How many spines does a hedgehog have?
It would be a great question for a quiz - How many spines does a hedgehog have? Depending on the age, the number differs. Hedgehog babies already have the first spines at birth, which are still very soft.
Hedgehog, the spiky fur
The hedgehog's robust spiny coat serves as a defense against its enemies. But how many spines are there actually? An adult hedgehog has between 6000 and 8000 spines. These vary in color from beige to brown. This allows the hedgehog to camouflage itself well in the foliage and on the ground. The spines of the hedgehog are made of horn and are hollow inside. Each individual spine is equipped with its own muscle. This means that the hedgehog's curling up in danger consists of a complex interaction of many thousands of muscles.
Number of spines in baby hedgehog
Young hedgehogs come into the world with about 100 spines. These have a white color and are still very soft. After about 3 weeks, when the little hedgehogs open their eyes, the spines fall out and are replaced by harder ones. They then also get their dark color. In the adult hedgehog, the spines have a length of two to three centimeters and are about one to two millimeters thick.
Spines, the weapons of the hedgehog
The spines are made of horn (keratin). This protein gives the spines both strength and resilience.
As soon as the hedgehog senses even the slightest danger, he pulls his legs under his body. This allows him to curl up into a ball within a second. At the same time, he tenses his muscles so that the spines erect. Through these spines, predators can practically not penetrate. The hedgehog can remain in this position for many hours. In hibernation, he often spends many weeks in this position without moving.
At the same time, the spines also protect the hedgehog in the event of a fall. Each individual spine is sharp and firm - but in the mass they are flexible and unbreakable. So the hedgehog can also cushion falls from great heights with them.
How often does the hedgehog change its spines?
In normal life, the hedgehog changes its spines three times. The first generation spines fall out just a few days after birth. These are then replaced by spines of the second generation. So the little one soon has its first 300 spines.
Adult hedgehogs can also lose spines from time to time. These grow back again in a similar way to the fur of other animals. A major reason for the loss of spines is stress in the hedgehog or an infestation with parasites.
Garden animal - A life with nature
Welcome to my animal blog! My name is Dirk and I am happy to take you on my journey through the fascinating world of animals and gardening.
Born 54 years ago, I have had an insatiable curiosity for the animal world around me since childhood. Although I have moved professionally in other industries, my true passion has always been animals and nature. It is remarkable how a small garden has become such an important part of my life.
Many of my fondest memories are associated with the animals that share our home. Whether it's the curious squirrels that scurry across the trees in the morning, the colorful variety of birds that visit our feeders, or the busy bees and butterflies that pollinate our flowers, every moment with them is invaluable to me.
This blog is my contribution to share my experiences, discoveries and insights with like-minded people. Here I will share stories of unforgettable encounters with animals, give tips on gardening and creating wildlife-friendly habitats, and take you on my journeys through nature.
Thank you so much for being here!
Dirk aka garden animal