For kids: the world of hedgehogs | Sanitas magazine

Hedgehog – For kids

Hedgehog – For kids

The hedgehog is one of the oldest living mammals. Sani takes a closer look at this spiky little animal and shows you how to make your own. Have fun!

Hedgehog ABC

The common hedgehog that is native to Switzerland can be found throughout Europe. Its characteristic features include small ears, a pointy snout and lighter fur around its chest. The hedgehog is commonly between 20 and 30 cm long and can weigh up to 1.5 kg. The average lifespan of a hedgehog is about 2–3 years, but they can live up to around 8 years.

Did you know that an adult hedgehog has between 6,000 and 8,000 spines each measuring around 2 to 3 cm? These protect the hedgehog against its natural predators, such as the eagle owl, fox and badger. If the hedgehog feels threatened, it curls into a ball and exposes its spines. However, humans are actually the hedgehog’s No. 1 enemy, because we destroy their habitat by interfering with the natural environment.

Hedgehogs have sensitive hearing and an excellent sense of smell, but their sight is relatively poor. Did you know that hedgehogs sleep during the day? They hunt for food – particularly beetles, caterpillars, grasshoppers, earwigs, snails and spiders – at night and rest during the day.

Hedgehogs hibernate from November through to the end of March, preferring to stay in warm nests during the winter as there is less food available at this time of year. During hibernation, a hedgehog loses up to a third of its body weight. That’s why hedgehogs build up fat reserves during the autumn as a means of storing energy. They minimise their bodily functions, lowering their body temperature from 36°C to around 5°C.

Leafy hedgehog

Sani shows how you to make a hedgehog from colourful autumn leaves. You can print out the instructions and template at the links below. Have fun