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Why Are Hedgehogs Called Hedgehogs? (How They Got Their Name)

Why Are Hedgehogs Called Hedgehogs? (How They Got Their Name)

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The purpose of this blog is to share general information and is written to the author's best knowledge. It is not intended to be used in place of veterinary advice. For health concerns, please seek proper veterinary care. In addition, as an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Hedgehogs have been popular small pets for quite some time now. They’re certainly cute little animals that many people love interacting with.

Owning them as pets should be a good experience. You might be wondering why they’re called hedgehogs, though.

Why are hedgehogs called hedgehogs? Is there a story behind the name?

Continue reading to learn about the history of the hedgehog name. It’ll give you a greater appreciation for these fun little pets.

How Hedgehogs Got Their Name

You might be surprised to hear that hedgehogs got their name due to their unique foraging methods. The hedge part of the name comes from the fact that these animals are known to root through hedges looking for food.

They search hedges to see if they can find worms, centipedes, insects, mice, snails, and frogs to eat. Hedgehogs have even been known to eat some small snakes.

You’ll also find that hedgehogs build their nests in hedges, shrubs, and bushes. So this likely contributed to them being named hedgehogs.

The hog part of the name is a little bit different. These animals got the hog designation due to the sounds they make.

When listening to hedgehogs, you’ll hear them snorting and grunting in a similar fashion to hogs. The sounds reminded people of hogs so much that they started referring to them as hedgehogs.

People also think that these little creatures resemble pigs a bit. They certainly aren’t pigs, but you might be able to see a slight resemblance.

Hedgehogs Used to Be Known as Urchins

In the distant past, hedgehogs were not called hedgehogs at all. During the middle ages, hedgehogs were referred to as “urchins” in English.

Today, you might be more familiar with urchins living in the sea. It’s interesting to know that the sea urchins that you know are only called urchins because people thought they resembled hedgehogs.

Since hedgehogs were once known as urchins, people started referring to the urchins in the sea as “sea urchins.” Both creatures are rather spiny and it’s easy to see why people made the connection.

As time moved forward, the term urchin stopped being used to refer to hedgehogs. The history of these animals being called urchins is now just a little fun fact that you can tell to your friends.

How Long Do Pet Hedgehogs Live?

How long your pet hedgehog will live will depend on the quality of care that it receives. If you do a very poor job, your hedgehog could die within a few years.

It’s more common for these pets to live for at least five years, though. They aren’t too difficult to care for overall so long as you’re willing to put in the basic effort that is necessary to keep them healthy.

If you do an excellent job caring for the hedgehog, it might live for as long as eight years in your home. Some have even lived for longer than eight years as pets.

Just be sure to look up care information for the type of hedgehog that you wish to own. This will ensure that you can do things properly right away to keep the hedgehog in good health.

Why Are Hedgehogs Illegal in Some Places?

There are some states in the United States that have chosen to ban hedgehogs as pets. You might be wondering why they would choose to do this.

Are hedgehogs dangerous? They can be when you look at it from a certain perspective.

Hedgehogs are known to carry a dangerous and contagious disease known as foot-and-mouth disease. Many people shy away from keeping them as pets because of this.

It’s also important to note that hedgehogs are potential carriers of salmonella bacteria. They can even carry both viral and fungal diseases.

There are other reasons why states might choose to ban pet hedgehogs to consider. Some states have banned them due to the potential for hedgehogs to be released into the wild.

A sudden surge in the wild hedgehog population would throw off the local ecosystem. This could be disastrous for local wildlife and it’s not something that should be allowed to occur.

Before going out to buy a pet hedgehog, it’s best to make sure that it’s legal to own them in your area. If it’s not, you’ll have to wait until the laws change or move to an area where hedgehogs are legal pets.

Can Hedgehogs Live Together?

Generally, it’s best for hedgehogs to be kept in their own cages. However, there have been situations where hedgehogs have thrived when kept in the same habitat.

The easiest way to find success with this is to keep two female hedgehogs together. They shouldn’t be quite as likely to fight as opposite-sex pairings.

Two males will usually wind up fighting all the time so it’s recommended to try two females together. Even though this can work out, understand that things can go wrong.

If you intend to keep hedgehogs in the same cage, it’s important to use a cage that’s more than big enough. Otherwise, the hedgehogs could wind up fighting.

Hedgehogs need to be introduced to each other slowly, too. You should keep the new hedgehog in a temporary cage until you’re sure that the two hedgehogs can get along.

Do Hedgehogs Smell Bad?

Before buying a hedgehog, you might be wondering if it’ll make your home smell. Hedgehogs shouldn’t smell bad normally.

If your hedgehog ever does smell a bit funky, it’s likely that you haven’t been cleaning the cage enough. You need to clean the hedgehog cage regularly and it’s also imperative to change the bedding out often enough.

Typically, you need to change the bedding out weekly. Some types of bedding, such as fabric bedding, should be changed every two or three days.

The bedding gets nasty after a while and you need to clean it or get new bedding. If you’re using wood shavings, paper shavings, or other disposable types of bedding, you’ll be replacing them.

Fabric bedding should be washed and reused. Clean the cage by doing regular spot cleaning and once weekly larger cleaning sessions.

Are Hedgehogs Good Pets for Beginners?

Whether hedgehogs are good pets for beginners or not is a tough question to answer. On one hand, these pets are rather low-maintenance.

However, it’s not easy to handle these little pets due to their sharp spines. These pets are also nocturnal, and that might make them less than ideal for some.

Even so, they can be very rewarding pets to care for. They are known to bond with their owners and a hedgehog habitat doesn’t take up a lot of space in your house.

You might want to consider the risks of buying a hedgehog such as the potential for the pet to carry diseases. Many people say that hedgehogs require too much special care to be practical pets for most children.

Final Thoughts

Learning that hedgehogs are called hedgehogs because of how often they can be found in hedges should make a lot of sense. They scrounge for food by looking in hedges and they make their homes in hedges, bushes, or shrubs.

They’re referred to as “hogs” because of the little noises that they make. In the past, hedgehogs were referred to as urchins.

These little animals make interesting pets. Before you buy one as a pet, it’s important to make sure that you’re prepared to meet the care requirements of the animal.

Also, remember that hedgehogs aren’t legal to own as pets everywhere. You need to look into local laws to see what is and isn’t possible where you live.

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