We were delighted that our friend Ronan was able to introduce us to Eoin the Hedgehog on After School Hub. These shy little creatures are hard to see and right now they are getting ready to hibernate.
Hedgehogs are called the 'gráinneóg', or the ‘ugly one’ in Irish. They have up to 7,000 spines, with short legs small eyes and a keen sense of smell.
It's not the brightest star in the animal world as its brain is small. (No offence Eoin!)
This most ancient of our mammals, and its relative the pigmy shrew, have changed little in 15 million years.
Getting ready to sleep...
Hedgehogs need to weigh at least 450 grams if they are to survive the winter months in hibernation and this is why they will spend nearly all their time trying to get food from wherever they can find it.
Even though they are very small, these native Irish mammals can travel up to three kilometres per night in search of food, as they are not very territorial they can wander for up to 50 hectares throughout their habitats in a single year.
During hibernation, their heartbeats fall to a fifth of the normal rate and their body temperature can drop to 4°C. This means that everything slows down and the don't use up too much of their fat reserves before they re-emerge in spring.
If you want to learn loads more about hedgehogs you can check out this RTÉ Learn article: HEDGEHOG PROFILE