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During the summer it is easy to come across a nice guy curly. The reason? In the summer season, hedgehogs change their den 20-30 times, are great walkers and go out hunting for food. But what the hedgehog eats and where it lives? In this article you will find the answer to these questions and other curiosities about the world of curls.
Thecurly it is an animal that can be easily found in our countryside. Its scientific name isErinaceus europaeus(European hedgehog). As it is covered in quills the hedgehog is often calledporcupine. In reality,hedgehog and porcupinethey are two different animals.
The porcupine is the porcupine, not the hedgehog
The termporcupineis used to identify theporcupine(Hystrix cristata), a rodent that is less popular than the hedgehog but can still be encountered in our countryside.
The porcupine is larger in size and has much larger quills than those of the curly. The quills are long and two-colored: black and white. In short, theporcupineis quite different from thecurlyyou see inphotoup!
The porcupine has dimensions ranging from 65 to 85 cm and a long tail between 12 and 18 cm. The tail of the hedgehog reaches about 2.5 cm in length and above all, the dimensions of its body are around 25 - 35 cm.
Clarify the differences betweenporcupine and hedgehog, let's move on to the central question of this article:what does the hedgehog eat?
The hedgehog has a very developed sense of smell. The sense of touch is also developed, it is no coincidence that the legs are well marked. Smell and touch are essential because thehedgehog is a nocturnal animal.
Characteristics of the hedgehog
On our territory there are several subspecies of hedgehog. Regardless of the species, the diet does not change. Before you seewhat the hedgehog eatslet's make an overview of its characteristics.
As stated, the hedgehog is a nocturnal animal: during the day it sleeps in its den while at night it goes out hunting for food. Thecurlyit is also habitual, which means that if it finds a good source of food, it will return often: if you learn to scrutinize its tracks, you will notice thatcurlythey travel the same route over and over again.
If you spot a hedgehog or the footprints of this animal, it means that you are near its lair: within 3 km there should be its lair. Females move slower and typically cover shorter journeys.
“Don't close yourself up like a hedgehog”. This expression comes precisely from a defensive strategy of the hedgehog. When the hedgehog feels in danger it "closes". It reacts, in fact, by immobilizing itself, straightening the quills on the back and then, when the threat looms, it closes itself "balling up" on itself.
Not only is it interesting to knowwhat the hedgehog eatsbut also what are yours natural predators. Among the main predators of the hedgehog are the foxes. Sometimes he developed a strategy to prey on the hedgehog despite its quills. When the hedgehog closes, the fox urinates on it, the hedgehog is forced to open up. The fox waits for the hedgehog to be completely open to bite its muzzle.
Hedgehog: what it eats
Curls have strong jaw bones and 36 teeth. The digestive system allows the hedgehog a very varied diet: it is omnivorous! This means you may find a hedgehog in your dog or cat's bowl, eating your pet's kibble.
In nature, the hedgehog has a healthier diet than your pets' kibble. It eats invertebrates of all kinds, eggs and ... even small newborn birds. It mainly feeds on reptiles and amphibians. As stated, it is omnivorous: it eats small mammals, especially mice. When he notices an adult mouse near his lair, he digs until he finds nests and eats the little mice just born.
Here, even a cute and innocent animal like the hedgehog can be a fearsome predator!
Hedgehogs can also feed on vipers but they do so only in exceptional cases. The hedgehog is afraid of snake bites. They only eat small vipers, berries and other plant material when cornered.
The hedgehog must not be disturbed. If you don't use pesticides and insecticides you can find it in your garden but you will have to leave it undisturbed.
The hedgehog in winter hibernates
The hedgehog is counted among the animals that hibernate. It is important that the hedgehog feeds abundantly during the summer. The reason? Hedgehogs hibernate but often do not wake up because during sleep they run out of fat reserves and therefore perish without seeing the following spring.
How long does a hedgehog live
The average life expectancy is about 3 years. The dangers are too many (famines, predators, cars…). Under ideal conditions the hedgehog could live up to 10 - 12 years of age.
Dead hedgehogs on the streets
Unfortunately, everyone has happened to notice a hedgehog squashed on the road. Statistics show that around 3 million hedgehogs have been killed by cars. Hedgehogs try to cross roads near country areas in search of food or water.
To limit the killing of sea urchins on the roads, in some countries they have created small tubular underpasses. Through these steps, i curlythey can cross the street undisturbed.
In the United Kingdom, an operation to count dead sea urchins on the roads has been started to monitor hedgehog populations. The operation is limited to the busiest streets.