Hedgehog - description, habitat, lifestyle

Shy cute hedgehogs do not need additional representation, because they are found everywhere. Prickly little animals are successfully kept at home, sometimes people accidentally stumble upon hedgehogs in the forest or on the local area. In today's material we will look at everything that affects these little thorny creatures. Literally, the name of the species is translated as a prickly barrier. But let's not get ahead of ourselves and reveal all the cards.

Description and features

  1. Today there are about 20 species of hedgehogs, all of them are partially similar, but also have differences. A distinctive feature is considered to be a muzzle of an elongated format, a round and mobile nose, the presence of a notch on the nose bridge. The average dimensional features of hedgehogs are 20 cm in length. The head is rather large, the eyes are round, resemble beads.
  2. Animals have poor eyesight in the daytime. However, they have an excellent ear, the same can be said about the sense of smell. The nose is mobile and wet, the ears are small with roundings. Contrary to popular belief, it’s worth saying that hedgehogs with porcupines are not related. Hedgehogs are considered moles and shrews. Also, it should not be assumed that any prickly creature has kinship with hedgehogs (as an example, the sea urchin, there is nothing in common between them).
  3. By an ordinary hedgehog is meant an animal that feeds on insects. By their weight criterion, the animals weigh about 0.6-0.8 kg each. Although there were more weighty representatives, the mass of which reached 1.2 kg. Individuals of female sex are larger, males are smaller. Hind feet long. There are 5 fingers with sharp claws on them.
  4. A coat of needles hides a small tail, which usually grows up to 3 cm. The upper part of the body is pigmented with light brown, needles inside are empty, reaching 3 cm in length. An interesting feature is that each needle is chained to a muscle fiber that lowers or lifts her. Each year, the needles gradually fall out, in their place another cover is formed. It does not happen that the hedgehog got rid of its barbed fur coat at a time. Everything happens systematically. Only those individuals who are sick get rid of needles.
  5. As for the number of needles, there are about 6,000 of them in adult members of the family and about 3,000 in young animals. Between the spines there is a short hair covering, highlighted from above. In the abdominal part it is also light, but moderate, the head is slightly darker. Hedgehogs may be gray, solid, but this is rare. There are also specimens with spots and a white belly.
  6. The characteristics of individuals include folding into a lump when danger is brewing. This is possible due to the presence of ringed muscle fibers that stretch the skin. In such a position, the animal can be long until the threat disappears. Regarding the growth angle of the needles, they stick out in different directions, but on the whole they look harmonious. Such a unapproachable live com.
  7. The spread covers several continents. Some of the population is dispersed throughout Eurasia, other individuals reside on the northern side of Africa. These stripes, mixed areas, and plains like these individuals. They can be in thickets near rivers, like steppe zones and wastelands. They try not to go deep into the conifers, as well as on the wetlands.
  8. By their natural features, hedgehogs do not have the habit of tagging possessions. They live in splendid isolation or in small groups. The territory is used exclusively for food searches. Often, the discussed representatives of the family are found next to the housing of people, in park areas, near agricultural land, in gardens and in fields with wheat. Hedgehogs are fleeing from the usual place because of frequent fires in the forest, as well as from lack of food and human activity.

Lifestyle

  1. Individuals are awake at night. They lead a solitary existence, but at the same time they prefer to build a house next to their comrades. When the sun sets, the search period for food begins. In the morning, they return to the shelter and sleep. During the night, hedgehogs are able to overcome about 3 kilometers. They are more active when it is overcast on the street.
  2. In the daytime they wrap themselves up and sleep. They are looking for a variety of shelters next to bushes or trees. Line the foliage and grass. They can find and choose for permanent habitat the burrows of large rodents who have left their home. When they are engaged in self-construction, they dig up minks across a diameter of 20 cm. Dragging dry moss and grass as a litter.
  3. Hedgehogs can not build a house in the summer, so they choose a relatively safe area and live there. Females occupy an area of ​​about 4-10 hectares, males need a large territory, so they take 7-12 hectares for themselves. The grown up generation is at enmity for territory, drives away strangers and even fellows. This is especially true for males.
  4. These individuals have a well-developed sense of smell, hearing, but their eyesight is weak, especially in the daytime. When individuals are awake in total darkness, they find food by smell. Individuals swim well, they also jump normally. Some people think that hedgehogs cannot do this at all. Before placing any object on its spines, hedgehogs lick it before salivating, then pick it up and shower it up.
  5. It should be noted that approximately in the middle of autumn the earth begins to gradually freeze. During such a period, the main food is significantly reduced in the individuals under consideration. It was at this time that such animals begin to actively prepare for hibernation.
  6. Most often, the animals in question for the winter try to build large enough nests. Hedgehogs place them under the roots of trees, old stumps and heaps of fallen trees. As soon as severe cold occurs, the animals hide in the shelter, tightly closing the entrance.
  7. In the house itself, hedgehogs burrow into a pile of fallen leaves. They curl up and hibernate. Only in rare cases, when winter is really warm and snowless, you can find a confused hedgehog, which wanders near its hole.
  8. If someone does not know, the individuals in question use their needle cover to transport various building materials to arrange their homes. Then hedgehogs hibernate.
  9. Interesting is the fact that during hibernation in hedgehogs, the heart rate decreases to just a few beats per minute. At the same time, blood pressure drops significantly. The body temperature at such a moment is only 2 degrees!
  10. During the hibernation period, the animal loses a third of its mass. The body gradually spends accumulated fat reserves. It is worth noting that such individuals are simply obliged to accumulate about 0.5 kg in the warm season. adipose tissue. Otherwise, during hibernation, they will die of hunger.
  11. Interestingly, after hibernation, animals are in no hurry to get out into the street. They are waiting for the moment when the air warms to at least 14 degrees. Upon awakening, the individuals in question are very hungry. Therefore, in search of food, they can go both at night and during the day.
  12. It is noteworthy that with the arrival of spring, molting often occurs in such animals. The same process can occur in the fall. It is worth noting that the moult proceeds very slowly. In a year, the hedgehog is replaced by only 1 needle out of 3. At the same time, each can take up to 1.5 years to grow.

Breeding

  1. Almost immediately after hibernation, such animals start mating games. Hedgehogs crawl out of the holes in warm weather, eat off and start searching for a pair. It is noteworthy that quite serious battles unfold between the males. Individuals constantly bite each other, push and use spiky needles. They snort loudly.
  2. Among other things, in spite of such cruel carnations, animals do not suffer much. Often, the weaker male retreats and flees. After the battles end, the male begins to care for the female. He constantly whirls around the chosen one and snorts quietly.
  3. Such games most often last several hours. In the end, the female strongly presses the needles and the pair mates. Then the pregnancy lasts about 2 months. Before giving birth, the female is engaged in arranging a separate nest for offspring. The bottom is covered with dry leaves and soft grass. As a rule, about 6 cubs are born.
  4. It is noteworthy that if someone finds a house with offspring, the female will transfer all the young to another safer place. Little hedgehogs are born completely helpless. After birth, babies have needles. The offspring is growing rapidly and growing.

Habitat

  1. Many believe that there are many hedgehogs in European countries. However, the number of individuals every year is reduced. Today, most of the population is spread across the northern side of Africa. They also find representatives of the family in Asia Minor, Western Europe, and northeastern China.
  2. Individuals can successfully live on the western side of Siberia, in the Caucasus, in Kazakhstan. They are not indifferent to the expanses of New Zealand. Some individuals inhabit the Alps, climb to an altitude of up to 2 thousand meters above sea level. In the local places they live near dwarf pines.
  3. Regarding the distribution area, hedgehogs can adapt to changes, therefore they are found almost everywhere. They do bypass the wetlands. They love to live next to a person, they often meet in small towns and fondly go on the road.
  4. Individuals of this family are looking for meadows, mixed lanes, avoid dense coniferous forests. Located on the edges, in the woods, near the rivers. There are also many individuals in park areas and other cultivated areas. You need to look for representatives in the grass, next to the sandy areas, in parks. They can equip their home next to the bushes, pulling out small grooves. They live near the roots of trees, sometimes they occupy the abandoned burrows of rodents. When they go to look for food, they do not leave a long distance from home.

Nutrition

  1. The individuals discussed are ranked as omnivores, they are not picky about food. The main source of food in hedgehogs are various insects, worms and slugs. Such individuals love to feast on fruit and berry fruits. Sometimes they feed on cereals.
  2. Less commonly, these animals eat moss, acorns and mushrooms. With a lack of food, hedgehogs feed on various food wastes. Most often they find them in the cottages. These animals rarely hunt vertebrates. Hedgehogs can attack numb reptiles or amphibians.
  3. Individuals that mostly live in the northern part of the planet, mainly feed on frogs, voles and shrews. Such mammals can often feed on chicks and eggs, the birds nests of which are located on the ground.
  4. Separately, it is worth mentioning that the individuals represented are voracious. In just one day they can consume so much food, the mass of which will be equal to one third of their own weight. It is interesting that hedgehogs often attack beetles and even vipers. The bottom line is that in these individuals the body is not susceptible to dangerous poisons.
  5. Numerous studies have confirmed that hedgehogs practically do not react at all to opium, arsenic and hydrocyanic acid. Hedgehogs can kill only large doses of such substances. However, they do not reflect the amount of poison, which is deadly for large individuals.

Hedgehogs deserve special attention. They are quite interesting individuals. In the modern world, such individuals are often tamed and made pets. In captivity, they can safely live for about 10 years, and in freedom for a maximum of 5 years.

Video: common hedgehog (Erinaceus europaeus)

Watch the video: Setting Up a Bioactive Hedgehog Enclosure! (December 2019).