By Dina Ginzburg
Hedgehogs aren’t exactly the first animals that come to mind when we think “endangered species,” but reports show that in the past 10 years, a quarter of the population has disappeared. With new buildings popping up like mushrooms, drivers in cars not watching the roads properly and people being careless with the disposals of harmful substances, hedgehogs are finding it harder and harder to walk in their habitats and find food, so the population has gone down.
British politicians want these spiky little critters to be given a protected status, making it illegal to harm them and encouraging efforts to help them out. Hedgehogs are important for the ecosystem because they help keep the worm, slug, frog and bird population under control. Take away the hedgehogs, and Europeans may see an increase in wiggly bugs on the sidewalk on a rainy day.
Hopefully hedgehogs get a protected status to keep them safe! They’re so tiny and cute and they need us to speak up for them and make sure that they can live healthy lives!
Six Things You Might Not Know About Hedgehogs:
- Baby hedgehogs are called hoglets and are born with soft spines.
- There are no hedgehogs living in the wild in Canada, Australia or America.
- They got their name in 1450, from the Middle English word “heyg” (which means hedge) because they bristle to look like hedges and “hoge” (which means hog) because they have pig-like snouts.
- They eat a wide variety of things, from watermelon to snakes to snails.
- It’s illegal to own a hedgehog as a pet in the U.K. because they are endangered. Some cities in Canada and some states in the U.S. also ban owning hedgehogs.
- Hedgehogs like getting their heads stuck in things. Owners provide tubes for them to play with. McDonalds had to change the design of their McFlurry cups by making them wider to stop hedgehogs from getting trapped inside.