Brandt's Hedgehog

Brandts hedgehogBrandt's Hedgehog (Hemiechinus hypomelas) is a desert hedgehog that belongs to the Erinaceidae family and can be found in Middle Asia and the Middle East. It inhabits desert zones and arid steppes from Iran, Turkmenistan, and even farther eastwards to the region of Tashkent in Uzbekistan down to northern Pakistan and Indus River. It can also be found in Oman and in some islands off Persian Gulf. They prefer natural shelter, but it also resorts to digging and building dens when the need arises. On colder weather, it retires to hibernate.

Brandt's Hedgehog has a head and body measurement of about 25 centimeters and a weight of approximately 500 to 1,000 grams. It is perhaps the same in size as a West European hedgehog. However, it can be distinguished from its distant relative by its large ears, which in turn is a trait shared in common with another relative, the Long-eared Hedgehog. Compared to the Long-eared Hedgehog, Brandt's hedgehog runs faster because its needle protection is much lighter and yet more superior. The needle protection is a set of spines of hollow hairs that were stiff due to keratin. Unlike the porcupine's quills, a hedgehog's spines cannot be plucked easily off the skin as they are used for defense mechanism. When threatened, a hedgehog can roll itself inward to form a tight ball while the spines protrude outward to serve as spikes.

It has five short-nailed toes on each of its two front paws. However, its back paws have four toes each with nails that constantly grow long. This serves burrowing purposes. Its range of vocal communication include grunts, snuffles, and even squeals.

Interesting fact: A hedgehog, although classified as an insectivore, is almost an omnivore as it feeds on not only insects but also snails, snakes, toads, frogs, carrion, bird eggs, grass roots, mushrooms, melons, berries, and watermelons.

Photo taken by AshLin, licensed under GFDL

Keywords: nocturnal , hibernate , paw

The Brandt's hedgehog is listed as Least Concern (LR/lc), lowest risk. Does not qualify for a more at risk category. Widespread and abundant taxa are included in this category, on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species

Namings for the Brandt
A young / baby of a Brandt is called a 'hoglet'. The females are called 'sow' and males 'boar'. A Brandt group is called a 'array'.

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