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Related Topics:Steppe hedgehogDesert hedgehogAfrican hedgehogWestern europe hedgehogHemiechinus aethiopicus...(Show more)

hedgehog, (subfamily Erinaceinae), any type of of 15 Old World species of insectivores possessing several thousand short, smooth spines. Most species weigh under 700 grams (1.5 pounds), however the usual western europe hedgehog (Erinaceus europaeus) can flourish to 1,100 grams. Body length is 14 come 30 centimeter (5.5 come 12 inches), and also there is a stumpy and sparsely furred tail measuring 1 to 6 cm. In addition to the three types of Eurasian hedgehogs (genus Erinaceus), over there are four African hedgehogs (genus Atelerix), six desert hedgehogs (genus Hemiechinus), and two steppe hedgehogs (genus Mesechinus). European hedgehogs are retained as pets, together is the african pygmy hedgehog (Atelerix albiventris).

All hedgehogs are comparable in human body form, yet some desert types have bigger ears and longer legs. The short, stocky human body is densely extended with spines except for the underside, legs, face, and also ears. The cream-coloured spines room banded through brown and black, and coloration of the upperparts ranges from speckled cream to brown, depending on the broad of the pigmented bands; some individuals are black (melanistic). The underside is covered by a sparse, coarse coat, ranging from white to black (sometimes mottled), relying on the species. The face may it is in white, brownish, or exhibiting a masking pattern. The limbs are thin and an extremely short, yet the feet are large and be affected by each other long, curved claws (the first toe is small or missing in Atelerix). Return the eyes room large, vision is poor. Hearing and smell, however, are acute; the ears are conspicuous, and the tapered, cell phone muzzle ends in a moist, hairless nose.


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Hedgehogs crouch, hiss, and erect your spines in ~ the slightest danger, however their best defense is come curl right into a security ball. “Rolling up” is made possible primarily by a muscle that encircles the human body from neck come rump follow me the political parties of the body just beneath the skin and within i beg your pardon the peripheral spines are embedded. Together the pet curls, this muscle and several smaller sized connecting muscles contract the upperparts into a bag (like a drawstring) into which the head, body, and legs room drawn. The usually oblique spines come to be erect, and the animal is transformed into a sphere of formidable sharp spines that totally protect the breakable head, appendages, and soft belly. In this construction hedgehogs room usually protected against mammalian predators, yet they space still delicate to some varieties of hawks, eagles, and owls owing to the birds’ scaly legs and also long, spicy talons. Hedgehogs walk in a slow toddle or with short, quick steps, depending on the species, and stop typically to sniff the air. They are also capable of short bursts the speed, raising their body high off the ground as they run on the hairless soles of their feet.

Hedgehogs are mainly nocturnal however are sometimes energetic during the day complying with light rainfall. They are terrestrial, despite some deserve to climb and swim. Hedgehogs shelter by day beneath vegetation, in rock crevices, beneath overhanging rock ledges, or in burrows they excavate by using their forefeet. They additionally use the burrows of other mammals, especially hares and foxes. Part species, including the western European hedgehog, hibernate throughout the winter months, having gathered fat under the skin and also around the viscera and shoulders. At the hibernation temperature the 4 °C (39 °F), the heartbeat slows indigenous 190 come 20 per minute, and breathing is diminished to 10 inhalations per minute. Other species living in particularly hot or seasonal regions might enter quick periods of torpor. They construct large nests of dry vegetation in burrow chambers or beneath vegetation on dried ground.


The hedgehog’s diet is composed of insects, other arthropods (including venomous spiders and scorpions), snails, slugs, frogs and toads, lizards, snakes (including venomous species), bird eggs, nestlings, and fallen fruit. Hedgehogs use their acute sense of odor to locate food, grabbing active prey with the mouth as they root about in sheet litter and among plant roots. They snuffle and snort if foraging and also manipulate prey solely with the mouth, chewing through noisy smacking that the jaws. Hedgehogs will lick or chew unfamiliar building materials or objects and produce copious frothy saliva and also then plaster the froth over and also between their spines and also onto other parts that the body. The significance of this action is unknown.

Hedgehogs are solitary, tolerating one an additional only throughout courtship and also copulation and until the young space old sufficient at four to seven weeks come disperse from the nest. There space one to three yearly litters the 1 come 11 offspring, v gestation lasting 31 to 42 days. The young space blind and helpless and have soft scattered white spines in ~ birth the are replaced in 3 to five days by darker long-term spines. West European hedgehogs deserve to curl right into a round by 11 job after birth. Females will occasionally eat your offspring if the swarm is disturbed soon after birth, and also males will certainly attack and eat young hedgehogs that the same species. They have actually a life expectancy of increase to 7 years.

Hedgehogs selection throughout Eurasia south of the taiga and tundra (excluding Japan and also the Tibetan Plateau) into Asia Minor and also the Arabian Peninsula, many of Africa (excluding tropic rainforest), and various parts of India. The west European hedgehog inhabits woodland margins, grasslands, scrub, hedgerows, and suburban gardens. It also has been presented into new Zealand. The desert hedgehog (Hemiechinus aethiopicus) survives in the very arid Sahara and on the Arabian Peninsula, where populaces are concentrated approximately oases and also vegetated wadis.

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Hedgehogs consist of a subfamily (Erinaceinae) of family members Erinaceidae, which likewise includes the moonrat and the gymnures (subfamily Galericinae) of south east Asia and the Philippines. The surname hedgehog can much more broadly be used to all types in this family. Hedgehogs are carefully related to gymnures. Together the hedgehogs and also gymnures consist of the family Erinaceidae, the just living family in the order Erinaceomorpha. The evolutionary partnership of this household to various other mammals, particularly shrews, solenodons, moles, golden moles, and tenrecs, is unresolved.