Today is HEDGEHOG DAY: a day to celebrate a mammal that’s been around for 15 million years and one of the longest living animals on the planet. To mark the occasion, I’ve pulled together some fascinating facts to entice you in to loving them even more, if that’s possible.
• Hedgehogs have between 5,000 and 7,000 spines, each one lasting about a year before dropping out and regrowing.
• An ARRAY is the term for a group of hedgehogs.
• Hedgehogs are so called because of their tendency to forage for food underneath hedges, while making grunting noises like a pig.
• A hedgehog’s eyesight is poor, so relies on its hearing and sense of smell to navigate.
• An average hedgehog could house up to 500 fleas (Archaepsylla erinacel) but humans don’t feature on their favourite food menu, as they rarely bite us.
• Hedgehogs are lactose intolerant, so milk is a definite no-no for these creatures.
• A hoglet is the name for a baby hedgehog.
• Hedgehogs have a strange habit of self-anointing their quills with a foamy saliva when they experience a strong smell or taste. It’s not clear why they do this.
• A hedgehog is known as the ‘gardener’s friend’ because it feeds on slugs, caterpillars and beetles, acting like an environmentally-friendly pesticide.
• The hedgehog can run an impressive distance of over six feet per second. Usain Bolt eat your heart out!
For those of you lucky enough to live in Darley Dale or the surrounding areas, why not take the opportunity to see a hedgehog ‘up close and personal’ and pop along to see Lesley Robinson – a hedgehog rescuer and authority — giving a talk on the subject. It will take place on 17th February 2020 at 6pm – perfect for the kids in the half-term break – and a steal at £3 a ticket, including refreshments. What’s not to love!