Where do hedgehogs live?
They inhabit a wide range across a variety of climates and terrains in East Africa, West Africa, and Central Africa. They must have dry shelters on well-drained soil and a good supply of ground-dwelling insects and other invertebrates. They are reported to be abundant in Suburban Nairobi, which meets these habitat conditions.
Tags: Hedgehog, Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Ethiopia, Kenya, Niger, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, Kilimanjaro, Maasai Steppe, Regional Parc W, East Africa
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What are hedgehogs?
They are a small mammal with short limbs and a body low to the ground. Their most distinctive characteristic is the thousands of stiff, sharp spines — harder and sharper than those of a porcupine — that cover the animal’s back and sides, like a pincushion filled with needles.
Hedgehogs are rarely caught off-guard.
This small, spiky animal can curl into a tight ball with spines sticking out in all directions. When they roll up, a special highly developed circular muscle that runs along the side of the body and across the rump and neck contracts and forms a “bag” into which the body, head, and legs are folded. They curl up if disturbed or frightened — only the strongest predators, such as the badger, can pry them open. They also sleep in this position, so are rarely caught unprotected.
Hedgehogs will eat one-third of their body weights in one night.
They wake up at dusk and begin foraging for food. They eat one-third of its body weight in one night. Their favorite foods are insects, earthworms, snails, and slugs, making it a welcome guest in many suburban gardens — they are even kept as a pet. They are also known to eat eggs, small mammals, birds, frogs, reptiles, fruit, fungi, and roots. Although not completely immune to toxins, they have enough resistance, which allows them to eat small poisonous snakes and scorpions with no ill effect.
They have courting rituals.
Hedgehogs perform a courtship in which the male circles around a female in heat, often for hours at a time. After mating, they usually go their separate ways.
They are anointed.
Hedgehogs have a peculiar practice where they will taste or chew on an object of interest and produce a foamy saliva. They will then proceed to self-anoint and rub this saliva all over their body. The reason for this practice is largely unknown.