What Do Hedgehogs Eat? - Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Suzanne Rose

Suzanne has taught all levels PK-graduate school and has a PhD in Instructional Systems Design. She currently teachers literacy courses to preservice and inservice teachers.

How much food would you need to eat if you ate your weight in food every night? That's what hedgehogs do! Read this lesson to find out more about this prickly little mammal and what it likes to eat.

All About Hedgehogs

Hedgehogs are smallish mammals with a triangle-shaped face and a pointy nose. You may never have seen a hedgehog because they're nocturnal animals, which means they are active at night. They also have poor eyesight, but an excellent sense of smell, and they use their noses to help them find food, making a snuffling sound when searching in the undergrowth for something to eat. Probably their most obvious physical feature is that they are covered with spines! When a hedgehog gets scared, it rolls up into a ball, so its spines can protect it from predators.

A hedgehog rolls into a ball for protection.

Hedgehogs mostly live in hedgerows, meadows, and woodlands, and they hibernate in the winter. Most hedgehogs weigh between 650 grams and 2 kilograms, which would be the same weight as about 1 golf ball up to as many as 45 golf balls.

In England, hedgehogs are endangered because the areas in which they hunt for food are being used for building houses and businesses, and for agriculture. Because of this, there are fewer types of plants in these areas, which decreases the available food for hedgehogs.

A Wild Hedgehog's Diet

In the wild, hedgehogs eat many different things - they're not fussy eaters! In fact, they're omnivores that eat both plants and animals. Hedgehogs mostly eat insects and invertebrates, including worms, snails, slugs, beetles, caterpillars, earwigs, and millipedes.

Hedgehogs eat both plants and animals.

Hedgehogs are also called opportunistic feeders, which means they will take advantage of an opportunity to all kinds of things when they are easily available. They'll eat mice, baby birds, eggs, frogs, baby rodents, mushrooms, and fruit that has fallen from trees. They also have been known to eat carrion, which are dead animals.

Hedgehogs have huge appetites. You wouldn't expect a small animal like a hedgehog to eat much, but they do. A hedgehog will eat up to its own body weight in food every night!

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