Animals

Hedgehogs: habitats, species, features, lifestyle

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Hedgehog mammal, belonging to the class of chordates, the family of hedgehogs. Of origin hedgehog ordinary has not yet been studied. On the one hand, the name hedgehog translated from Greek as a serpent-eater, on the other hand, translates to "prick." Today we talk about habitat hedgehog, find out where and how he lives and feeds, what facts are there abouta hedgehog. Let's start with the descriptionhedgehog ordinary.

Description of an ordinary hedgehog

The body length of an ordinary hedgehog makes 20-30 cm,tail 3 cm weight up to 800 gr. Hedgehog color brown-brown, with dark peculiar crossbars. Have hedgehog rather large wedge-shaped form heads with a pointed muzzle and a long wet nose. Teeth it though small, but sharp! On the lower jaw there are 16 teeth, on the top 20, only 44 teeth. Rear paws hedgehog longer than the front, each of which has 5 fingers, namely the middle fingers help the hedgehog to clean the needles. Needles it is hollow, and between them you can see short hairs, and on the belly and head is regular wool.Hedgehog It carries about 10 thousand needles, which are updated from time to time. Moult it occurs slowly, in the autumn-spring period only every third needle changes, where the needles grow for about a year, sometimes longer.

Hedgehog the beast is nocturnal, therefore his sight is weak, but keen sense of smell and hearing. In case of danger, it collapses into a ball or runs away, where its speed will be 3-4 km / h. Besides, it floats perfectly. The lifetime of such a hedgehog on average 3-5 years. But at home can live 8-10 years.

Habitat of the hedgehog ordinary

As we said hedgehog lives 3-5 years, and the duration of his life depends on the natural enemies that forever hunt him: wolves, eagles, ferrets, foxes, mongooses, hyenas, jackals, owls, martens, badgers, honey badgers and many other predators. Hedgehogs live in forests, steppes, deserts, in cities. They dig for themselves minks under the roots of trees, under bushes, or settle in abandoned burrows. On their own hedgehog digs a mink 1 meter, preferring to hide in the hollows under the stones or in the crevices between the rocks. Happy hedgehog asleep, and at night goes hunting. Common hedgehogs inhabit in the territory of Western, Central Europe, in the North-West of Russia, in the United Kingdom, in Kazakhstan.

What hedgehog eats ordinary

Hedgehog it is omnivorous, in nature it feeds on insects and fruit. Of insects, he eats earthworms, beetles, spiders, caterpillars, slugs, earwigs, ground beetles with pleasure. Jerzy like lizards, mice, bird eggs, frogs and toads, locusts, crustaceans and invertebrates. Beyond mice, wild hedgehog eats and other small rodents, its diet is incredibly diverse. In addition, it is resistant to poison, such as snakes and scorpions, which allows them to dine without fear. From plant foodscommon hedgehog eats cereals, raspberries, mushrooms, apples, strawberries, blackberries, moss, acorns. But the carrion and garbage in the suburban areas will not have, it is a myth! Hedgehog it eats well during the summer, as it may die in hibernation in winter. It is the fat reserve that allows you to survive hibernation from October to April.

Hedgehog interesting facts

1. Hedgehog appeared on Earth 15 million years ago

2. Ancient Romans used skins hedgehogs for combing sheep

3. Hibernation, temperature hedgehog can reach 2 degrees

4. Fried hedgehog - favorite gypsy delicacy

5. Jerzy unable to catch up with the mouse, although not averse to such prey

6. Serbs treat alcoholism with urine and use his small heart as a talisman.

7. As we often see in cartoons, hedgehog on pins and needles drags mushrooms or apples - this is a myth! He is not able to curl in such a way as to plant food on needles

8. In the early 20th century, the McDonalds restaurant chain destroyed manyhedgehogs by chance. The fact is that ice cream cups were narrow, and hedgehogs at the garbage dumps, they gladly shoved their heads in these cups and licked the remnants of the sweet, but the trouble was that, because of the diameter, they could not pull the head back and fall into the trap! Protectors of animals protested, and the restaurant increased the diameter of the glass.

Where do hedgehogs live?

Hedgehogs appeared on Earth more than 15 million years ago. Today they live in Western and Central Europe, the European part of Russia, New Zealand, Scandinavia, and Kazakhstan. They are also found in the Far East and Siberia. They prefer to live in deciduous forests, on meadows and in thickets of bushes. In tall grassy plants, the roots of old trees, they can hide from enemies (foxes, owls, wild pigs, ravens, badgers and ferrets). Avoid dense conifers, mountainous and marshy areas.

Some species live in the dry steppes and deserts of Africa and the Middle East.

The hedgehog family (Erinaceidae) includes two subfamilies: the Hedgehogs, or real hedgehogs (Erinaceinae), and the hymns (Galericinae) (the so-called rat hedgehogs). Gymnury, unlike well-known real hedgehogs, covered with needles, are deprived of such “decoration”.

The subfamily Real hedgehogs combines 15 species of hedgehogs in four genera:

Representatives of the genus African hedgehog:

  1. Algerian,
  2. White-bellied
  3. Somali,
  4. South African.

Two species belong to the genus Steppe hedgehogs:

The genus of Eurasian hedgehogs includes:

  1. Eastern European,
  2. Amur,
  3. Ordinary or European.

Rod Eared hedgehogs:

  1. Apodal,
  2. Indian,
  3. Collared,
  4. Dark needle
  5. Ethiopian,
  6. Eared hedgehog.

Three species of these animals are found in the fauna of Russia: the common (European hedgehog), the Dahurian hedgehog and the eared hedgehog. The common hedgehog is the largest and most numerous species.

Eared hedgehog weighs almost half as much as usual. He fully justifies his name: his ears are really longer. In Russia, it is common in the Lower Volga region, in the North Caucasus, in Tuva. More information about eared hedgehog can be found in this article.

The Dahurian hedgehog is larger than the eared, prickly cover on the head is not divided by “parting”, as in the European hedgehog. Distributed in Transbaikalia. It differs from other species by the fact that it is also active during daytime in cloudy weather.

If you want to have a home hedgehog

A species like the African white-bellied for home keeping is much more suitable than the hedgehog (European). Dwarf African hedgehog - a hybrid breed, bred specifically for home maintenance. It is much smaller than the usual for us European, does not exude smell, is friendly and does not hibernate. In addition, the males of the African white-bellied hedgehog do not mark the territory, and the chutes of females are insignificant.

External features of hedgehogs

The body length is 14-30 cm, the tail is about 3 cm. The size of the hedgehog depends on whether it is an African or European animal. African hedgehogs grow to a maximum of 24 cm, European ones are larger - up to 30 cm. They weigh from 0.7 to 1.2 kg. The weight of animals depends on the season: in the fall they are the most well-fed.

Color hedgehogs may vary somewhat. The upper part is usually dark brown with light tops of the needles, but may be black or whitish-gray. The belly, depending on the type, is brown, gray or black, often with a white spot on the chest. The head and abdomen are covered with thick, coarse hair, which allows hedgehogs not to prick themselves with needles when curled up into a ball. Paws with sharp claws, back slightly longer than the front. There are 5 fingers on each foot.

In hedgehogs elongated movable muzzle, round black eyes and small rounded ears. The coat on the face varies from yellowish white to dark brown. The sharp nose of hedgehogs, like the nose of dogs, is constantly wet.

Most of the animal's body is covered with needles up to three centimeters long. Needles serve small animals as a good defense against most enemies: curled up in a thorny ball, the hedgehog becomes almost invulnerable to predators. On the middle part of the head there is a strip, not covered with needles or hair.

The needles are the “calling card” of hedgehogs, they cover the back and the upper part of the animal. Adult hedgehogs have more than 5,000 needles. Needles are modified hair. On the sides of the animal you can see very thin needles and thick bristly hair, showing the development of some of the others.

The hedgehog needles are light and strong, each has many small air chambers separated from each other by thin plates. Closer to the base, the needles taper to a thin flexible neck, and then re-expand to a small ball sitting in the skin. Such a device contributes to the fact that any external load on the needles (for example, a blow when falling) leads to bending of their thin moving part, and not to the introduction of the base of the needles into the body of the hedgehog. A small muscle is connected to the base of each needle, which brings it upright. Usually these muscles are relaxed and the needles are smoothed. When in danger, the hedgehog does not immediately roll up into a ball, at first it simply lifts the needles and waits for the threat to pass. Raised needles with sharp tips stick out in different directions at different angles, intersecting with each other, which creates almost impregnable armor.

How does a hedgehog curl up?

Everyone knows the ability of hedgehogs to curl up into a prickly tangle. But how do they do it? The fact is that under the skin they have powerful muscles, which are more developed on the sides than in the center of the back, forming a closed ring - circular muscle. When the circular muscle contracts, it acts like a string that tightens the opening of the bag. When the hedgehog begins to collapse, the two small muscles first push the skin with the acicular cover and the annular muscle lying under it on the muzzle and sides, then the circular muscle contracts, the head and the back part are pressed tightly to each other, and the needles tightly cover unprotected parts of the body. This device is very effective for protection against foxes, dogs, raccoons, birds of prey.

Needles, of course, the protection is good. However, they do not save hedgehogs from small bloodsucking parasites, on the contrary, favor their livelihoods on the animal. After all, an impenetrable acicular cover does not allow hedgehogs to be cleaned. Some animals become “shelter” for thousands of fleas and dozens of ticks. In addition, hedgehogs suffer from mycoses.

What do hedgehogs eat in the wild?

The hedgehog is an omnivorous animal. His diet is mainly composed of insects, earthworms, snails, slugs, frogs, vole mice. Sometimes can eat amphibian or reptile. In addition, hedgehogs are not against eating and vegetable food: fruits, berries, acorns. If you are lucky, the hedgehog gladly feasts on the eggs and chicks of small birds nesting on the ground.

The hedgehogs have weak eyesight. When interacting with the outside world, they mainly rely on smell and hearing. The eared hedgehog differs in especially sensitive hearing: it perceives high-frequency sounds up to 45 kHz, while a person hears only up to 18-20 kHz. This feature helps hedgehogs to find invertebrates under the ground.

Hedgehogs and snakes

Many have heard about the amazing property of hedgehogs - snake venom resistance. However, this ability, in contrast to mongooses, is not absolute (hedgehogs are only partially resistant to poison) and varies in different individuals. From the poison of hedgehogs protects the antihemorrhagic substance erinacin - a protein secreted by the muscles of the animal. This substance interferes with hemorrhagic and proteolytic activity of the poison. Erinacin, together with a protective needle cover, allows hedgehogs to attack snakes and eat them with a successful duel, but this does not happen often.

Hedgehogs lifestyle

Hedgehog - a night animal. During the day, he sleeps in some kind of shelter or nest, which he arranges in bushes, holes, heaps of brushwood, under the roots of old trees, in abandoned burrows and other secluded places, and with the onset of twilight he goes hunting.

These prickly little animals, by their nature, are homebodies and loners, but they settle nearby from each other, while trying not to intersect. Males are aggressive in relation to other males of their own species and vigilantly guard their area from the invasion of competitors.

With the onset of cold weather, hedgehogs collect dry leaves and grass and drag them into their nest, trying to warm it up properly. In October, when frosts come, ordinary hedgehogs close the entrance to the shelter and fall into a deep stupor - hibernation. During the summer, the animal needs to build up enough fat (not less than 0.5 kg), otherwise in winter it may die of starvation. During hibernation, all life processes are slowed down: the body temperature of the animals drops from 33.7 to 1.8 ° C, the pulse rate decreases from 180 beats per minute to 20-60, the hedgehog takes only one breath per minute. Hibernation usually lasts until April. When the air temperature reaches the mark of + 15 ° С and stable warm weather sets in, hedgehogs come out of the nest.

Breeding

Recovering after hibernation, the hedgehog goes in search of the "bride".

Males often arrange fierce fights for females. Opponents hustle with their prickly shells, bite each other by the muzzle and legs, but do not injure. After some time, the weaker opponent retreats, and the winner, with renewed vigor, begins to care for his chosen one, circling around for hours, puffing and snorting. Such efforts can not go unnoticed.

After mating, the animals scatter in their usual business. Shortly before giving birth (and the pregnancy lasts 49 days), the hedgehog begins to prepare the nest for posterity. Usually born from three to eight ezhat. They are born completely helpless, naked and blind. The skin of newborns is bright pink in color, and body weight is only 12 grams. Needles in newborns are located under the skin, but already 6 hours after birth, the first soft needles are visible. By the fifteenth day of life, the needle cover is completely formed. The female responsibly treats her parental duties: in case of any danger she takes the mouth of her children and takes them to a new shelter. Grow ezhata quickly. For a month they feed on nourishing mother's milk, and by the fall their independent life begins. They reach sexual maturity by 10-12 months.

Conservation in nature

In the past two decades, the number of ordinary hedgehogs has been noticeably decreasing. The main reason is the separation of their habitats as a result of human activity, which leads to the separation of large populations into many small, unrelated to each other. According to studies, the hedgehog populations, which are only 15 km apart, have a different genetic composition, which indicates a rare exchange between populations.

Another significant reason for the disappearance of hedgehogs is their high mortality on the roads, where a defensive strategy, so effective against predators, dooms them to death under the wheels of cars.

The habitat of hedgehogs is constantly being destroyed by humans: animals are killed by insect-fighting agents, deaf fences, barriers, chain-link nets, which prevent their movement in gardens.

It is worth thinking: hedgehogs are one of the most ancient animals on earth, they survived the ice age, and the reduction of their numbers is an alarming sign for humanity.

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 rounded 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 excellent hearing, 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 ranked as moles and shrews. Also, it should not be assumed that any prickly creature has kinship with hedgehogs (as an example, a sea urchin, 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. On them there are 5 fingers with sharp claws.
  4. A fur 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 gets 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 coat, 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.

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. Также у животного есть хвост, который вырастает от 1 до 21 см в длину.

У животных крупная голова клиновидной формы и вытянутая мордочка с заостренным, подвижным и влажным носом.

Зубы ежа мелкие и острые, на верхней челюсти расположено 20 зубов, на нижней — 16. Некоторые виды ежей имеют до 44 зубов. Первые резцы увеличены и похожи на клыки.

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.

What eat hedgehogs in nature?

The hedgehog is omnivorous, but the basis of the diet is made up of adult insects, earwigs, beetles, spiders, ground beetles, caterpillars, slugs, wood lice, earthworms. Also hedgehogs like to eat toads, locusts, eggs of birds, crustaceans and invertebrates. Northern hedgehog populations feed on lizards, frogs, mice and other small rodents.

All species of the hedgehog family are resistant to any, even the most toxic poisons, so hedgehogs eat poisonous snakes and scorpions. Do not disdain hedgehog carrion, as well as food waste, which can be found in the suburban areas. The forest hedgehog plant food is mushrooms, moss, acorns, cereal seeds, and any sweet berries — strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries.

Over the summer, the hedgehog must be well fed out, otherwise the animal may die during hibernation. A substantial supply of fat allows hedgehogs to remain in a state of suspended animation from October to April.

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 hedgehog 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 up 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)

It has a body length from 15 to 22 cm. The weight of an animal reaches 350-700 g. Color is usually brown or gray, hedgehog needles have white tips. Usually the African hedgehog snorts or screams quietly, but in case of danger it may scream loudly. The tail of a hedgehog reaches 2.5 cm in length. The eyes of the animal are small, the ears are round, the females are larger than the males.

African hedgehogs live south of the Sahara desert, in countries such as Nigeria, Sudan, Ethiopia, Senegal, Mauritania. They eat spiders, insects, scorpions, snakes, snails, worms.

  • Long needle hedgehog (dark-needled, bald hedgehog) (lat. Paraechinus hypomelas)

Has the size to 22-27 cm in length with a body weight of 500-900 grams. 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. However, 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.

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.

How to feed a hedgehog at home?

The basis of home hedgehog food should be raw, lean, sliced ​​meat, boiled liver and fresh fish. As a delicacy you can offer a hedgehog of bloodworms, meal worms, crickets, cockroaches. Also, a home hedgehog can be fed with apples and carrots. Many wonder if hedgehogs can milk. In fact, you can’t feed your pet’s milk, because hedgehogs are lactose intolerant, and milk can not only cause indigestion in an animal, but also lead to its death. It is also not recommended to offer homemade hedgehog earthworms, snails, slugs and cockroaches caught in nature, as they can be infected with parasites and lead to a hedgehog disease.

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.

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