well as rural areas, and because their diet includes many pests, they're popular with gardeners.
Climate and Terrain
Hedgehogs live in arid and semi-arid zones with abundant shelter. They aren't usually found in damp locations, and they build their nests on dry ground in protected spots. They prefer ranges with grassland, hedges, shrubbery or similar foliage, and they enjoy climbing. In some areas, such as the United Kingdom, hedgehogs may hibernate through the winter.
Hedgehogs are nocturnal predators that prefer to feed on insects, worms, snails and slugs. Their diet may also include mammals, birds, fruit, roots, frogs and even venomous snakes, which they can eat without negative effects. Hedgehogs consume approximately one-third of their body weight each night, according to the African Wildlife Foundation.
Hedgehogs construct their nests on dry ground in sheltered spots, such as under bushes, in rock crevices or under buildings. They develop trails through their range, which is about 400 feet around their nests, according to the African Wildlife Foundation, and patrol in search of food.
Hedgehogs are solitary except when mating or when a female is raising a litter. They don't usually intrude on each other's territory, but they can coexist with animals, such as cats and dogs.
- hedgehog image by Edsweb from Fotolia.com