Today, February 2, is not just any other day – it is, actually, a very special day.
No, Justin Bieber did not release a new album, the Backstreet Boys are not having a reunion tour, and neither has the date for Game Of Thrones’s final season been pushed closer.
Today is, in fact, National Hedgehog Day! (No, not Groundhog Day – that’s a movie). National Hedgehog Day is a whole day dedicated to celebrating the spiky, adorable creatures. You might have heard of some of the most famous hedgehogs, like Sonic The Hedgehog, or Beatrix Potter’s character, the hedgehog washerwoman Mrs. Tiggy-Winkles, but hedgehogs everywhere deserve to be honored this day, if only for how cute they are.
So, scroll down to see a list of hedgehog facts you might not have known and pictures of some really adorable hedgehogs.
1. Hedgehog spikes are actually just hollow hair stiffened by keratin.
2. Hedgehogs have about 5,000 to 7,000 spikes which they can raise or lower if they are in a threatening situation.
3. There are seventeen species of hedgehog.
4. Hedgehogs are quite vocal and can communicate through grunting and snuffling.
Photo Credit: yepright
5. They don’t have the best eyesight, so they rely on their hearing and sense of smell.
6. They got their name because when they forage through hedges for food, they make a pig-like sound.
7.The collective noun for hedgehogs is called an array.
8. They’re not very social, though, and only pair up for mating.
9. When hedgehogs are threatened they curl up in a ball so they can protect their stomach.
10. Hedgehogs are nocturnal -they come out at night, and spend the day sleeping under bushes or thick shrubs.
11. It’s illegal to keep a hedgehog as a pet in many parts of the US because they’re considered wildlife.
12. Hedgehogs can live for four to seven years in the wild, which is a lot for animals of their size.
13. Due to the protein erinacin in their muscle system, hedgehogs are largely (but not entirely) immune to snake venom.
14. They have a long snout, which helps them forage for food.
15. Depending on the species, hedgehogs are usually about 5 to 14 inches, plus a 1-2 inch tail.
16. Baby hedgehogs usually leave their nests and head out on their own 4-7 weeks after being born.
17. Before they got the name “hedgehogs”, they were called “urchins”, inspired by the spiky sea creatures.
18. In cold climates, hedgehogs hibernate over winter, and in warm climates, they sleep through the heat.
But in areas with more moderate temperatures, they stay active year-around.
19. And finally, hedgehogs are very, very cute.
Happy National Hedgehog Day, everyone! Which one was your favorite hedgehog fact? Did any surprise you? Let us know in the comments.