"Miss Granger remains the only person in this class who has managed to turn a hedgehog into a satisfactory pincushion. I might remind you that your pincushion, Thomas, still curls up in fright if anyone approaches it with a pin!"
-- Professor McGonagall (GF15)
European hedgehogs are common in Britain, especially in woodland areas and gardens. Their spines are a defence mechanism: when they feel threatened they curl up in a ball to protect themselves.
- Knarls are magical creatures indistinguishable from hedgehogs in appearance. The way to tell them apart is to offer them food or drink: hedgehogs will eat it, whereas Knarls are highly suspicious and will regard it as an attempt to poison them (OP31, FB).
- Fourth year students at Hogwarts are taught to Transfigure hedgehogs into pin cushions (GF15).
- 17th century wizard Thaddeus Thurkell was famous for having seven Squib sons and turning them all into hedgehogs in disgust (FW).