Mostly we follow our elders while following myths. We blindfolded believe what they say. You and I may have gone through this phrase from our grandparents that any creature that tries to peek in or is seen crawling in your yard is a rodent. But the thing that’s not the case. We know that mice, rats, and creatures like hamsters belong to the rodent family but anything similar to these creatures can’t be included in the rodent family. So, are hedgehogs rodents?
Talking about hedgehogs I should clarify to you that they are anything but not rodents. They belong to the order called Erinaceomorpha. That clearly means that they are not at all related to either rodents or porcupines. Hedgehogs share their heredity with shrews
Unlike porcupines and similar to rodents, they can eat anything without showing any mood including small insects and several other stuff. Hedgehogs, however, they do turn their hair into quills that they use for defensive purposes.
Rodents and hedgehogs
Why do we think this is hedgehog rodents? It’s not your fault that you mistook a hedgehog with a rat or rodent. They are small animals and love to chew upon almost everything. Therefore, anybody can mess up between rodents and hedgehogs. Also, it may seem that there are quite similarities between hedgehogs and rodents.
Let’s dig a little deep about exploring the facts about hedgehog and rodents.
Are hedgehogs rodents?
Hedgehogs don’t belong to rodents. They rather belong to a subgroup of the family Erinaceinea. Talking about how close they are to which creature, they are closer to shrews than to rodents.
I know you get curious because actually shrews are way too similar to mice. But wait they are not any close to rodents.
In accordance with the above discussion, hedgehogs are not also similar to porcupines as well. Porcupines are rather classified as rodents. However, there lies one similarity between hedgehogs and porcupines which are gulls, they both have them on their backs.
Reasons why they are not rodents:
Rodent’s main teeth continue to grow throughout their lives. They belong to family Rodentia. The name is derived from the Latin language which means to gnaw.
On the other hand, when someone asks are hedgehog rodents? I reply to them that a hedgehog’s mouth will be full of teeth. This is the fact you will never saw in rodents. Rodents have their two main teeth in front. Whereas, hedgehogs have their main teeth in the form of two sharp canines.
As we all are well aware of the fact that an animal’s teeth are designed by nature in accordance with its diet. That clearly depicts that rodent’s teeth are made up of a diet of a herbivorous animal. On the other hand, hedgehog’s diet mainly consists of insects.
Animals which are obvious rodents:
Many small animals belong to the family of Rodent. To your knowledge, there are 20000 species of rodents known. They alone make the largest group of mammals. Some of the main rodents include:
- Deer mouse
- Guinea pig
- Prairie dogs
Are Hedgehogs Rodents? Categories of hedgehogs:
Hedgehogs are categorized into seventeen categories belonging to five main species. They are mainly found in Asia, Africa, and Europe.
Hedgehogs are not similar to porcupines at all. Porcupines belong to the group rodents. But that means is hedgehog rodents as well? The hedgehogs are most closely related to moonrats. Despite their name they are not rodents and are not rats as well.
Dissimilarities between hedgehog and rodents:
There are several conflicts between hedgehogs and rodents that can be discussed and therefore people several people ask the same question repeatedly Are hedgehogs rodents?. The main stuff is mentioned below:
- Rodents are mainly herbivores whereas hedgehogs require insects as their main diet hence eating much animal protein.
- Hedgehogs have quills which they use for defense. On the other hand, rodents don’t have these.
- They are similar to shrews and moonrats and they are definitely not rodents.
- Their main teeth do not grow throughout their lives like rodents.
- Hedgehogs lack plant digesting enzymes.
- They may have that similar behavior of chewing on things but that does not make them any similar to rodents.
Are hedgehogs rodents? You wish. There are also several anatomy differences that differentiate them from rodents. Hedgehogs lack cesium in their bodies. The caecum is present in rodents which helps them to digest the cellulose part of the plant as their diet mainly consists of plants.
That’s why in this regard hedgehogs are quite similar to humans. Because they also lack anything which can break down hard plant material for them.
But that does not mean that hedgehogs don’t eat plants at all. They do eat some plants but don’t eat their hard parts which contain cellulose. Also, they consist of a very simple digestive system.
Similarities between hedgehogs and rodents:
Are hedgehogs rodents because they are too similar to them? Hedgehogs are not actually similar to rodents. The similarities which we observe are just an observation that we do at surface level. Following are some similarities which we observe among rodents and hedgehogs:
- They both like to chew on things however, the pattern of chewing things of hedgehogs is quite different.
- They are both among the list of popular pets but hedgehogs don’t make friendly pets like guinea pigs.
- We mainly see rodents and hedgehogs as small animals but rodents have much variety in their size e.g. capybara.
- Both rodents and hedgehog’s diets consist of plant material but hedgehogs have to take animal protein for being healthy.
As it is clear from the above discussion that the similarities which we see are just our point of view, they are rather surface-level views that don’t have any strong grounds.
Are hedgehog rodents or marsupials?
Hedgehogs are related to many animals from porcupines to possums from centuries. But in reality, they are themselves their own kind. Hedgehogs have quills like porcupines but they are not sharp as do porcupines have. Similarly, unlike possums, they don’t climb up the trees or have that shaky tail as well.
Marsupials and hedgehogs:
From marsupials, we mean any animal that does give birth to their children rather than laying eggs. If it is the only criteria for identifying any animal’s family then we can definitely place hedgehogs there. So the question is hedgehog rodents are rejected here too.
But the thing that differentiates marsupials from mammals is that their new ones are not fully matured or developed. That’s why marsupials have pouches on their bodies in which they carry their babies after they are born so that they can take care of them until they get properly developed and are able to stand on their feet.
Based upon the above paragraph hedgehogs do not look similar to marsupials because they are referred to as “placental mammals”. When their babies are born they are quite like developed and you can tell that they are hedgehog babies.
Hedgehogs are insectivores:
Hedgehog’s diet mainly consists of insects as they need animal protein for their optimal health.
In the wild their diet mainly consists of ants, beetles, centipedes, earthworms, and grasshoppers. Their diet also shares a portion with rodent’s diet that includes nuts, bird’s eggs, and even fruits as well. But that doesn’t justify the query “Are hedgehog rodents?”
Hedgehogs are diurnal:
People have this myth that hedgehogs are nocturnal but in truth they are diurnal. They don’t wait for the night to go out and hunt rather they reactive during some portion of the day and then some portion of the night. Hedgehogs are seen to be most active during day time and mostly after dark but at least they are active during the day so you can have some time with your hedgehog.
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