Features and habits of hedgehogs


In the family of hedgehogs there are 19 species of hedgehogs. It is interesting that 4 species of hedgehogs inhabiting the warm regions of the world do not have typical spines and very similar to their appearance of mouse-shaped rodents; they do not go into hibernation and multiply all the year round.

In hedgehogs of prickly species, the back and sides are covered with sharp needles, and on the muzzle and lower side of the body there is a scalp of varying length and softness, of various colours. Depending on the type, the fur coat in hedgehogs is white, yellowish-grey, reddish, brown, brown. The colouring of needles varies from light to dark.

The barbed hedgehog contains about 16,000 needles!

The alarmed hedgehog folds into a ball and protrudes in all directions its formidable weapon. The collapsed hedgehog without consequences falls from height: spines are amortized and provide a hedgehog “soft landing”.

Hedgehogs in Europe

In regions with cold winters, hedgehogs multiply only in spring and summer, and in winter lie in hibernation.

Four former hedgehogs are found on the territory of the former USSR. The most common of these are common hedgehogs, or European hedgehogs (Erinaceus europaeus), which live in forests, in bushes, in gardens. The life span of an ordinary hedgehog is about 6 years.

European hedgehog is quite large: body length up to 30 cm (tail 2-4 cm long). On the crown of his head, he has a narrow longitudinal strip of bare skin without hair and needles.

During the day, the hedgehog usually sleeps in a secluded corner (although in a quiet safe place and among the day you can see frolicking hedgehogs). Toward evening, the hedgehog goes hunting, securing his own food at night.

Types of hedgehogs

The Daurian hedgehog is found in the Transbaikalian steppes, occupying the burrows of ground squirrels and marmots. This endangered species is listed in the Red Book. The Dahur hedgehog is out for the hunt.

At the European and Dahurian hedgehog, the fur coat on the belly is comparatively stiff.

hedgehogThe long-eared hedgehog has large, long ears and a very soft short fur on the muzzle, sides and abdomen. He has relatively light needles. Live eared hedgehogs in the steppes, semi-deserts and deserts, and even in the mountains (up to 2500 m above sea level).

Like a big-eared hedgehog, a dark-headed, or a bald hedgehog, also has big ears, a soft coat on the abdomen. The bald hedgehog is darker than the eared hedgehog, and on the top of it there is a longitudinal strip of bare skin without hair and needles, like the common hedgehog (daurian and eared hedgehogs do not have such stripes). Dark-skinned hedgehog prefers sandy and clay desert places.

What do they eat?

The usual diet of hedgehogs consists of all kinds of insects and their larvae, mollusks, amphibians, small mammals. I like insects like beetles and worms, snails and slugs, frogs and snakes, lizards and newborn bunnies. It does not shun the hedgehog with bird eggs and chicks that they got in a nest located on the ground or fallen from a tree from a ruined nest.

hedgehogThe hedgehogs fearlessly catch and eat snakes (including poisonous vipers), they ruin the mouse nests. Are not afraid of hedgehogs and stinging insects. For example, a hedgehog does not need to destroy the hornet’s nest in the ground and eat its inhabitants, not paying attention to the numerous bites that guard its nest of wasps.

As it turned out, the hedgehog is completely immune to strong poisons, despite the small weight of its body: bites of many wasps, bees, bumblebees, and even snake venom are not terrible to the hedgehog. A surprising phenomenon of antidote in the organism of hedgehogs scientists have not yet guessed, medicine really needs this discovery.