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Do Hedgehogs Have Tails?

If you’ve ever wondered whether hedgehogs have tails or not, the answer is yes! However, the tails of these small creatures are often overlooked due to their small size and the fact that they are usually hidden by the hedgehog’s quills. In Do Hedgehogs Have Tails? we will delve into the physicality of hedgehogs, answer common questions about their tails, and provide you with a comprehensive guide on these adorable creatures.

Physicality of Hedgehogs

Before we dive into the topic of hedgehog tails, let’s first discuss the physical characteristics of these small mammals. Hedgehogs are typically 23 cm in length, including their tail, which is only about 2-3 cm long.

They can weigh up to 2 kilograms and have a powerful forefoot and claws for digging. Hedgehogs have five toes on their front paws with short nails, while on their back paws, they have four toes with long, constantly growing nails.

One of the most striking features of hedgehogs is their quills. These spines are modified hairs that serve as a defense mechanism against predators. The quills are hollow and have a central nerve that allows hedgehogs to detect movement and changes in their environment.

Do Hedgehogs Have Tails?

Yes, hedgehogs do have tails, although they are small and not easily noticeable. The length of the tail can vary from brown to grey to black according to the color of the hedgehog. The tail of a hedgehog is very short and thin compared to the tails of other animals, such as cats or dogs.

In fact, most hedgehog tails measure less than an inch in length. The tail is normally quite stubby and no longer than 2-3cms, making it almost invisible, as it does not protrude beyond a hedgehog’s rear.

The tail of a hedgehog is typically stuck to its back, so it remains unnoticed most of the time. The back and tail of a hedgehog are almost covered with quills, making it even more difficult to notice the tail. However, if you turn a hedgehog around and search a little bit, you may be able to see its adorable little, stubby tail, which is on the lower side of the belly.

Why are hedgehog tails so short?

Hedgehogs are known for their small, stumpy tails, which are typically less than an inch long. The shortness of their tails is actually a characteristic of their species and has evolved over time to serve several important functions.

One reason for the short tail is that hedgehogs are burrowing animals and their short tails allow them to move around in tight spaces without getting stuck or injured. Their tails also provide balance and stability when they’re moving quickly or climbing.

Another reason for their short tails is related to their defense mechanism. Hedgehogs are known for curling up into a ball when they feel threatened, and their short tails help protect their vulnerable underside by reducing the amount of exposed surface area. This makes it more difficult for predators to get a grip on them and makes it easier for them to roll into a tight ball.

Overall, the short tail of hedgehogs is an important adaptation that helps them survive in their natural environment.

Are hedgehog tails used for anything?

Hedgehog tails may not have as many functions as other animal tails, but they are still important for the hedgehog’s overall anatomy and behavior.¬†For example, the hedgehog’s tail contains some muscles that help it control its body temperature.

When the hedgehog is cold, it can use these muscles to move blood and warmth to its tail, helping to regulate its body temperature. Conversely, if the hedgehog gets too warm, it can reduce the blood flow to its tail to dissipate heat.

In addition, the short and thick quills of the hedgehog’s tail can provide some protection when the hedgehog is curled up into a ball. The quills can also help the hedgehog grip onto surfaces when climbing or moving quickly.

So while the hedgehog’s tail may not have as many functions as other animal tails, it still plays an important role in the hedgehog’s survival and well-being.

Can hedgehogs lose their tails?

No, hedgehogs cannot lose their tails as a defense mechanism like some other animals can. Hedgehogs do have some muscles in their tails, but their tails are not designed to break off or detach from their bodies.

In some cases, a hedgehog’s tail may become injured or damaged, such as from a predator attack or accident. In these cases, the hedgehog may lose some or all of its tail, but this is not a deliberate defense mechanism like in some other animals. Losing their tail can be a stressful experience for the hedgehog, as their tails are important for their balance, movement, and thermoregulation.

It’s important to note that as pet hedgehogs have been bred over generations to be more docile and social with humans, their quills have become less sharp and their tails shorter, so they don’t cause injuries to their owners. It’s still important to handle them with care and avoid any accidental harm to their tails.


In conclusion, hedgehogs do have tails, but they are small and stumpy, typically less than an inch long. Hedgehogs use their tails for various functions, such as helping to regulate their body temperature and providing balance and stability when moving around.

Hedgehogs cannot deliberately lose their tails as a defense mechanism, but their tails can become injured or damaged. As with any animal, it’s important to handle hedgehogs with care and avoid any accidental harm to their tails.

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