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Harnessing Hibernate by Ryan Fowler, Timothy M. O'Brien, James Elliott

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Colophon

The animal on the cover of Harnessing Hibernate is a hedgehog, a small mammal in the family Erinaceinae. There are 16 hedgehog species in 5 genera, found throughout parts of Europe, Asia, Africa, and New Zealand. Some of these species are: the four-toed hedgehog (south-Saharan Africa); the long-eared hedgehog (Central Asia); the desert hedgehog (Africa and the Middle East); and the bare-bellied hedgehog (India). The different species vary in size, measuring 5 to 12 inches long and weighing 15 to 40 ounces. The most common domesticated hedgehog, known as the four-toed or African pygmy hedgehog, is smaller than its European cousins and has become a popular pet in many countries. The name hedgehog first came into use in the mid-15th century—“hedge” because it roots through undergrowth, and “hog” because of its pig-like snout. Hedgehogs are also known as urchins, hedgepigs, and furze-pigs.

The hedgehog’s most distinctive feature is its spines, which grow everywhere on its body except its face, legs, and belly. When threatened, it rolls into a tight ball so that all of its spines point outward, presenting a barbed surface to predators. These spines are stiff, hollow hairs made of keratin and are very strong. Unlike a porcupine’s quills, they do not fall out, except when a hedgehog sheds its baby spines during a process known as “quilling.”

Hedgehogs eat small invertebrates such as frogs, slugs, and earthworms. Some hedgehogs have immunity to toxins and can eat bees, wasps, and ...

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