Long eared hedgehog
Today, I am going to discuss a species of hedgehog’s family that is native to Central Asian countries and the Middle East countries. Its name is long eared hedgehog. As the name indicates, they can be easily recognized by eye-catching long ears. Having long ears is the distinctive feature of this hedgehog which distinguishes it from other hedgehogs. It is considered the smallest hedgehog among Middle Eastern hedgehogs. They are nocturnal animals. They have a great sense of hearing and smell that they used to detect predators. They are smaller in size but can run much faster.
The fact behind its name
Whenever a new species is discovered, it is given a unique name. The name given to species must be unique to the genus to which it has been assigned. Interestingly, when long-eared hedgehogs were discovered, they were named because of their unique feature of having long ears.
Long eared hedgehog tortoise classification
Let’s have a look at its classification:
|Scientific Name||Hemiechinus auritus|
|Gestation period||37 days|
Long eared hedgehog physical appearance
They are small, nocturnal mammals. They have soft skin and large ears. Their ears are 30–45 mm longer which they used for heat radiation in deserts. The tongue of this hedgehog has a rectangular shape. Let’s try to explore its characteristics a bit deeper!
Long eared hedgehog color
Their skin is beautifully colored and designed, thus falls a glance at the eyes of its visitor. They do not have dark and light areas on their faces. Their spines are banded with dark brown and white and the underparts of the hedgehog are whitish. Also, there is no gap of spines on the back of their neck.
Long eared hedgehog size and weight
They are smaller in size. The length of its head and body is round about 120-270mm and the tail is 10-50mm long. Their skull is about 38–48 mm long. The ears are longer than half the length of their head. They are less likely to curl up in a ball when detected by predators but will try to jump at predators with their short needles. Along with their size, their weight is also less. Long eared hedgehog weight lies between 250 to 400 grams.
Long eared hedgehog tortoise facts
Let’s explore some facts related to this tortoise!
- Amazingly, smoke from burnt spines of dead Hedgehogs is believed to treat animals suffering from FMD.
- In spite of having long ears, they are also known for having an aggressive personality.
- It is many bits similar to the Ethiopian hedgehog.
- As they are nocturnal, they can wander up to 9km in a single night in order to search for food.
- It will be interesting to know that they are kept as pets in some places
- Their soles are bare but the tops and heels of feet are covered with hair.
- As they live in areas that are usually wasteland or desert, they can be agriculturally beneficial because they do not pose any damage to crops.
- They have poor eyesight, so they follow their sense of hearing and smell.
- During hibernation, their heart rate goes from 190 beats per minute to 20.
- They can stay alive for about 10 weeks without eating or drinking.
Long eared hedgehog diet
They are omnivores, mainly insectivores because 70% of their diet consists of insects. As they are nocturnal solitary animals, they search for food in the early evening. They use their great sense of hearing and smell to search for food. You will be amazed to know that they also eat harmful insects.
What do long eared hedgehogs eat?
It will be interesting to know what long-eared hedgehogs eat. As 70% of their diet consists of insects, so they feed mostly on insects, beetles, caterpillars, worms, and a small number of slugs and snails. They also eat amphibians, small vertebrates like snakes and plants. We all have different tastes; the same is the case with long eared hedgehogs. Their favorite food includes grasshoppers, beetles, and other insects. They also fruit, vegetables, eggs.
Long eared hedgehog lifespan
Their lifespan depends on the diet they take. It would be helpful to know how long the hedgehog lives. In captivity, they can live for as long as 7 years. They live in burrows that it either makes or finds and is characterized by its long ears.
They are reported to be a common species and widely distributed throughout its range. At present, there are no major threats to their population. Currently, this species is considered as “Least Concern” on the IUCN red list.
The different species living in the wild are prey to different predators. Their lifespan also depends on how frequent they are in saving themselves from predators. However, these hedgehogs are prey to Eurasian eagle owl, Pharaoh eagle owl, and interestingly, it makes 14 percent of a bird’s diet.
Long eared hedgehog habitat
After doing the research on these hedgehogs, it is demonstrated that most of these hedgehogs are found in Central Asian countries, while some are found in the Middle East. Their range extends from Eastern Ukraine through Mongolia to China. Their range is widely distributed from the eastern Mediterranean region, through arid areas of Asia to Western Pakistan. Along with these areas, they are also found in countries like Russia, Turkey, Uzbekistan, Libya, Cyprus, Egypt, Afghanistan, and Turkmenistan.
Where do long eared hedgehogs live?
Inside their native habitat, these hedgehogs are fond of living in dry steppes, they do not prefer to live in the extremely hot desert, but can only settle in semi-deserts. They love to live in forest shelterbelts. Dry river valleys and gullies plus shrubby areas, and often adjust in oases.
Long eared hedgehog breeding
Because they have spines, might one think that they do not reproduce, so you will be surprised to know that their spines do not inhibit their ability to reproduce. Their breeding season is summer. They breed only once a year in the months of July through September. Their gestation period lasts for 35-42 days. The female give birth to 2-3 babies.
Long eared hedgehog baby
Once the gestation period is completed, Hoglets are born with very few spines. Newborn young are more vulnerable to predators and thus need special care by their mother hedgehog. They open their eyes after one week. After birth, within five hours their spines become double in size. And after two weeks of their birth, spines are fully developed. And after the development of new spines, they start to eat solid food.
Long eared hedgehog behavior
They have hibernating, sedentary behavior. Their sharp spines on the back protect them from predators. They have the ability to run away from predators. Instead of hiding inside the burrows, these hedgehogs confront their predators and try to defend themselves. They dig burrows inside the ground which are 45 cm long with a single opening. Interestingly, they also use the burrows of other small mammals. They come out of their burrows in the early evening for the sake of food. However, they can stay alive for up to ten weeks without eating or drinking.
Role in maintaining a balanced ecosystem
One important characteristic that should not be ignored by anyone is that these hedgehogs help to maintain the ecosystem by eating those harmful insects like termites and scorpions that destroy the agricultural crops leading to unhealthy vegetations.
Long eared hedgehog as a pet
Unfortunately, it’s not as easy as it looks to own this hedgehog as a pet and looks after it. Now, let me give you the reasons. These hedgehogs are known to carry the deadliest diseases such as Rhipicephalus sanguineus. It can transmit Boutonneuse fever. Another disease such as the plague is also known to be carried by them. Thus, if you want to own it as a pet, consider buying it from professional breeders.
Long eared hedgehog care
Caring your hedgehog pet is as important as you do care for yourself. But, honestly speaking, it’s a hard row to hoe! Let me give you some tips and tricks to look after your pet.
Try to schedule a proper diet plan, whatever diet you are selecting try to give it to you on time because if you don’t, it would make them aggressive. Structure their habitat with an enclosure consisting of natural plants. A wider enclosure should be selected as they cannot survive in confined places. Proper care can help you make a friendlier relationship with your pet.