The Life of Hedgehogs

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Non-Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic

Featured Review on this writing by JE Falcon


The Life of Hedgehogs

Obscure Facts-Hedgehogs have poor Vision and very good hearing. 

 

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Photo byTadeusz Lakota onUnsplash

 

A hedgehog is a mammal that used to be very common in English hedgerows and is now less noticed in the countryside. They got their name from their foraging habits for insects, worms, centipedes, snails, mice, frogs, and snakes and for their pig-like grunts. They are omnivores.  Hedgehogs are known as the gardeners’ friends because they eat all the unwanted pests of the garden. 

 

Hedgehogs have a life span of up to 6 years, they range in size from 13 to 30 cm, with an average weight of 700 g. They are native to Europe, Asia and Africa. They have been introduced into non-traditional ranges such as New Zealand. Their Scientific name is Erinaceus Europaeus, for the European Hedgehog. A group of hedgehogs is called an “array”.

 

The hedgehog is nocturnal, so sleeps during the day, coming out at night. Its coat is thick and spiny providing it protection from badgers and foxes, which are their main predators, also, the male hedgehog will sometimes eat its young. As well, when the nest is disturbed, the mother will sometimes eat her young  They have about 5000 spines, which are hollow and springy, attached to a ball, at the base, which can bend on impact, and are ejected by muscles. 

 

There were 15 species known until lately when 2 more species were found. The Barebellied hedgehog was found in India and a Gaoligong forest hedgehog. (Wang’s forest hedgehog)

 

Hedgehogs do carry fleas but they are specific hedgehog flees that rarely bites humans. They have a long, extended snout, and a good sense of smell which helps them hunt for food since they have very poor vision. Their eyes are adapted to night vision. 

 

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Photo byDennis Alvear Perez onUnsplash


 

To encourage them into yards, gardeners can feed them some dog or cat food. When they experience a strong smell or taste, they spray themselves with foamy saliva. 

 

Hedgehogs are solitary creatures and usually pair just to mate. The male will circle the female for hours encouraging her to mate.  After, he is gone and not part of the raising of the litters.

 

Young are born blind and with soft quills after 32 days, in litters of one to eleven, and remain with their mother for four to six weeks.  After that, the mother takes them out for a foraging trip. Within 10 days, the family will separate. 

 

Not all hedgehogs hibernate, they do in cold climates, from November to mid-March in their nests of leaves and grass. In warmer climates such as deserts, they sleep through heat and drought in a similar process called aestivation. In temperate climates, they are active all year. 

 

Hedgehogs are grouped by their colours and markings, their environment, and the countries in which they are found. They number 17 species now. 

 

Hedgehogs are now something of a rare sight in British gardens and are disappearing at the same rate as tigers worldwide. Rural hedgehogs have halved in number since 2000 and urban hedgehogs have declined by a third. 

 

This decline is due to the removal of hedgerows for more elaborate gardens with fencing, and manicured lawns. Because of this, their food sources have decreased. 

 

Also, the badger population has grown significantly and they are their main predator.

 

Road deaths exceed 100,000 in Britain. Their habitats are broken by fencing, so groups such as the British Hedgehog Preservation Society launched Hedgehog Street in 2011 to champion the species and its habitat with hedgehog highways, square holes cut in fencing. Injuries and deaths of hedgehogs can be decreased by checking compost before digging with a fork, checking long grass before using a mower.  Also, moving piles of leaves, to a new site before burning and checking bonfires before lighting, can prevent burns. 

 

It is up to us all to be aware of the value of our wildlife and to live harmoniously with them wherever possible.

 

…………………………………………………………………………………………..

Shirley Langton 2020 



 

 

 


Submitted: November 17, 2020

© Copyright 2020 Shirley M. Langton. All rights reserved.

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Comments

88 fingers

As we build and progress, it's the ones who can't speak up for themselves who lose. Good article about an animal that can be useful to humans.

Wed, November 18th, 2020 12:33am

Author
Reply

Thank you. Shirley

Tue, November 17th, 2020 5:50pm

JE Falcon

Nicely worded Shirley, and very informative. Besides, it was a fun read after all the Boo-Hoo, poor me stories. Thanks!

Wed, November 18th, 2020 6:35pm

Author
Reply

You're very welcome, glad you liked it. Shirley

Wed, November 18th, 2020 1:49pm

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