|Indian hedgehog range|
The Indian hedgehog (Paraechinus micropus) is a species of hedgehog native to India and Pakistan. It tends to live on plains and in bushy mountainous areas near water but most prefer sandy desert areas and clay soils.
The Indian hedgehog can be compared to the long-eared hedgehog (Hemiechinus auritus) with similar lifestyle and appearance. It is known for its masked face, dark with a white top, somewhat similar to a raccoon. It is relatively small with the adult male weighing about 435 grams and the adult female about 312. They are quite fast, although not as fast as the long-eared hedgehog. Its color is predominantly brown with a few lighter shades of brown. The tail is only about 2-4 centimeters long. It has a stocky body with a short head, a long snout, small, dark eyes, and relatively large ears. Its legs are a gray-brown color with 5 fingers on each and small but strong claws.
Being a part of the Erinaceidae family, the Indian Hedgehog has a more diverse diet with additional food source of insects, frogs, toads, bird eggs, snakes, and scorpions. Although it doesn't hibernate, it is still capable of slowing down its metabolism when food is scarce. When danger even slightly presents itself, the Indian Hedgehog rolls up into a ball due to special muscles in their body. The outside of their body also has tiny spikes on it to protect them from predators. The Indian Hedgehog is capable of digging shallow holes about 457 mm long called burrows. They use burrows to sleep in and also to stay hidden from any possible danger. Any open burrow is fair game and they often inhabit any that are vacant. They learn all of these tactics when they are as little as one week old. Like all other hedgehogs, these animals go through a process called Self-anointing. They spread their own saliva on their back spines and fur after tasting or smelling something that is unfamiliar to them. This behavior occurs in both sexes, all ages, and at any time of the year.
Male and female Indian hedgehogs meet only to breed and reproduce. The female can give birth to up to three cubs and raise them on her own without the parental help of the male. Indian hedgehog has a significant sense of protection in their early days.
The known predators of Indian hedgehogs include foxes, Indian grey mongooses(Herpestes edwardsi), and rock-horned owls (Bubo bubo turcomanus). The predators have to be quick and reluctant to snatch the hedgehog before it engages in its prickly ball.
- Hutterer, R. (2005). Wilson, D. E.; Reeder, D. M, eds. Mammal Species of the World (3rd ed.). Johns Hopkins University Press. p. 217. ISBN 978-0-8018-8221-0. OCLC 62265494.
- Insectivore Specialist Group (1996). Hemiechinus micropus. 2006. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. IUCN 2006. www.iucnredlist.org. Retrieved on 12 May 2006. Database entry includes a brief justification of why this species is of least concern
- "Paraechinus micropus: Indian hedgehog". Retrieved 26 November 2012.
- "The Indian hedgehog (Paraechinus micropus)". Retrieved 26 November 2012.