One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1A small nocturnal Old World mammal with a spiny coat and short legs, able to roll itself into a ball for defence.
Family Erinaceidae: four genera and several species, including the common Erinaceus europaeus (which is predominantly insectivorous) of western and northern Europe
- ‘The mammals the researchers studied were the platypus, echidna, opossum, wallaby, hedgehog, mouse, rat, rabbit, cow, pig, bat, tree shrew, colugo, ringtail lemur, and humans.’
- ‘He has taken photographs of hedgehogs and grey squirrels, the latter coming running when they are called.’
- ‘It is said that if the fox finds the hedgehog near water it can coax him from his defensive shell by rolling him with it paw until finally the hedgehog is in the water and forced to come out to save himself from drowning only to face a worse fate.’
- ‘Improved road design could mean fewer squashed hedgehogs and other mammal casualties, according to experts.’
- ‘The study found that while some species, including hedgehogs, voles, shrews, dormice and hares, are generally declining in rural areas, their populations are rising in towns, cities and suburbs.’
- ‘Can you think of any other animals that roll into a ball for defence as well as an armadillo or hedgehog?’
- ‘Many species of hedgehogs can roll up into a ball, hiding all vulnerable areas of the body under the protective spines.’
- ‘Animals co-habiting in the woods include field mice, grey squirrels, hedgehogs and three roe deer.’
- ‘They still refer to me as ‘hoggie’, short for hedgehog, because I am apparently ‘prickly but cute.’’
- ‘A puppy came crawling out of the bath, its coat was so filthy it looked like a hedgehog.’
- ‘Baby hedgehogs are born with short, soft spines that don't harden for several weeks, and baby humans cannot walk on their own for the first couple of years.’
- ‘The hedgehog is an old world mammal that has possibly changed little over a million years.’
- ‘By the time of spring, his hedgehog had put on so much weight that his short paws were hardly visible beneath his stuffed underside.’
- ‘The public is being asked to survey kingfishers, skylarks, water voles and hedgehogs so that as much information as possible can be gathered.’
- ‘Suburban householders report large numbers of hedgehogs, voles, shrews, dormice and hares.’
- ‘He was, in short, a hedgehog living in a world populated with foxes.’
- ‘All the family can find out about hedgehogs and help make hedgehog boxes.’
- ‘So far as I know the hedgehog never returned so I presume he, or she, got the message.’
- ‘It has now become a haven for wildlife such as deer, voles and hedgehogs, and boasts rare wild flowers’
- ‘A hedgehog isn't a hedgehog if it doesn't have any needles!’
- 1.1North American A porcupine.
- 1.2 Used in names of plants or fruits resembling a hedgehog in having spines, e.g. hedgehog cactus, hedgehog holly.
- ‘Needless to say hedgehog holly is excellent when cut for Christmas greens.’
- ‘Called the hedgehog holly, this is a non-berrying male holly with exceptionally spiky dark green leaves, margined with cream.’
- ‘The glorious flower color of the hedgehog cactus rivals that of the desert sunset.’
- ‘It grows here, along with numerous smaller cacti, including beaver-tail cactus, California barrel cactus, hedgehog cactus, and various prickly pear cacti.’
Late Middle English: from hedge (from its habitat) + hog (from its piglike snout).
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