National Hedgehog Day
Ouch! National Hedgehog Day celebrates these adorable creatures, but it is important to remember this warning: Don’t get too close! National Hedgehog Day is a great day to do your part to protect hedgehogs.
There are 14 species worldwide of hedgehogs, with the majority being found in Europe, Africa and Asia. These shy, nocturnal, and lonely creatures can be found most often in green spaces like parks, woods, or gardens. Hedgehogs are, of course, a popular spot for these mammals. This is due to their small noses and piglike snuffling.
We all know that hedgehogs have spines. But what you might not know is that these spines actually consist of hollow hairs made stiffened with keratin. The spines of hedgehogs are approximately 5,000 in total when fully grown. Hedgehogs use their many spines (around 5,000 when fully grown) to defend themselves from danger. They roll into tight balls so that all spikes point outwards. They also use them to make cheese and pineapple at cocktail parties, although this …! is not well-known. ).
Hedgehogs are reliant on their senses of smell. They can sense danger and detect food as low as an inch. Hedgehogs are omnivores. They are best known for eating creepy crawlies like earthworms and slugs. However, they will also eat small frogs and birds eggs, as well as delicious berries and mushrooms. They are able to travel up to 2-3 kms and tend to seek out food at night.
Hedgehogs have a strange habit of self-anointing – it seems that this is connected to their irregular tastes or smells. They create large amounts of frothy saliva, which they then rub over their spines with the tongue. Please don’t disturb them during this process. It’s almost like catching someone in a shower.
Self-anointing may not be their most charming feature, but the fact that they are called hoglets is certainly! The litter of hedgehogs is born in late spring/early Summer. The young spend about a month in the nest before moving on to the big wide world.
National Hedgehog Day was a Roman tradition that preceded the modern ‘Groundhog Day. Groundhogs are native North America. However, other animals in Europe have been used to predict the arrival of spring and the end of winter. This ancient Roman tradition has been passed on to other European folklore, especially in Ireland. A hedgehog seen at the beginning of February was believed to signify good weather and the promise of warmer days. However, a non-showing hedgehog meant that winter would continue for many more weeks.
This may have not been a reliable way to forecast weather, particularly since hedgehogs hibernate between November and March. However, they do emerge from hibernation occasionally during these months to switch nesting sites. Ancient weather watchers will most likely have spotted hedgehogs going somewhere else to continue hibernating.
Hibernating can be dangerous for these animals. Hedgehogs can die in their first winter, particularly if they have been starved. It is vital that hedgehogs have enough food to sustain them until spring, as their body temperature, breathing and heart rate drop dramatically.
National Hedgehog Day coincided with the 1994 release date in the USA for Sonic the Hedgehog 3. There have been many famous hedgehogs, but Sonic is the most popular. He’s the fastest and has appeared in several Japanese video games. Beatrix Potter, a British children’s author, created Mrs. Tiggy Winkle, another well-known hedgehog. She is also very good at laundry. The hedgehog is a popular subject in poetry and parables.
The best way to commemorate National Hedgehog Day? To help these adorable, prickly creatures. Hedgehog numbers are declining in some areas of the world, especially Europe. This may be due to many factors, including habitat loss due to urbanization and agriculture, food shortages due to pesticide use and parasite disease.
If you have a garden that is prime habitat for hedgehogs, then make it hedgehog-safe. Before you mow your lawn, make sure to check for spiny visitors and create an escape route from your pond. Hedgehogs love bonfires, so make sure to check them before you light them. Also, be careful with the netting because they can get tangled easily! Keep a hedgehog warm, and give it freshwater along with cat or dog food. This is better than giving it milk or bread. Then, you can either take the hedgehog to a local rescue centre or, if it is happy, let it go back into nature.
There are many things you can do that will make your garden more hedgehog-friendly. Each hedgehog will have its own home area of 30 hectares. This is why hedgehog highways are so important in urban areas. By creating gaps between or tunnels under fences that allow hedgehogs to roam freely, you can make sure they have food. A wide variety of plants can increase the number of insects in your garden and provide a tasty feast for every hedgehog that passes by. You can encourage them to settle in your garden by building a small home for them or by putting up logs and leaves.
Hedgehog cakes can be fun to make with kids. If you are serious about saving hedgehogs, you might even consider selling your cakes to raise funds for a charity that preserves hedgehogs. To help track numbers, you can sign up for a citizen scientist project. Some charities and organizations offer the opportunity to adopt a hedgehog either for yourself or for someone you love.
It’s sure that you will have a spectacular day celebrating it!