The Great Big Hedgehog Quiz

The Great Big Hedgehog Quiz

Learn what to feed hedgehogs, Image by Martin Yelland

Rowena Millar, Cornwall Wildlife Trust's (currently Non-Roving) Wildlife Reporter, has adopted the role of wildlife Christmas quizmaster for her latest blog. How many questions can you answer about Britain's favourite mammal - the hedgehog!

Difficulty: varied. Don’t give up: the final round is much easier than the others. Answers at the end in the drop down box.

Round 1: Origins of the hedgehog

  1. When did hedgehogs first evolve?
  2. Name up to four continents without any native hedgehogs
  3. Is the hedgehog related to the porcupine?
  4. Is the echidna (sometimes called the spiny anteater) a type of hedgehog?
  5. Name two British mammals that are related to the hedgehog (also in the order Eulipotophyla)
  6. Hedgehogs hibernate in winter. Can you name the only two other types of native wild mammal in the UK that truly hibernate?
  7. What is the scientific name of our native European hedgehog?

Round 2: The naming of hedgehogs

  1. What do we call a baby hedgehog?
  2. What do we call a female hedgehog?
  3. What do we call a male hedgehog?
  4. Can you think of any local names for hedgehogs in Britain?

Round 3: What can a hedgehog do?

  1. Can a hedgehog climb?
  2. Hedgehogs do not scent mark. What do they do instead?
  3. Are hedgehogs any good at swimming?
  4. Does a hedgehog shed its spines?
  5. What age can a hedgehog reach in the wild in the UK?

Round 4: Hedgehog anatomy

  1. How many spines does an adult hedgehog have?
  2. What are hedgehog spines made of?
  3. How long is an adult hedgehog in centimetres?

Round 5: Helping hedgehogs

(Looking for help? Many answers can be found here)

  1. Is the hedgehog officially classified as vulnerable to extinction?
  2. Hedgehogs have become scarce in our countryside, but wildlife-friendly gardens give them real hope of survival. Name five ways to find out if there are hedgehogs in your garden
  3. What is the lightest weight estimated for a hedgehog’s winter survival?
  4. What is considered a safe weight for winter survival?
  5. How much does a large adult hedgehog weigh?
  6. What should a hedgehog be given to drink?
  7. What should a hedgehog be given to eat?
  8. Should you flea spray a hedgehog?
  9. Should you seek help for a hedgehog that is about in the daytime?
  10. Name up to five dangers to hedgehogs in gardens
  11. Name some garden features that benefit hedgehogs 

The answers!

Click here to reveal the answers

Round 1: Origins of the hedgehog

  1. When did hedgehogs first evolve?

15 million years ago. They are one of the oldest mammal species on Earth, and they have hardly changed in all those years because they were well designed to survive.

  1. Name up to four continents without any native hedgehogs

North America, South America, Australasia and Oceania, Antarctica

  1. Is the hedgehog related to the porcupine?

No, the porcupine is a large rodent (order Rodentia), whereas the hedgehog is in the order of insectivorous mammals, Eulipotophyla

  1. Is the echidna (sometimes called the spiny anteater) a type of hedgehog?

No, the echidna is in the egg-laying mammal order Monotremata, along with the platypus

  1. Name two British mammals that are related to the hedgehog (also in the order Eulipotophyla)

Mole, shrew

  1. Hedgehogs hibernate in winter. Can you name the only two other types of native wild mammal in the UK that truly hibernate?

Hazel dormouse, bats

  1. What is the scientific name of our native European hedgehog?

Erinaceus europaeus

Round 2: The naming of hedgehogs

  1. What do we call a baby hedgehog?

Hoglet

  1. What do we call a female hedgehog?

Sow

  1. What do we call a male hedgehog?

Boar

  1. Can you think of any local names for hedgehogs in Britain?

Urchin

Hedgepig

Furze-pig

Hotchi-witchi (Romany)

Round 3: What can a hedgehog do?

  1. Can a hedgehog climb?

Yes, but not over vertical barriers such as garden fences

  1. Hedgehogs do not scent mark. What do they do instead?

Hedgehogs self anoint. This involves licking or chewing something with a smell, then spreading their smelly, often foamy-looking saliva over their body.

  1. Are hedgehogs any good at swimming?

Yes, they are good swimmers and can swim across rivers, but they need an escape route to climb out of steep-sided ponds and pits

  1. Does a hedgehog shed its spines?

Yes, young hedgehogs do go through a spine-shedding process known as quilling at around 4-6 weeks, 12 weeks and 4 months old, but adults do not shed their spines

  1. What age can a hedgehog reach in the wild in the UK?

2-7 years

Round 4: Hedgehog anatomy

  1. How many spines does an adult hedgehog have?

5,000 to 7,000

  1. What are hedgehog spines made of?

Keratin, the same as hair, claws, scales, hooves and feathers and the outer layer of skin of vertebrates. Each spine is hollow.

  1. How long is an adult hedgehog in centimetres?

Usually up to the length of a normal ruler: 30cm (12 inches) but they can grow up to 35cm including the tail. Males are slightly bigger than females

Round5: Helping hedgehogs

  1. Is the hedgehog officially classified as vulnerable to extinction?

Yes, it was added to the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) Red List in July 2020

  1. Hedgehogs have become scarce in our countryside, but wildlife-friendly gardens give them real hope of survival. Name five ways to find out if there are hedgehogs in your garden:
  • Look for footprints (you can make a simple footprint tunnel using the video featured in my 'Hedgehogs in the garden - Autumn and Winter advice' blog)
  • Look for droppings
  • Listen for snuffling noises in the dark
  • Look for signs of trails and tunnels through and under vegetation such as hedges
  • Install a night-vision, movement-activated trail camera to photograph or film wildlife at night
  1. What is the lightest weight estimated for a hedgehog’s winter survival?

450g (1 lb)

  1. What is considered a safe weight for winter survival?

600g (1.5oz)

  1. How much does a large adult hedgehog weigh?

Up to 1.25 kilos (about 2 lb 12oz)

  1. What should a hedgehog be given to drink?

Water. (They like milk, but they are lactose-intolerant and milk makes them ill)

  1. What should a hedgehog be given to eat?
  • Meaty cat or dog biscuits
  • Meaty cat or dog food from a can
  • Calci-worms rather than normal mealworms, which are too low in calcium, leading to metabolic bone disease
  • Proprietary hedgehog food (available from pet shops)
  1. Should you flea spray a hedgehog?

No. Hedgehogs are sensitive to pesticides

  1. Should you seek help for a hedgehog that is about in the daytime?

Yes, this is not normal behaviour. Contact a rescue centre such as Prickles and Paws

  1. Name five dangers to hedgehogs in gardens
  • Slug pellets and other garden poisons and chemicals
  • Solid fences with no holes for hedgehogs to get in or out
  • Use of sharp tools including strimmers, lawnmowers and garden forks
  • What we leave around: bonfires waiting to be lit, netting, plastic bags, drinks pack rings, twine
  • Steep-sided ponds, holes and open drains that hedgehogs can fall into
  1. Name six garden features that benefit hedgehogs

Hedge

Pond (shallow-edged)

Wood or branch pile

Compost heap

Quiet wild corner

Plants that attract and shelter insects

Hedgehog drawing by Rowena Millar

How many did you answer correctly?

Let us know on Twitter or Facebook!

Have a great Christmas and a happy New Year!

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To coordinate hedgehog-saving action across the county and ensure these activities are effective, we need your help. Right now, the best action you can take is to donate to the Hedgehog Appeal.

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