The hedgehog ordinary

The hedgehog is a representative of the chordate type, class of mammals, order urchinae, family urchinae (Erinaceidae). Where the Russian name of the animal came from is still a mystery. There is a version that the term goes back to the Greek word "echinos", which translates as "snake eater". Another variant is based on the Indo-European "eg'h", which means"to prick".

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Common hedgehog of small size: body length 20-30 cm, tail length up to 3 cm, weight 700-800 g. The ears are small, up to 3.5 cm (larger in the subspecies that lives in Cyprus). Muzzle elongated. The nose is pointed and constantly wet. On the upper jaw there are 20 small sharp teeth, on the lower-16. the Head is large, wedge-shaped, slightly elongated. Paws with five fingers and sharp claws. The hind legs are longer than the forelegs. Needles are short, up to 3 cm in length, smooth. On the head they are separated by a "parting". Color is striped, brown and light. Inside the needles are hollow, with air. Between them are thin, long, sparse hairs. They are dark on the head and belly. An adult hedgehog usually has 5000-6000 needles, and young individuals have up to 3000. The color of the muzzle, belly and paws is yellowish-white or dark brown. The breast and throat are plain, without spots.

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The common hedgehog is an omnivorous animal. It feeds on adult insects, including harmful ones (may beetle, hairy ground beetle, nun caterpillar, unpaired silkworm), caterpillars, slugs, earthworms, and mice. Also eats fruits and berries. It can eat eggs and Chicks of small birds whose nests are located on the ground.

In captivity, hedgehogs eat snakes without harm to themselves. In the wild, this is also possible. The hedgehog is weakly affected by poisons (arsenic, sulema, opium, prussic acid). Their dose, which is fatal to a person or other animal, does not kill a hedgehog.

In captivity, hedgehogs eat snakes without harm to themselves. In the wild, this is also possible. The hedgehog is weakly affected by poisons (arsenic, sulema, opium, prussic acid). Their dose, which is fatal to a person or other animal, does not kill a hedgehog.

The common hedgehog lives in Western and Central Europe, great Britain, southern Scandinavia, North-Western Russia, Western Siberia and Kazakhstan. The species was introduced to New Zealand.

The animal is found in a wide variety of habitats, avoiding only swamps and solid coniferous forests. Hedgehog likes to live on the edges, in the woods, in small clearings, in floodplains, often near people. Now the hedgehog is easy to meet in the city limits, where it has no natural enemies.

The common hedgehog is active at night, but does not leave the house for a long time. The day is spent in nests and other shelters. The hedgehog builds its nest in bushes, a hole, a cave, an abandoned rodent hole, or in the roots of a tree. Its average diameter is 15-20 cm, inside is laid a Mat of dry grass, foliage, moss. Males behave aggressively towards each other and protect their territory from intruders. The area of one male plot is from 7 to 39 ha, the female from 6 to 10 ha. Animals lead a solitary lifestyle, and do not come close to each other.



After the onset of frost, the hedgehog closes the entrance to the burrow and goes into hibernation, on average from October to April. During the summer, the hedgehog stores a lot of fat, since if it is less than 500 g, it can die of hunger in the winter. After hibernation, the animal leaves the nest after the temperature rises to 15 °C.



Molting is slow, occurring in spring or autumn. During the year, one needle in three changes and grows from 12 to 18 months. Hedgehog carefully cares for the needles-licks and cleans.



The common hedgehog is a fairly fast animal for its size. It develops a speed of up to 3 m / s, swims and jumps well. The hedgehog's eyesight is poor, but it has a keen sense of smell and hearing.



The life span of an ordinary hedgehog in nature is 3-5 years, in captivity up to 8-10 years.

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When the winter hibernation ends, the hedgehog begins the mating period. Males often fight over females, bite, push, use needles in fights, while snorting and snorting. The one who came out of the battle victorious, long circling around the female. After mating, the male and female separate.

The hedgehog seeks shelter for itself or digs a hole, lining it with dry grass and foliage. The female only breeds one brood per year. The duration of pregnancy is 49 days. In a litter of 3-8 (on average 4) cubs. They are born naked, blind, with a body weight of about 12 g. After a few hours, babies have soft needles. The entire needle cover appears before day 15. The female feeds her young with milk for 1 month. After that, the hedgehogs live independently. They reach sexual maturity at the age of 10-12 months.

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