Since childhood, many of us have developed an incorrect stereotype about hedgehogs. Largely thanks to fairy tales and Soviet cartoons, someone imagines a hedgehog as a pretty animal carrying an apple or mushroom on his back.
But this is not entirely true, if only because hedgehogs are for the most part omnivorous.
These animals are one of the most ancient mammals on Earth. They arose more than 56 million years ago. The Yezhov family is the only one of the annuals that have survived to this day. Once there once existed, even those that could easily compete in force, or at least in size with wolves.
- Description and characteristics of the hedgehog
- Appearance and structure
- The subfamily of the Herry
- Genus African hedgehogs
- Rod Eurasian hedgehogs
- Genus Steppe hedgehog
- The genus is longgroomed hedgehogs
- Gimnuric subfamily (rat hedgehogs)
- Genus gymnurs
- The genus Small gymnurs
- Power of hedgehogs
- Reproduction of hedgehogs
Description and characteristics of the hedgehog
The hedgehog family belongs to the detachment of insectivorous mammals. It is divided into two subfamilies: real hedgehogs (hedgehogs) and rat hedgehogs (gymnore). Together, they include 24 species combined in 10 genera.
Representatives of the family live on Earth, although some species climb into trees without hindrance or swim in ponds (concerns more rat hedgehogs).
The hedgehogs are omnivorous and feed, among other things, other animals, so they can be called predators. As a result, they lead a night lifestyle, although there are exceptions. Hedgehogs themselves are also objects of hunting larger predators: wolves, foxes, ferrets, owls and other birds of prey.
Since hedgehogs occupy an intermediate position in the natural food chain, they play an important role in biocenosis:
Appearance and structure
The structure and appearance of the heds varies depending on the subfamily, kind and specific type. The body length of the hedgehogs can be 10 and 45 cm (some gymnuras reach this length). The tail can be short (1 cm) and very long (21 cm). Mass from several hundred grams to 1.5 kg.
The hedgehogs have strong physique, the gymnurians have more fragile. In the latter, you can clearly distinguish the neck, in the Hedgehogs it is not visible at all under the needle cover. In both subfamilys, the tip of the muzzle will be pulled out and moving. This is a characteristic feature for insectivorous.
The hedgehogs have well developed organs of vision and hearing, the limbs are fivefingered, sometimes fourfingered. The skin has no sweat glands. The wool on the muzzle is short, on the sides and stomach there is a longer. The longest on their backs, and in the Hedgehogs, the main part is transformed into needles. Vibrissas are short.
The skull of the Hedgehogs is shortened and wide, in gymnurians a narrower. Teeth in an amount of 28 to 44 pieces. The development of fangs and incisors depends on the type of nutrition and varies from the view to the view. The spine has a cervical, chest, lumbar, sacral and tail.
The digestive tract is notable for a singlechamber stomach and the absence of the cecum. The females have a two-horned uterus and 2-5 pairs of nipples. The males have intraabdominal seeds.
The subfamily of the Herry
The subfamily of the Hedgehogs (or real hedgehogs) unites hedgehogs in the usual sense. These are tightly folded, small shortlegged animals with a shortened tail. The entire surface of their back is covered with modified to a solid state with hairs (needles) interspersed with ordinary wool. Immediately under the skin of the hedgehogs are muscles, with the reduction of which animals can be curled up in case of danger.
Representatives of this subfamily are common in Africa, Europe and south of Asia. In New Zealand, they were delighted. Are not found at all in North and South America, in Australia and Madagascar.
Genus African hedgehogs
South African Hedgehog
Rod Eurasian hedgehogs
East European hedgehog
Genus Steppe hedgehog
The genus is longgroomed hedgehogs
Darkgroomed hedgehog (bald hedgehog or longgroomed hedgehog)
Gimnuric subfamily (rat hedgehogs)
Representatives of this subfamily outwardly not at all like real hedgehogs. They resemble rats, which is why they are differently called rat hedgehogs.
The body of the Gimnurovs is more elongated, and the large head is a third of its length. Gymnores do not have needles, the surface of their body is covered with wool. The length of the gymnura can be up to 45 cm. Their tail is long with rare short hairs. The allocation of an unpleasant onion and garlic smell, they are protected from enemies. Swim well, so they can diversify their menu by water inhabitants. Live mainly in Southeast Asia.
The genus Small gymnurs
Power of hedgehogs
Ezhovaya are omnivorous animals. It all depends on the type and habitat. They feed on various insects, worms, slugs. Often their diet includes amphibians and reptiles: newtons, frogs, lizards, snakes.
It is noteworthy that hedgehogs can eat poisonous animals. At the same time, the poison in those doses that are deadly for humans and other living beings is completely harmless to a hedgehog. He can easily enjoy viper (even bites are not afraid of him) or bugs-thaws. But, of course, the dose of poison should be moderate, otherwise even a hedgehog resistant to it will have to be bad.
Do not disdain the hedgehogs also with poultry eggs. In the more northern regions, representatives of the Yezhov family completely arrange hunting for small mammals, for example, mice or ground.
It is also known that the hedgehogs use plant foods: berries, fruit fruits, seeds, parts of plants. Mushrooms and mosses are also suitable for eating hedgehogs. Some species do not disdain and carrion other animals. Views living near human dwellings eat food waste.
Hedgehogs can eat a lot in one reception. Sometimes the amount of eaten is a third of the mass of the beast itself.
Representatives of the Yezhov family settled in completely different places. Their habitat is wide, but not everyday. They live in dry and humid forests, near reservoirs and far from them, in clearings and edges, in the steppes, in the sands of deserts, at a twokilometer height in the mountains and even in forest belts and parks. Can live near human dwellings and settlements. They do not like a very swampy area and thick coniferous forests.
Hedgehogs, real and rats, prefer a secretive and secluded lifestyle. They settle in dense dense shrubs, under the stones, among the roots of trees. Can settle in strangers abandoned burrows or dig their own. From a place chosen as a home, they try not to retreat. Geographically hedgehogs mastered about half the earth’s land.
Representatives of the family are common:
On the islands of New Zealand were brought in the second half of the 19th century by immigrants from Europe.
Their habitats do not include continents of North and South America, Australia, as well as Antarctica. There are no them in such large islands as Greenland and Madagascar.
Reproduction of hedgehogs
No matter how separately and secluded the hedgehogs lived, at least one or twice a year during the marriage period of a female and male. The puberty in the hedgehogs occurs 10-14 months after birth.
In early spring, after waking up from winter hibernation, the animals find each other in the smell, which is used in ordinary life to scare away enemies. As a result of short battles for the female, the winner of the male mating with her, and on this intershower relations end.
Pregnancy, lasting differently in subfamily and species (from 30 to 58 days), ends with the birth of blind pink cubs in an amount of 1 to 9. The larger the view, the less cubs is born.
The female arranges a nest in advance for her brood, catching its bottom with grass and leaves. Yezhovy kids grow rapidly and develop. And since the lactation period lasts only about a month, they have to start living on their own early.
Representatives of the family in the natural habitat do not live long, from 3 to 7 years old. In captivity, with proper care and good nutrition, their life expectancy increases to 10, and sometimes to 16 years.