Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.


Hedgehog, any species of the genus Erinaceus, the type of the Old World Insectivorous family Erinaceidte. In this family the zygomatic arch is complete, the small bones (the tibia and fibula) of the hind limbs are united, and the back is clothed with hairs more or less mixed with spines. The common hedgehog (E. erinaceus), about 10 inches long, is British, and, like the other thirteen species, has the power of rolling itself up in a ball, so as to present only the spiny armour of the back to a foe. The legs are so short that the belly nearly touches the ground as the animal moves ; the spines are dirty-white, ringed with black, the coarse hair yellowish-white, and the sharply-pointed nose black. The species are nocturnal, and feed on insects, molluscs, frogs, toads, snakes, and vipers. The common hedgehog is sometimes kept to clear houses of cockroaches. The only other genus, Gymnura, has a single species (G. rqfflesii), a shrew-like animal, some 26 inches long, 12 of which comprise the tail.

It is a native of the Eastern Archipelago, and has a few bristles mixed with the softer hairs, but it cannot roll itself up into a ball.