A couple of years ago the loft project “Etazhi” (this is in Petersburg) held a festival of hedgehogs. He was interested in us because in one place gathered a lot of people involved in breeding this animal. Of course, nowadays even crocodiles are kept in domestic conditions, but so that spiny hedgehogs? Although we did not regret that we went. For example, we learned that the hedgehogs have 36 teeth, which must be periodically treated or at least removed from them tartar! And we received a detailed answer to the question "How many hedgehogs live?"
Hedgehogs - long-lived or not
Hedgehogs "occupied" forest, steppe and desert space about 15 million years ago. But domesticating, i.e. keeping them in the cells of the house, has become popular in the last decade. Whether the hedgehogs like it is a moot point, because the maximum in captivity is 4-5 years. In a well-arranged cage, he can live 8-16 years. Why is the run so impressive? I will list only a few reasons:
- Good food. In the forest, even a hedgehog with a fighting character is difficult to find food. "Room" hedgehogs are fed and watered on schedule, providing them with vitamins and trace elements. There are even special foods (canned and dry) from crickets, grasshoppers and other insects.
- Lack of enemies. Concrete walls - reliable protection from hawks and eagles, badgers and ferrets who can eat a hedgehog. Potential hazard - electrical wires that can be nibble by a spiny pet.
- Health monitoring. Yes, yes, hedgehogs are also sick. They may have an eye infection, snot, multiple sclerosis, pneumonia and allergies, worms and other diseases. Therefore, a regular examination by a veterinarian is a guarantee of hedgehog health. Dr. Aibolit in the forest is not receiving.
How to determine the age of the hedgehog
I will also share how to determine how old a hedgehog is. Suddenly useful if you decide to start a hedgehog at home. So, pay attention to needles: in old hedgehogs, they are blunt and dark, in young ones they are light, sharp, evenly and evenly growing.
Teeth grind down with age, so if a hedgehog eats long, this indicates its venerable age.
I work at school as a biology teacher. Oddly enough, the most interesting topic for my students are animals. Yesterday we were in the classroom of small animals that are most often found on the territory of Russia and the CIS countries, one of these animals was a hedgehog (it turned out even that one of my students lives at home this animal).
Description of the appearance of an ordinary hedgehog
Hedgehog ordinary or European - a small animal. Appearance, description and information about the breed:
- The body length of the largest representative of this species reaches 30 cm.
- The weight of an adult individual is not more than 800 grams.
- The body is securely protected by a needle shell. Their length is in the range from 2 to 3 cm.
- An elongated muzzle with a constantly wet nose.
- There are sharp teeth in the mouth, allowing to crush mollusks and insects.
- Small, mobile ears.
- Hind limbs longer for ease of movement. The animal moves in small steps.
- The color of the fur on the face, legs and belly of ordinary hedgehogs varies from yellowish-white to dark brown.
What are hedgehogs and how are they called? Zoology studies 23 species of hedgehogs. The following animals are of interest:
- Common hedgehog.
- The eared species lives in Asia and has an unusual structure of the hearing aid.
- Eastern hedgehog has a light color of needles.
- A brown African species snorts and squeals when danger approaches.
- Hedgehog with a needle length up to 4 cm.
- Ethiopian species has an unusual color.
- Daursky has unusual stripes on the head.
- Gimnura - a beautiful animal, covered with needles and needles.
Where do European hedgehogs and their habitats live? Hedgehog can be found in the temperate climate of Asia, Europe and even in China. Animals easily adapt to the conditions of Siberia and the Caucasus. They can be found in the Alps.
These animals dig themselves small minks in the bushes and under the roots of trees.
Mammals prefer to dwell on glades or forest edges. Do not live in swampy or coniferous areas. An ordinary hedgehog settles in bushes or on grassy areas. The mammal independently builds holes in the soil or roots of the tree. From this area hedgehogs do not move long distances.
Lifestyle and nutrition
For the normal existence of a hedgehog, insects, caterpillars and worms should be present in its diet. Additionally, he eats berries, fruits, cereals, mushrooms, acorns and moss. They were greeted for the absorption of waste at the dacha plots. Mammal attacks reptiles and vertebrates. In the northern regions in their diet includes frogs, snakes and lizards. They can steal eggs from nests. During the hunting period, they can eat a third of their own weight at a time.
Thorny little animals are single nocturnal
The animal used to lead nocturnalism. They can go up to 3 km to search for prey. The mammal is particularly active on an overcast day. From morning to evening the hedgehog is sleeping. It curls up in a nest and is additionally covered with leaves. Nora can be located 20 cm deep into the roots of the tree. Because of this, the animal feels safe.
When hedgehogs go to bed for the winter
The animal hibernates after a set of the necessary amount of fat. The process starts from the beginning of the winter period. Before it starts, the animal tightly closes the entrance to the dwelling.
With the onset of frost, hedgehogs burrow into fallen leaves, twist into a loose tangle and hibernate.
Hedgehogs sleep anxiously and periodically emit fucking, hissing. When an animal goes to winter, the body's metabolic processes slow down, and the temperature drops by 2 degrees.
In winter, it can leave the nest for a short time. Spring comes for them after consuming the accumulated fat.
Character and habits
If an enemy is encountered on the hedgehog’s path, he punches him with needles and folds himself into a ball. Due to this, the enemy himself stumbles on the spikes and leaves. The fraudulent method is used for hunting. It is not kept in the pond, because the hedgehog cannot curl up in it.
The animal easily clashes with the snake and confidently wins it. The hedgehog grabs her tail and rolls it into a ball. Additionally, it was possible to establish that the animal's organism does not react negatively to its poison. A hedgehog cannot be poisoned with acid, arsenic or opium.
If the hedgehog meets with the enemy, then at first he attacks him to prick, then collapses into a thorny ball.
In the fall, the mammal begins to accumulate fat for winter, if it does not live in a warm region. In winter, he has a decrease in the intensity of the heartbeat. If the beast does not accumulate enough fat, then it will not be able to live until spring. His death is inevitable.
Reproduction and care for offspring
In the mating season, the animal enters the spring after the end of the cold. Males arrange fierce fights for females. They bite and push each other. They also use needles to get victory. A mammal to frighten an enemy sniffs loudly and snorts. The fight looks cruel, but the males do not cause serious injuries to each other.
In the mating season, males fight for females
The winner immediately proceeds to courtship for the female. He begins to walk in circles, puff and snort. The process takes several hours. After it ends, the female lowers the needles and mating begins.
For posterity, the animal settles the nest. Inside the hedgehog causes grass and dry leaves. In one litter can be from 2 to 9 cubs. For their birth is considered favorable from May to October. If the nest was discovered by other animals or humans, then the female in the teeth carries offspring.
Hedgehogs are born helpless. They have no needles and no sight. The skin has a light pink color. The weight is within 20 grams, and the body is no more than 7 cm long. Soft needles will grow in just a few hours after birth. Over the next 1.5 days they will be painted in a dark color. For a short time they will also be able to see. The period of growth and development in hedgehogs passes quickly.
In the first days of life, babies mom warms their warmth.
Mother will need to warm the offspring in the first hours of life. Kids will learn to curl themselves in a ball only after 11 days. Needles will be fully formed at the end of 3 weeks after the birth of babies into the world. The female breastfeeds them for 1 month. After this, individuals begin an independent life.
In adult individuals offspring will turn in two months. In the second year of life they will become sexually mature in full. In the wild, individuals live no more than 5 years. However, in the conditions of the zoo, this period can be extended to 10 years. At the same time, attention is paid to nutrition, and optimal conditions are created for the winter period.
The hedgehog is an animal familiar to every inhabitant of our country. He is often the hero of children's fairy tales. He is met during walks in the woods and even in the city. Hedgehogs easily adapt to life near a person and today are popular pets. The animal is prickly. It can protect itself.
Interesting facts about hedgehogs
The overwhelming majority of animals that have gotten the right to live next to a person are distinguished by their timidity and caution. When meeting with the two-legged, they tend to flee. This also applies to rodents, which include the hedgehog. For example, a rat in every way will avoid meeting with a man. But the hedgehog may well run right near your feet.
This does not mean that hedgehogs are careless. Of course, they have an instinct for self-preservation, but the behavior of the animal is such that it does not see a serious danger in humans. Some manifestations of protection can be seen only if you lean towards him or try to touch it. In this case, the hedgehog will immediately curl up, and may also begin to hiss.
Despite the, in general, friendly character, hedgehog - this is not the best option for a pet. And for good reason:
- This is a night animal. That is, he sleeps during the day, and with the onset of twilight he goes outside, searching for food. Retraining a pet in a daytime manner is strongly discouraged, as it may adversely affect his health,
- hedgehogs have a peculiar smell. For the human sense of smell, frankly, it is bad. It is also impossible to get rid of it - this fragrance comes from substances secreted by the glands of the rodent,
- they are quite difficult to feed. A person who does not understand at all that it is necessary to add a hedgehog to the diet only risks harming his unusual pet.
In our country, you can meet a hedgehog almost everywhere
The hedgehog, who crawls out at night on the fields, will make all kinds of noise, throw shoes, bowls and other things. Few people can sleep in such conditions. In addition, in the house of the rodent lays a lot of dangers. For example, he can easily jump off the table if he somehow climbs on it.
Therefore, the cases when people returned hedgehogs to natural conditions cannot be called rare. But if you are seriously tuned in to create comfortable living conditions for a needle coil, you should remember that this should be done strictly in accordance with the existing recommendations.
What interests many people who have decided to get a pet - a dog, a cat, a rodent, a bird, etc.? Of course, the lifetime of the animal. As time goes by, you become strongly attached to a new family member, and when he dies, this is a real grief. So it is better that such a moment come as late as possible.
Speaking specifically about hedgehogs, their life expectancy in captivity and in the wild varies considerably.
Hedgehog and home conditions - is it compatible
Full Moreover, the hedgehog living in your house or apartment, as a rule, will have a longer life expectancy. At home, he is able to live up to 10 years - the difference with natural conditions is striking.
This can also be explained very simply:
- at home they will have as much food as they need. Unless, of course, the owner will not starve his pet. A sufficient amount of food will allow you to accumulate the required layer of subcutaneous fat. There is enough energy with your head to survive the hibernation without any problems,
- There is no need to fight with someone for their territory. The hedgehog house is its fortress. The place where he is the full owner,
- no need to fight with other males for the right of the "first wedding night" with a female,
- no risk of serious infection. If the hedgehog is still sick, you can immediately show it to the vet,
- the pet will not die under the wheels of the car, will not burn in a forest fire, will not be crushed by agricultural equipment during the harvest.
Hedgehog living in your house or apartment, as a rule, will have a longer life expectancy
In other words, the hedgehog is much more comfortable to live in the house of a person than on the street. Perhaps this partly explains the friendliness of the animal in relation to people. Taming him is no more difficult than a ferret, he is not aggressive, does not attack people and does not bite them. The only problem may be the hedgehog lifestyle, which was already mentioned above.
Toilet for hedgehog and other conditions for a comfortable stay in the house
Regular and high-quality food not only contributes to the smooth passage of hibernation, but also improves the health of a small rodent, because they are sources of vitamins, macro- and microelements, and other beneficial substances.
What should be in the diet of a home hedgehog:
- meat, fish, offal - necessarily, since these rodents are predators, respectively, they need animal protein,
- vegetables and fruits - a source of fiber and vitamins for the organism of your pet,
- live food is all kinds of insects, bugs, worms, even mice. If possible, add such an unusual food to the hedgehog’s diet,
- quail or chicken eggs,
- risk and buckwheat (preferably mixed with meat),
- special feeds for hedgehogs - they can be bought literally in every pet shop.
Regular and high-quality food not only contributes to the smooth passage of hibernation, but also improves the health of a small rodent
Hedgehogs drink only water. Do not stuff them with milk or some other drink - it will cause digestive problems.
It is also important to correctly equip the pet's home. The best option would be to buy a special cage for rodents. It is necessary to install:
- drinking bowl
- running wheel,
- Various toys of your choice.
Toilet is better to buy at the pet store. Suitable for hamsters. It is important to teach a hedgehog to walk precisely here, and not all over the cage, what he will do initially. To do this, put the toilet in the corner and throw out the pet's excrement. Over time, he will start going where it should.
It is important to understand that hibernation is an integral part of the hedgehog’s life, even at home. It is clear that the room is warm, and at this temperature he will not sleep. Therefore, you need to prepare your pet for hibernation in advance. To do this, scribble grass or straw into a cage, making a kind of nest, after which you will carry it to a cool place, for example, on a balcony. The optimal temperature for hibernation is about 5 degrees Celsius.
Hedgehog may well live at home. Moreover, in this case, the duration of his life increases and this, naturally, is very good.