The biology of two species of hedgehogs, Erinaceus europaeus concolor and Hemiechinus auritus aegyptius, in Israel

Miriam Schoenfeld, Yoram Yom-Tov

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The biology of two hedgehogs, Erinaceus europaeus and Hemiechinus auritus was studied in a suburb of Tel Aviv over 3 years, using traps, radio-transmitters and direct observations. Both species showed an annual cycle of body weight, which was maximal in the summer and minimal in winter. The average differences in body weight between the seasons was 12 °7o and 15 % in Erinaceus and Hemiechinus respectively. Erinaceus was less sensitive to cold. Maximal activity of Erinaceus was reached in early spring. Not all individuals hibernated, and those wich did so hibernated for only a few days. Hemiechinus showed maximal activity in the summer, with a peak in July. Most individuals hibernated for periods of up to 40 days. Both species are nocturnal. The little activity observed during the day was mainly that of lactating females. Erinaceus spent the days in vegetation lined nests built in depressions above the ground. Hemiechinus nested in self-dug burrows which were well insulated and also served for hibernation. No territorial behaviour was observed and home ranges overlapped. Average home range of Erinaceus was 1.6 ha (both sexes) and 2.8 and 4.9 ha for female and male Hemiechinus, respectively. Erinaceus is omnivorous and some of their food was found in garbage. Hemiechinus is insectivorous and walks large distances every night in search of food.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)339-356
Number of pages18
JournalMammalia
Volume49
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - 1985

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