noun \ˈhej-ˌhg, -ˌhäg\

: a small, brown animal of Europe, Asia, and Africa that has sharp spines on its back and that can roll itself up into a ball

Full Definition of HEDGEHOG

a :  any of a subfamily (Erinaceinae) of Eurasian and African nocturnal insectivores that have both hair and spines which they present outwardly by rolling themselves up when threatened
b :  any of several spiny mammals (as a porcupine)
a :  a military defensive obstacle (as of barbed wire)
b :  a well-fortified military stronghold

Illustration of HEDGEHOG

First Known Use of HEDGEHOG

15th century


noun    (Concise Encyclopedia)

Any of 14 species of insectivores in the family Erinaceidae. They eat primarily insects and other arthropods but will also eat plant material. The nine species of spiny hedgehogs have short, barbless spines on the back, a round body, small head, pointed face, and little or no tail. Species range from 4 to 17 in. (10 to 44 cm) long. Spiny hedgehogs are native to Great Britain, northern Africa, and Asia; one species was introduced into New Zealand. The five species of gymnure, or hairy hedgehog, are Asian. They have coarse guard hairs but no spines and are extremely malodorous. The common gymnure may be 18 in. (46 cm) long and have a 12-in. (30-cm) tail. See also porcupine.


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