This representative was opened in 1770 by Russian traveler Samuel Gotlib Gmelin. Belongs to the genus of the eared hedgehogs of the Yezhov family. Relatively few representative, who is in the Red Book of some countries.
Eared hedgehog is a rather small representative of hedgehogs with a body length from 12 to 27 centimeters and a tail up to 2 centimeters. The weight of these hedgehogs ranges from 200 to 500 grams. On their heads there are large ears with a long one up to 5 centimeters. Muzzle elongated gray-black. There is a small strip on the forehead without wool. The woolen cover of black and gray or brown-light shade. Short and sharp needles with longitudinal rollers are located on the back. The needles themselves can be both light and dark shade. The body is rounded with long limbs and a short tail.
Sexual dimorphism in eared hedgehogs is very weak, females have practically no external differences from males.
The territory of the habitat
The eared hedgehog spread in many countries of the southeast of Europe, Asia and North Africa. Many species live in the deserts and steppes of Kazakhstan. In Russian latitudes, it is found on the territory of the Volga steppes, Tuva and the Western of Siberia. A small part of these animals is located in Ukraine. Dry clay or sandy lands are chosen as a habitat.
Most of the diet of eared hedgehogs consists of various small insects. They can be found for eating various varieties of beetles, rainworms and insect larvae. In the steppe regions they find food in the form of lizards, frogs, rodents and chicks. Can eat fruits of fruits, berries and plant seeds. Eared hedgehogs have immunity to many types of poisons, therefore, poisonous snakes and beetles-maiki may be present in their food, which produce a dangerous poison called Cantaridin.
Eared hedgehogs can live for a long time without food and liquid. Studies say that in this state they can be up to 10 weeks.
The eared hedgehog is noteworthy with its ability to quickly run, in comparison with other types of hedgehogs. In the event of a predator, the hedgehog bends his head and makes the sounds of hissing. Also able to prick the enemy with his needles.
The propagation period may vary depending on the climatic conditions. For example, the inhabitants of the southern countries begin the period in July, and the inhabitants of the cold regions in April. After mating, the female expels the male and begins to actively look for or build a hole for her future offspring. Pregnancy lasts about 45 days. They are born, as a rule, from 4 to 7 defenseless hedges. Cubs do not have a needle and woolen cover, vision and hearing. However, in the back can you notice a small groove with small points the rudiments of the needles. In a week, small hedgehogs learn to crawl. After 14 days they gain hearing and vision, and can also leave their holes to warm up in the sun.
For the first 2 months, the eared hedgehogs eat mother’s milk. After a month and a half, they become almost completely independent. Females become sexually mature in the year of life, and males at two years old. In conditions of nature, their life expectancy varies from 3 to 6 years.
Lifestyle and behavior
The period of activity of eared hedgehogs falls on at night. About 9 kilometers can pass during the night. In the daytime they prefer to relax or sleep in their minks. As a rule, they are hidden in the holes specially dug in the ground, under the roots of trees, stones or bushes. Burrows of eared hedgehogs can reach 150 centimeters in depth. Most often, they prefer to populate already designed holes, foxes and other species of mammals.
The main enemies of these hedgehogs are such animals as predatory birds, badgers, foxes and wolves. On the body of eared hedgehogs, ixodic ticks are parasitic, which are pathogens and carriers of pyroplasmosis disease that is dangerous for pets.
From the beginning of autumn, the eared hedgehogs begin to eat actively that accumulate enough fat for hibernation. The hibernation itself begins from November to April. During this time, eared hedgehogs can wake up several times and even look for food for themselves. This period is characteristic only for those hedgehogs that live in cold regions. South eared hedgehogs can only hibernate if there is no sufficient amount of food.
- It is noteworthy that the eared hedgehogs are good orderlies of agricultural land, since they feed on many parasitic insects and rodents. Especially if they live near human settlements.
- The type of eared hedgehogs is listed in the Red Book of Ukraine and Eurasia in the lists of animals in need of protection. Many species of these hedgehogs artificially divorce in many reserves. An important reason for the reduction of their number is to destroy their natural habitat dry steppes.
- It is believed that these animals inhabited our planet a few million years ago, and their appearance was preserved pristine to this day.
- Thanks to their fast running, predators may not catch up with this small agile hedgehog.
- During the propagation period, males are able to make sounds similar to singing.
- Eared hedgehogs are very resistant to serious temperature changes.