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What do hedgehogs eat?


If you decide to start a hedgehog at home, then we recommend that you think again about your decision. Indeed, despite the fact that this animal is extremely unpretentious, the conditions of detention and the way of its life may well cause outrage in you. Just imagine, he will constantly make noise, hibernate in the fall and not give you rest at night, as the hedgehog is a night animal. At this time of day in the wild, he was accustomed to hunt, but not to sleep peacefully in his burrow. So, if you still decide to purchase this creation, then our article on what a hedgehog eats at home will be useful for you.

What does the animal eat in the wild?

The main food is butterflies, frogs, dragonflies, worms. Sometimes hedgehogs can even destroy a bird's nest if it is on the ground. Being in the apartment, the animal will save you from cockroaches and mice, of course, if you have them. If you plan to keep a hedgehog in a private house, cottage, then in summer he will be able to get food for himself. They are very fond of frogs, so if there is such an opportunity, let the prickly pet go for a walk in the place where they can be found.

What does a hedgehog eat at home?

Before proceeding with the story of how to feed the animal at home, I would like to note that it must have clean water in a bowl. Periodically
You can pamper him with milk. So, what does a hedgehog eat at home? In the diet of a voracious animal should include:

  • liver, fish, meat in boiled form (it is not recommended to give raw products, as they may contain microbes and bacteria),
  • cottage cheese, milk,
  • flour worms (they can be purchased at the "flea market") - sometimes indulge them
    your pet
  • apples, carrots.

The most important thing to consider when feeding a hedgehog is that the food should not contain sugar and salt, should not be very fat. You can also feed your pet with leftovers from the food you eat yourself, as long as it fits the above requirements.

What does a hedgehog eat at home yet?

The body of the hedgehog will benefit from fish oil, which contains many useful trace elements and vitamins, a mixture of carrots, crackers and egg powder, porridge with milk. You can also independently catch insects, dry them and feed the domestic animal. Hedgehogs eat apples and carrots - cut it into small slices to make them easier to eat.

What can not feed a hedgehog?

  • Sweets (their animals love very much, but their use threatens liver failure,
    as in nature, animals are accustomed to all natural).
  • Fermented milk products (kefir, ryazhenka, yogurt).
  • Black bread.
  • Non-natural products (sausages, chips).

What do little hedgehogs eat?

Their diet is similar to what we considered earlier. That is, only natural non-fatty foods, with a minimum content of sugar, salt. Try to make the food varied and well processed (boiled, if it comes to meat, boiled - if it comes to milk).

In this article, we told you how to feed hedgehogs. We hope that the information received will be useful for you.

What eat hedgehogs?

These are inhabitants not only of forests, steppes, deserts, but also of spaces developed by man. And it is the omnivorous that helps them survive in such diverse conditions. But most of all, these animals prefer all the same animal feed. Hedgehogs eat caterpillars, earthworms, amphibians, small reptiles. In addition to this, they perfectly deal with all kinds of poisonous insects. Also hedgehogs eat beetles, grasshoppers, various invertebrates, slugs, snails.

How to feed a home hedgehog?

If you want your pet to feel good at home, for quite a long time, you need to feed him about the kind of food that he can find in the wild. It is necessary to understand that the food that a person eats most often is not suitable for a hedgehog. The best option in modern conditions are specialized feeds, but unfortunately we may have difficulties with such feeds. Food for dogs and cats hedgehog, for constant nutrition will not work. Therefore, if you decide to get yourself such a pet, you will have to attend to the special menu.

Products that should be fed at home hedgehog:

- Boiled meat - chicken, beef, turkey.

- Berries and fruits - strawberries, raspberries, currants, pears, apples.

- Vegetables - carrots, cucumbers, sweet peppers, pumpkin.

- Live insects or zoological bus.

Feed the animal should be strictly metered, avoiding long-lying food, it will save you and your pet from possible trouble with digestion.

Products that should not be given to hedgehogs, this is what the hedgehog "does not see" in the wild:

- Baked bakery products, everything is excluded.

- A variety of candies, including chocolate, absolutely everything.

- Conservation, both store and home, everything is excluded.

- Exotic fruits and especially dried fruits, including grapes.

- Various types of spices - onion, garlic.

- Dairy products, everything is excluded.

- Shop meat delicacies - sausages, sausages, wieners, lard, everything is excluded.

The generally accepted opinion that hedgehogs love milk is in fact deeply mistaken, milk and, like all dairy products, is not useful for hedgehogs, their bodies are not able to absorb lactose. However, thinking about the fact that milk is harmful for a hedgehog and he may die from it is also not true, it is a wild omnivorous beast, and if necessary, anything will come for food, just milk is not the kind of food that should be given to hedgehogs.

For all its supposedly good-natured form, hedgehogs are predatory animals, and its diet should contain food of animal origin. And of course in the cage of the animal must have fresh water.

Who are hedgehogs?

Hedgehogs are mammals from the insectivorous order and the hedgehog family. The hedgehogs typical in our view are common and Eastern European species, the most common representatives of the Eurasian hedgehog genus.

Hedgehog is a small animal, ranging in size from 13 to 35 cm. The body weight of the animal depends on the season. In spring and summer, an adult hedgehog can weigh about 240 grams, but before the onset of cold weather, animals feed heavily to suck up subcutaneous fat and survive hibernation. Therefore, in late autumn, individual specimens eat up to 1.2 kg.

Most of the body of hedgehogs is thickly dotted with needles - hair modified during the course of evolution. In a healthy animal, 1 out of 3 needles fall out in a year, hedgehogs completely change outfit once in a lifetime, when children's needles are replaced by adults. Needles inside the hollow, their length is about 3 cm, the total number of spines in an adult hedgehog reaches 6 thousand. The belly is the most vulnerable spot of the hedgehog, therefore, in case of danger, the animal curls up into a coil due to a reduction in the continuous muscle layer located under the skin.

But in the mouth of a hedgehog there is an impressive arsenal of small sharp teeth: 20 in the upper jaw and 16 in the lower. Therefore, it is not surprising that amphibians, reptiles and field mice are among the species that the hedgehogs eat in their vast range.

Ezhiha with ezhatami.

Where do hedgehogs live

For the inhabitants of Australia and America, the hedgehog is an exotic beast, because there are no hedgehogs on these continents. But in most parts of Europe, Asia and Africa they are widespread and quite common.

Hedgehogs are unpretentious and inhabit a variety of biotopes, where there is something to feed. They avoid deaf forests and heavily wetlands, preferring to settle in woodlands, on forest edges, in floodplains of rivers, on plains covered with dense grass.

Often, whole families of hedgehogs live all their lives in villages, villages and horticulture, where they feed on garbage dumps and compost heaps. Where they are fed porridge, sausage and meat waste - they regularly come to dinner, because they are active at dusk and at night. During the day, hedgehogs sleep in empty rodent burrows, in bush thickets and in other natural shelters, and nests are set up only for hibernation.

It is believed that hedgehogs choose a neighborhood with a person not only because of the available garbage, but also for security reasons. Indeed, in the area inhabited by people, the probability of becoming a victim of a badger, fox, polecat, or owl is too insignificant. However, not all hedgehogs are lucky to live next to the kindhearted people, and the majority have to get food in the wild.

Hedgehog and fly agaric.

What eat hedgehogs in nature

The favorite diet of hedgehogs is food of animal origin, do not disdain hedgehogs carrion. In the first place are all sorts of insects: caterpillars, grasshoppers, crickets, numerous beetles, earwigs. Interestingly, the poisonous beetles - the hedgehogs eat the beetles with pleasure without harm to health, as well as other animals whose poison is deadly for most mammals, for example, vipers.

A significant proportion of the diet consists of slugs, snails, caterpillars, wood lice, sometimes hedgehogs produce earthworms, eat frogs and lizards. The mouse-like rodents are caught on the run, developing a speed of up to 3 m / s. A special delicacy of hedgehogs - chicks and eggs of birds nesting on the ground. With such a predilection for protein food, hedgehogs brought to the Hebrides became a real threat to the population of lapwing, snipe and Dunlin.

But the benefits of hedgehogs are invaluable: prickly little animals destroy the May beetles, the silkworm caterpillars - the nun, the unpaired silkworm and other pests of agriculture. Knowing this, experienced gardeners and gardeners will never chase hedgehogs from their plots.

Vegetable food, although to a lesser extent, is present in the diet of every hedgehog. These are mushrooms, acorns, mosses, seeds of cereals and sunflower. When the berries ripen, hedgehogs eat raspberries, strawberries and mulberry trees. In the autumn they pick fruits in the gardens - apples and pears, but they don’t carry them anywhere on their thorns, but they eat them on the spot.

Hedgehogs do not make stocks for the winter at all, they hibernate, similar to the state of suspended animation and lose about 35% of their mass during this time. Therefore, it is so important for them to have at least 500 g of weight during the summer, otherwise the spring hedgehog will not wake up.

In nature, hedgehogs rarely live to 5 years, in captivity can live up to 10 years, but with proper care and feeding.

Photo family hedgehogs.

How to feed a hedgehog at home

The hedgehog is a rather specific pet that will hide during the day and stomp and puff loudly at night, exploring all the corners in the house or apartment. But if brought, it is necessary to endure and correctly feed.

The hedgehogs are lactose intolerant, the pet should not be given milk and dairy products, even if he becomes happy to eat them. Even premium class food for cats and dogs is not good either, there is a lot of fat and not enough protein. Therefore, the best option - natural food.

Among what hedgehogs eat at home, there must be raw and boiled lean meat: beef, chicken, turkey, rabbit. Offal - beef and chicken liver, stomachs, heart are welcome. Periodically, you can give boiled, better river fish. As mineral supplements - bone and fish meal.

It is not recommended to deprive the hedgehog of the main components of its natural diet. Periodically, the hedgehog must eat insects: grasshoppers, cockroaches, meal worms, which can be purchased at the pet store. Sometimes you need to give raw chicken and quail eggs.

Vegetable hedgehog food is berries, fruits and vegetables. The animal will appreciate sliced ​​apple, pear, banana or watermelon. You can offer any berries without stones. From vegetables the hedgehog will like cucumber, carrot, peas, leaf lettuce.

Like any animal, the hedgehog cannot be overfed. The rate per day for a hedgehog, weighing 800 g - 100 g of food, divided into 2 doses. It is desirable that each feeding was balanced: 2/3 of animal food, 1/3 of plant food.

Photo of hedgehogs at the plate with milk.

Taking a hedgehog home from the forest is a bad idea. Hedgehogs are carriers of salmonellosis, tick-borne encephalitis, rabies, fleas, ticks and intestinal parasites. Therefore, to realize the dream of a prickly pet is better with the help of special nurseries, where they sell guaranteed healthy animals.

Hedgehog: description and photo. What does an animal look like?

The hedgehog's body length, depending on the species, ranges from 10 to 44 cm. The hedgehog's weight varies from 300 grams to 1.5 kilograms. The animal also has a tail that grows from 1 to 21 cm in length.

In animals, a large wedge-shaped head and elongated muzzle with a pointed, mobile, and moist nose.

The hedgehog's teeth are small and sharp; there are 20 teeth on the upper jaw and 16 teeth on the lower jaw. Some hedgehogs have up to 44 teeth. The first incisors are enlarged and look like fangs.

The hind legs are longer than the front, each limb ends with 5 toes, with the exception of the white-bellied hedgehog, whose hind legs have 4 toes.

Long middle fingers help the hedgehog to clean the needles.

Spines hedgehog hollow, between them grow thin, sparse, barely noticeable hairs. The head and belly of the animal are covered with ordinary wool. On average, each hedgehog wears on itself up to 10 thousand needles, which are gradually updated.

The color of the needles of most species is dark, with alternating light stripes. The coat color of the hedgehog, depending on the species, can be black-brown, brown, sand or white. Mostly black color replaces white, forming peculiar specks.

Most types of hedgehogs are distinguished by well-developed subcutaneous muscles. During the danger, the hedgehog collapses into a ball, and this is where the subcutaneous muscles located in the places where the thorns grow can help.

Like most nocturnal animals, hedgehogs have poor eyesight, but hearing and smell are well developed.

It is difficult to call these animals fast, the average speed of the escaping hedgehog is 3-4 km / h Despite the fact that the hedgehog is a land animal, most of the species swim and climb very well.

Hedgehog lifespan

The life span of a hedgehog in nature is 3-5 years. At home, hedgehogs live up to 8-10 years, as they do not die from natural enemies who hunt hedgehogs in the wild. The main enemies of hedgehogs are wolves, foxes, ferrets, owls, badgers, martens, mongooses, hyenas, jackals, honey badgers, eagles, and other predators.

How do hedgehogs live in nature?

By nature, hedgehogs are nocturnal animals and loners leading a secretive lifestyle. In the afternoon, hedgehogs sleep, hiding in self-dug burrows up to 1 meter long or occupying empty rodent dwellings. Populations of foothill areas use as a shelter clefts between rocks and voids under stones. At night, wild hedgehogs go hunting, preferring not to move far away from home. Unfortunately, statistics show that quite a lot of hedgehogs are dying under the wheels of cars, trying to cross highways at night.

Types of hedgehogs: photo, name and description

The hedgehogs family includes 2 subfamilies: real hedgehogs (lat. Erinaceinae) and rat hedgehogs (hymns) (lat. Galericinae), represented by 7 genera and 23 species. Below are some interesting types of hedgehogs:

  • Common Hedgehog(European hedgehog) (lat. Erinaceus europaeus)

One of the most common types of hedgehogs. The length of the body is 20-30 cm, the tail grows up to 3 cm, the weight is about 800 g. The hedgehog needles have a length of no more than 3 cm, the color is brownish-brown with dark cross-pieces. The color of the muzzle, limbs and belly may be dark or yellow-white.

The common hedgehog is a typical inhabitant of light forests, plains and parks in Western and Central Europe, Great Britain, Scandinavian countries, the West Siberian region, and the north-west of the European part of Russia and Kazakhstan.

The hedgehog of an ordinary hedgehog goes slowly, in autumn or spring. Every third needle changes. Needles grow for about a year and even a little longer.

  • Eared hedgehog(lat. Hemiechinus auritus)

Differs long ears, sometimes growing to 5 cm in length. Representatives of the species are small, the hedgehog is about 12 to 27 cm long, its weight is 430 g. The eared hedgehog needles have a length of 1.7 to 1.9 cm. In case of danger, animals rarely fold into a ball, trying to flee.

This type of hedgehogs prefers dry steppes, deserts and semi-deserts, where it keeps raw ravines and abandoned aryks. Habitat covers Africa, Asia Minor, Central Asia, India, Kazakhstan, Mongolia and China. In Russia, an eared hedgehog lives in areas from the Volga region to the Ural Mountains.

Animals feed on insects, lizards, toads, beetles, ants, small birds, berries, seeds, fruits.

  • Eastern European Hedgehog(lat. Erinaceus concolor)

It resembles a European hedgehog, but the color of the front of the neck and abdomen is much lighter than the hair on the head and sides. Adults grow to 35 cm in length, and the weight of a hedgehog in the summer period can reach 1.2 kg.

Eastern European species of hedgehogs are common in Austria, Germany, Slovenia, the Urals, Kazakhstan, Asia Minor and the islands of the Mediterranean. Occurs in very different terrains: on the forest edges, in parks, personal plots, fields and river valleys.

Hedgehogs feed on caterpillars, ground beetles, beetles, earwigs, snails, wood lice, slugs, earthworms, moss, acorns, sunflower seeds, berries (strawberries, raspberries, strawberries, mulberry), mushrooms.

  • African pygmy hedgehog (white-bellied hedgehog) (Latin Atelerix albiventris)

Имеет длину тела от 15 до 22 см. Вес животного достигает 350-700 г. Окраска обычно коричневая или серая, иголки ежа имеют белые кончики. Обычно африканский еж тихо фыркает или визжит, но в случае опасности может громко кричать. Хвост ежа достигает 2,5 см в длину. Глаза животного мелкие, уши круглые, самки крупнее самцов.

Африканские ежи живут к югу от пустыни Сахара, в таких странах, как Нигерия, Судан, Эфиопия, Сенегал, Мавритания. Едят пауков, насекомых, скорпионов, змей, улиток, червей.

  • Длинноиглый ёж (темноиглый, лысый еж) (лат. Paraechinus hypomelas)

Имеет размер до 22-27 см в длину при массе тела 500-900 грамм. The species got its name due to a small pleshine on the crown and long, thick needles, up to 4-4.2 cm long. The hedgehog needles have a different color: it can be black with a white base or very light, almost white.

Bald hedgehog lives on plains and foothills, preferring rocky and sandy landscapes. The area partially passes through the Arabian Peninsula, the islands of the Persian Gulf, through Iran and Pakistan to Kazakhstan. It is listed in the Red Book of Uzbekistan, and is also protected by the state on the territory of Turkmenistan.

Long-needle hedgehogs eat insects, locusts, cicadas, ground beetles, weevils, snakes, small invertebrates and reptiles, including snakes, as well as rodents. Do not shrink from carrion.

  • Ethiopian hedgehog(lat. Paraechinus aethiopicus)

Differs in light brown needles, short, dark limbs and a dark "mask" on the face. At the same time, the rest of the body has a white color. An adult individual grows up to 15-25 cm in length, and the hedgehog weighs from 400 to 700 g. In general, the species is distinguished by a rare gluttony.

The Ethiopian hedgehog lives in the deserts and sun-scorched steppes of North Africa: from Egypt and Tunisia to the coast of the Persian Gulf.

Ethiopian hedgehogs feed on insects, scorpions, snakes, bird eggs, frogs, termites, beetles, and locusts.

  • Daursky hedgehog(lat. Mesechinus dauuricus)

Steppe hedgehogs belong to the genus and are distinguished from most congeners by the absence of a strip of bare skin dividing the needles of the head into a parting. Spines hedgehog short, sand or brown, coarse fur, painted in gray or dark brown color.

This variety of hedgehogs is a typical inhabitant of forest-steppe and steppe massifs from Transbaikalia to Mongolia and northern part of China. They feed hedgehogs with beetles, small mammals (hamsters, pikas), chicks and eggs of birds, snakes, frogs, toads, cotoneaster and wild rose berries.

  • Common Hymnure(lat. Echinosorex gymnura)

Refers to the subfamily rat hedgehogs. Gimnura grows in length from 26 to 45 cm with a body weight of 500 g to 2 kg. The tail of the hedgehog, covered with sparse hairs and scales, reaches 17-30 cm in length, and its back is painted white. The back and sides are black, the head of the hedgehog and the neck are white.

Gimnura inhabits the tropical rainforests of southeastern Asia from Malacca to Borneo. It feeds on invertebrates and small vertebrates, crustaceans, frogs, toads, fish, fruits.

  • Small hymnure (lat. Hylomys suillus)

The smallest in the family. The length of its body does not exceed 10-14 cm. The tail reaches 2.5 cm. The weight of the animal is 45-80 grams.

Animal lives in mountainous areas and on hills in the countries of Southeast Asia (Indonesia, Brunei, Myanmar, Cambodia, Laos, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, China). Small hymns eat insects and worms.

Breeding hedgehogs

At the end of hibernation, when the air warms up to 18-20 degrees, the hedgehog comes into the mating season. Sexual maturity hedgehogs reach 10-12 months. Northern populations breed once a year, southern ones bring offspring twice.

Females of hedgehogs build nests in their holes, lining the bottom of the pit with dry leaves and grass.

Males often fight for the female, arranging a massacre with sniffing and snorting, bite each other by the face and legs, and prick with sharp needles. Then the winner circles around the female for a long time, which thoroughly smoothes her needles before mating. Hedgehogs are polygamous animals and immediately mate after mating.

The period of gestation of offspring is from 34 to 58 days, as a result, from 1 to 7 (usually 4) cubs weighing 12 grams are born.

Newborn hedgehogs are blind, covered with absolutely bare, bright pink skin. During the first days of life, soft, light and dark needles grow on the body of the little girls. After 2 weeks, the needle cover of the animal is already fully formed.

The first month the female hedgehog feeds the young with milk, then the young go on to independent living.

Keeping a hedgehog at home and taking care of him

Nowadays, hedgehogs are considered quite popular pets, but to catch a wild animal and bring it home is an unwise decision. Wild hedgehog can be a carrier of a number of dangerous diseases: ringworm, salmonellosis, hemorrhagic fever, rabies. In addition, fleas and ticks can almost always be found on hedgehogs. Therefore, the best way to acquire a funny animal is to appeal to breeders who guarantee the health of the pet, good heredity, and adaptation to livelihood in captivity.

Keep a hedgehog at home is easy. The hedgehog houses must be identified in a decent housing - a spacious, wooden or metal cage with a tray. In the cage should always be fresh sawdust or straw, as well as pans with food and water.

Be careful, letting go of the domestic hedgehog to walk around the apartment: a pet may get tangled in the wires, get hurt, or chew on your things. The hedgehog cage must be cleaned daily from dirt to avoid unpleasant odors. Hedgehogs are loners, so if you keep 2 or more domestic hedgehogs at home, it is better to select 2 different cells for them. Also do not forget that the hedgehog is a nocturnal animal, therefore it is at night that the domestic hedgehog will rustle, puff, snort and go about its business.

When do hedgehogs hibernate?

The most important thing the future owner of a prickly pet should know: even in captivity, the winter hedge is necessary for the domestic hedgehog, though not as long as in natural conditions. Otherwise, the animal may die by spring. True, this does not apply to African dwarf hedgehogs that do not hibernate. In the fall, the hedgehog needs to be fed hard, since it is during this period that the hedgehogs accumulate fat reserves.

In late October - early November, the animal will experience a period of stupor and lethargy, which means the beginning of hibernation. Usually in nature, hedgehogs overwinter in their nest, so an animal must be allocated a secluded place where the temperature does not exceed 5 degrees Celsius: on the loggia, attic, in the shed. In the heat, the hedgehog may not hibernate. In the nest of a home hedgehog you need to put dry leaves, sawdust, straw, rags. And then there you can determine your pet.

How to wash a hedgehog at home?

It is possible to bathe a hedgehog at home only if it is an adult healthy animal. Small newborn hedgehogs, as well as sick weak animals should not be washed. Take a basin and fill it with warm water no higher than 34.8 degrees Celsius. The water level should not exceed 5 cm. Instead of a basin, you can use a washbasin for bathing a home hedgehog, most importantly, follow the water temperature.

By supporting the hedgehog under the head and chest, you can immerse it in water. It is necessary to allow the hedgehog to get comfortable, but do not allow him to swim. Wash the belly and hedgehog's paws, then the back and the needles. Do not pour water on the face, otherwise the hedgehog may be frightened. To wash the needles of a hedgehog, you can use a toothbrush and a neutral baby shampoo, which should be thoroughly washed off. After washing the hedgehog can be wrapped in a towel. But in any case, do not dry it with a hair dryer and protect your pet from drafts.