Hedgehogs get their name from their foraging habits. In the wild, they often root through hedges and undergrowth searching for food while making grunting noises like a pig. Thus the name Hedgehogs!
They are often confused with porcupines because both species have quills, but the two species are not actually related. Hedgehogs and porcupines developed quills independently of each other. Hedgehogs quills are sharp like a needle, where porcupine quills are barbed like a fish hook. Contrary to popular belief, neither species can “shoot” their quills, however, porcupines can release their quills once they have hooked into an attacker (ouch!).
These amazing creatures are immune to some snake and scorpion venom and even some poisonous plants. Hedgehogs can provide themselves with extra protection by performing an act called “self anointing” where they eat these poisonous plants or other smelly things and create a frothy saliva that they vomit all over their spines. This may help hide the hedgehog's scent, or it may give a predator a poisonous shock if they try to attack. It’s also a surprising behavior to observe, especially if the self-annointer in questions is your pet hedgehog!
Hedgehogs mainly stay on the ground, though some can climb trees and are quite good swimmers. While searching for food, they can run 8-12 miles every night! They often run these same distances in captivity on their wheels.
A hedgehog’s nose can move side to side independently of their head to help pinpoint the source of a smell. They have an excellent sense of smell, and can sniff out a worm up to 2 inches underneath the ground! This helps them locate some of their favorite foods which include insects, small mice, snails, lizards, frogs, eggs, and even snakes and scorpions!