(Last Updated On: April 15, 2021)

The Indian hedgehog, scientific name Paraechinus micropus is a species of hedgehog native to India and Pakistan. It primarily lives in sandy desert areas however may be present in different environments.

Indian Hedgehog Profile

Male and feminine Indian hedgehogs meet solely to breed and reproduce. The feminine provides beginning to as many as three cubs and raises them on her personal without the assistance of the male.

Being part of the family Erinaceidae, the Indian hedgehog has a really numerous diet consuming bugs, frogs, toads, bird eggs, snakes, and scorpions. Although it does not hibernate, it’s nonetheless able to slow down its metabolism when meals are scarce.

When hazard presents itself, the Indian hedgehog rolls up right into a ball. The higher facet of the body has spines to guard against predators. The Indian hedgehog is able to dig burrows about 45 cm long.

They use these to sleep in and to remain hidden from hazards. Any open burrow is an honest game they usually inhabit any which might be vacant. Like all hedgehogs, these animals undergo a process referred to as self-anointing.

They unfold their very own saliva on their spines and fur after tasting or smelling one thing that’s unfamiliar to them. This behavior happens in each sex, in any respect ages, and at any time of the year.

Indian Hedgehog Geographic Range

Indian hedgehogs, Paraechinus micropus, are discovered within the Oriental area, particularly in parts of India and Pakistan. In Pakistan, these hedgehogs dwell in scattered native populations within the south.

In India, they’re native to the western part of the nation, together with Punjab, and are additionally discovered to the south within the Deccan area. This disjunct Deccan inhabitant might have been launched at a while, though that’s unsure.

Indian Hedgehog

Indian Hedgehog Description

The Indian hedgehog may be in comparison with the long-eared hedgehog (Hemiechinus auritus) which has an analogous lifestyle and look. It is thought for its masked face, darkish with a white top, considerably much like a raccoon.

It is comparatively small with the adult male weighing about 435 grams and the adult feminine about 312. They are fairly quick, though not as quick because of the long-eared hedgehog.

Its coloration is predominantly brown with a couple of lighter shades of brown. The tail is just about 2-4 centimeters long. It has a stocky body with a brief head, a long snout, small, darkish eyes, and comparatively giant ears.

Its legs are a gray-brown coloration with 5 digits on every and small however robust claws. Hedgehogs are protected species below Schedule IV of the Wildlife Protection Act (1972).

Indian Hedgehog Habitat

Indian hedgehogs favor scorching and arid environments, usually the deserts of their range. In Pakistan, these hedgehogs inhabit tropical thorn forests in addition to irrigated farmlands.

They require adequate vegetative cover for his or her prey and to be used as nest lining and are due to this fact unable to dwell in harsher desert environments.

Indian Hedgehog Physical Traits

The dental formulation for Indian Hedgehog is 3/3, 1/1, 3/2, 3/3. The higher incisors are separated by a niche and are long and barely projecting, whereas the cheek teeth have a four-sided occlusal floor and raised cusps.

Indian hedgehogs are small and rounded like others of the family Erinaceidae, with a pointed nostril and quick legs. Paraechinus micropus has darkish legs with comparatively small feet and claws.

The ears are giant and barely pointed, and the eyes are additionally well-developed. The species is famous for the broad spineless space on the scalp and for his or her darkish muzzle; the darkish patch might take numerous shapes however is distinct from the in any other case pale fur. The brow fur is white, as is the fur of the underbelly and sides.

This coloration is standard for the species, however, melanism and albinism do happen. The fur of P. micropus has been reported as skinny or tender and dense, and the bushy tail is brief.

Spines cover the dorsal pores and skin and a part of the edges, however not the face, tail, or legs. The spines are grooved and lie easily when a hedgehog is calm, or develop into prolonged when a hedgehog is agitated.

Spine colors range from white to yellow with black and darkish brown bands, though one coloration will dominate and most spines generally have just one darkish band.

Males of P. micropus are barely bigger than females. An adult male weighed 435 g, whereas a lactating feminine weighed solely 312 g. An adult measures 140-272 mm long for the pinnacle and body, with an extra 10-40 mm for the tail.

The younger are born without spines, however have dorsal tubercles in rows that develop into quick pink-white spines inside 6 hours of beginning; these spines obtain a size of 2-2.5 mm inside 12 hours.

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Indian Hedgehog Food Habits

Indian hedgehogs feed totally on bugs, with beetles as the popular prey, however can even eat worms and slugs, small vertebrates, scorpions, and the eggs of ground-nesting birds.

Plants don’t type any a part of the diet, even for the water they could include in a desert atmosphere. Vertebrates are eaten of their entirety, together with the bones, and these hedgehogs can break open small eggs.

Along with the beforehand cited examples of consuming the newly born infants, P. micropus may cannibalize sick or weak people, though this behavior is more frequent if the prey animal is already useless.

Indian Hedgehog Behavior

Hedgehogs are usually solitary animals. Males and females meet solely to breed, and the male invests no parental care, presumably owing to the frequency of unsuccessful copulations and pregnancies.

With the exception of nursing moms, just one hedgehog lives in a burrow at a time, though three shared one burrow in captivity.

Indian Hedgehog is nocturnal and can wander whereas searching. They don’t hibernate, however could appear to vanish in winter and might develop lethargic if meals or water is scarce. Little is thought about a person’s range, however, a superb strolling pace is 305 mm/s, and a scurrying hedgehog has been clocked at a pace of 635 mm/s.

Indian Hedgehog makes use of its forelimbs to dig a burrow, which it would inhabit for a year. One measured burrow was 457 mm long, with a single opening.

The gap is situated underbrush, and they’ll use burrows made by different hedgehogs if vacant. The nest could also be lined with grasses and different plant materials, and hedgehogs may deliver meals back to the nest, though they don’t retail meals for the winter months.

Indian hedgehogs additionally exhibit the self-anointing and defensive posture behaviors seen in different hedgehog species. Self-anointing refers back to the hedgehog spreading its personal saliva onto its back spines and fur after tasting or smelling one thing unfamiliar.

This motion is present in each sex of all ages and will happen at any time of year. The purpose behind the behavior stays unknown; hypotheses embrace scent marking, sexual stimuli, and grooming.

Rolling right into a ball permits the hedgehog to guard itself against curious predators with its coat of sharp spines. Young hedgehogs can do that inside a couple of weeks, and plenty of muscle tissue is dedicated to this behavior.

A rolled-up hedgehog attracts its limbs inward and tucks its head between the forelimbs, making a ball of spines with no fur or tender tissue on the floor.

The muscle tissue used for this is primarily striated, which means that the motion is voluntary; nevertheless, a couple of of the muscle tissue is unstriated, so it’s possible that rolling is partially instinctive and involuntary.

Indian Hedgehog

Ecosystem

The position of Indian hedgehogs within the ecosystem has not been studied, however, it is perhaps presumed that these hedgehogs have a task in controlling the populations of their insect prey and in offering meals for his or her predators.

Indian Hedgehog Communication

Hedgehogs are largely solitary and silent, however, they do make a couple of sounds when in touch with different animals. Courting hedgehog females make loud snorting sounds to males, and poking a nest with a stick will receive a hissing response from the inhabitant.

A disturbed P. micropus will roll up and grunt or hiss, and in a single research, a captive mom made a squeaking sound even when alone together with her younger.

Indian Hedgehog Reproduction

Most hedgehog species appear to have comparable courtship rituals. These contain a sequence of grunts and seemingly aggressive behaviors because the male herds the feminine. The male mounts from behind and leaves after copulation.

As with courtship, normal information on reproduction is sometimes obscure or missing. The exact gestation and lactation intervals are unknown for this species and the timing of breeding and the beginning of younger range extensively.

Indian Hedgehog will breed as soon as per year, usually within the spring or summer time between April and September.

Populations in Pakistan breed throughout the monsoon season and the females give beginning between July and September when meals are available. Males are sexually prepared properly before the mating season.

In the wild, feminine Indian hedgehogs could have a litter of 1-2 infants at a time, with as many as 5 in a single captive litter.

The younger are altricial, with closed eyes till 21 days after beginning, and might roll right into a defensive posture in as little as one week. The mom nurses from her 4 pairs of nipples whereas mendacity on her facet. If not cannibalized, the younger has a superb survival charge.

Several authors have researched the query of cannibalism in P. micropus. If a male is present, he might eat a child instantly after beginning, and even the mom might eat the newborn.

A captive feminine Indian hedgehog ate certainly one of her 5 infants as quickly because it was born and was solely prevented from consuming the others by their rapid elimination.

Predators

The recognized predators of Indian hedgehogs embrace foxes, Indian gray mongooses (Herpestes edwardsi), and rock-horned owls (Bubo bubo turcomanus). Predators should be fast and resourceful to grab the hedgehog before it curls up into its prickly ball.

Conservation

CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) and IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources) haven’t any listings for Hemiechinus.

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