I'm more than just a pretty face, says the tiny hedgehog

August 3, 2014, 1 p.m.
hedgehog in garden

Photo: Timm Jensen/MNN Flickr Group

A garden visitor

There's a reason hedgehogs are so popular. They're as cute as anything we can imagine, with a puff-ball of a body and a sweet little face poking out from among the spines. They've actually become popular as pets (though it is illegal to do so in many states) and one has found fame on Instagram as a world traveler. But there's so much more to these critters than being cute. For instance, did you know that the smallest hedgehog ever, Silvacola acares, lived 52 million years ago in a rain forest in northern British Columbia. And by small, we mean smaaaalll. It was only about 2 inches long. That's compared to today's hedgehogs that can range from 5-14 inches, depending on the species. Also, there are somewhere between 5,000 to 7,000 spines on an average adult hedgehog. But don't mistake them for quills -- they act more like armor, staying attached to the hedgehog rather than detaching like porcupine quills. There is so much that is fascinating about these little darlings. You can find out more in our article of 22 things you didn't know about hedgehogs.

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Jaymi Heimbuch is a writer and photographer at Mother Nature Network. Follow her on Google+, and Facebook.