Daisy Hedgehog

Karin Taylor

Lennox Head, Australia

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Artist's Description

A hedgehog is any of the spiny mammals of the subfamily Erinaceinae, in the eulipotyphlan family Erinaceidae. There are seventeen species of hedgehog in five genera found through parts of Europe, Asia, and Africa, and in New Zealand by introduction. There are no hedgehogs native to Australia and no living species native to the Americas (the extinct genus Amphechinus was once present in North America).

Hedgehogs share distant ancestry with shrews (family Soricidae), with gymnures possibly being the intermediate link, and they have changed little over the last 15 million years.2 Like many of the first mammals, they have adapted to a nocturnal way of life.3 Their spiny protection resembles that of the unrelated porcupines, which are rodents, and echidnas, a type of monotreme. (wikipedia)

Etymology
The name hedgehog came into use around the year 1450, derived from the Middle English heyghoge, from heyg, hegge (“hedge”), because it frequents hedgerows, and hoge, hogge (“hog”), from its piglike snout.4 Other names include urchin, hedgepig and furze-pig. (wikipedia)

Hedgehogs have a relatively long lifespan for their size. Larger species of hedgehogs live 4–7 years in the wild (some have been recorded up to 16 years), and smaller species live 2–4 years (4–7 in captivity), compared to a mouse at 2 years and a large rat at 3–5 years. Lack of predators and controlled diet contribute to a longer lifespan in captivity (8–10 years depending on size).

Hedgehogs are born blind with a protective membrane covering their quills, which dries and shrinks over the next several hours.11 The quills emerge through the skin after they have been cleaned, or it falls off.12 (wikipedia)

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