Prickly Pigs? Hogwash!

 

Even though these cute little animals have “hog” in their name, hedgehogs aren’t any sort of swine, nor are they related to porcupines! The hedgehog’s closest family are shrews, moles, and moonrats.

 

The hedgehog is a short and stout little mammalA warm-blooded animal with a backbone that breathes air, and has at least some hair at some point during its life. The females have glands that produce milk, which they feed to their young. that is sometimes called a pincushion with legs—can you “point out” why? That’s right! It’s because of their quills. Most mammals have fur or hair that is somewhat flexible and soft. But the hair on the back of a hedgehog is a thick layer of spikes (or modified hairs) known as quills. These quills are made of keratinA protein that hair, nails, skin, and horns are made of., the same stuff our hair and fingernails are made of.

 

There are 16 speciesA group of individuals that have many of the same characteristics, and are different from all other animals in some important way. Hamsters and mice are two different species of rodent. of hedgehogs, and they can rangeIn biology, the total area in which an individual or species can be found. from 4 to 12 inches long in size. They live in Asia, Africa, Europe, and New Zealand, where they eat mostly insects and slugs and snails. In a way, they are a gardener’s best friend!