What are a hedgehog’s spines made of?
They are modified hairs, made of keratin protein with a hollow shaft and a muscle for each spine so they can be raised when the hedgehog feels threatened. Hedgehogs are born without any spines but, within just a few hours, around 100 small white spines emerge from the skin and harden. After four or five days these begin to be replaced by tougher spines that are darker in colour but still quite short. Then at two to four weeks old, the hedgehog begins to get its final coat of adult spines. By the time it is fully grown, a hedgehog has around 8,000 spines.
Answered by Luis Villazon
For more science and technology articles, pick up the latest copy of How It Works from all good retailers or from our website now. If you have a tablet or smartphone, you can also download the digital version onto your iOS or Android device. To make sure you never miss an issue of How It Works magazine, subscribe today!