Time to learn a bit more about hedgehogs, these cute little animals are rather popular on the internet these days!
Today we’ll cover some interesting facts about them as well as the answer to the crucial question – how good is their eyesight and can they see in the dark?
Can hedgehogs see in the dark? Hedgehogs are nocturnal animals, so their night vision is slightly better than their daytime vision. Their overall vision, however, is actually very poor, so they don’t see well in the dark or the light. Basically, they can see the outlines of some objects like trees and their color palette is limited to shades of brown and cream.
This isn’t a problem for hedgehogs because they don’t rely on their eyesight much anyway. The rest of their senses make up for the bad eyesight. Especially their excellent hearing and sense of smell.
How Much Do You Know About Hedgehogs?
Hedgehogs are rather interesting animals with rounded bodies covered in approximately 5000 to 7000 dark, prickly spines with yellow tips. Their legs, bellies, and the face, on the under side, are covered in coarse hair. They also have a short tail.
These interesting animals have an intelligent self-protecting mechanism to protect their vulnerable stomach: they curl up into a small, spiky ball when they sense something potentially dangerous is coming.
When you see them in such a position, it means they’re scared and see you or something else from their surroundings as a threat.
Their quills are the main weapon they have against predators. To be precise, these are something like modified hair that’s hollow from the inside.
Each hair is made of a row of complex air chambers – that’s why their spines are rather light, but also strong enough to fight back when necessary.
Muscles along the hedgehog’s back will move up and down depending on the level of threat the animal senses at the moment.
When it sees something threatening is coming, this animal will extend its spines and shift the weight distribution of them. So, due to moving the back muscles, the hedgehog’s spines actually spread out and become sharper.
A Little Bit More About These Lovely Animals
Their name is a combination of ‘hedge’, the part that comes from their beloved habitat where they build their nests hedges, shrubs, and bushes – and those grunts they make where they sound like a pig (warthog).
Their group is called an “array”. However, you won’t see it that much, because they are solitary animals who mostly come together only when it’s time to mate. The rest of the time they wander around on their own.
They’re quite independent and become that way from a very early age. When they’re about 3 to 4 weeks old, they go forage with their mother. After maybe 10 days, they will venture out on their own.
When they’re foraging on their own, hedgehogs can travel for almost 2 miles – which is a pretty long way for their small legs!
How Do They Catch Food Then?
These animals may not have big ears, but they are just in the right position to pick up critical sounds coming from their surroundings and their ears are rather sensitive, which helps them to hear high tones. Their hearing frequency range goes from 250 and 45,000 Hz. To compare it with humans, we can hear from 20 to 20,000 Hz.
So, since they don’t rely on their eyesight, their hearing helps them find food. Since they can recognize higher frequencies, they can hear both prey and predators that are nearby.
Also, good hearing comes as one of the things that helps these animals to orient themselves while on tasks like, for example, crossing the road.
If they hear something that might interest them, you will see them standing very still. That way, they can hear sounds even better without being disrupted from the rustling of their spines while walking.
Still, excellent hearing is only their second most important sense. The first and the most used one is their sense of smell. Hedgehogs have quite sharp noses which they use to sniff out potential food or intruders.
They simply catch scents in the breeze, since they always sniff around as they walk. Picking up the scent is how they also find others of their species too.
Some Final Words
Hedgehogs are rather interesting animals; vulnerable from the underside, with up to 7,000 quills on the outer part of their bodies. They’re quite independent and, unless it’s time for mating, they’re mostly on their own, wandering around and looking for food.
They’re nocturnal animals with really poor eyesight. Although their eyes are adjusted to seeing in the dark, they really have poor vision where they can only recognize outlines of some objects without perceiving depths or recognizing what really stands in front of them.
In comparison, humans have way better vision.
However, their excellent hearing and sense of smell make up for the lack of good eyesight – which is something that helps them both catch food and defend themselves from predators.