Hedgehogs GIFs Cliparts
A hedgehog is a spiny mammal of the subfamily Erinaceinae, in the eulipotyphlan family Erinaceidae. There are seventeen species of hedgehog in five genera found throughout 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. However, 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 fifteen million years. Like many of the first mammals, they have adapted to a nocturnal way of life. Their spiny protection resembles that of porcupines, which are rodents, and echidnas, a type of monotreme. 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. Other names include urchin, hedgepig and furze-pig. Physical description Hedgehogs are easily recognized by their spines, which are hollow hairs made stiff with keratin.
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