8 unexpected facts about hedgehogs — the most brutal animals of our latitudes
Categories: AnimalsBy Pictolic https://pictolic.com/en/article/8-unexpected-facts-about-hedgehogs-the-most-brutal-animals-of-our-latitudes
If you make a list of the harshest animals of our forests, bears, wolves and wild boars will surely get there. But hardly anyone will think to mention the hedgehog. And in vain, because this little animal deserves a place in the top three in terms of brutality. Don't you believe it? Here are 8 facts about cute hedgehogs that will make you change your point of view.
We grew up on children's books and cartoons in which cute good-natured hedgehogs eat mushrooms and apples. They certainly wear them on their prickly backs. But in fact, hedgehogs stick only the muzzles of enemies on their needles. It is believed that hedgehogs are absolutely omnivorous. But these animals still prefer to eat small rodents, frogs, lizards and snakes. The hedgehog will not refuse to eat a poisonous snake, especially since he has immunity to poisons. The hedgehog is a real little terminator. Even poisons such as mercury chloride, arsenic, potassium cyanide, hydrogen cyanide (prussic acid) do not take it.
Hedgehogs are hardy and strong animals, capable of prowling around for hours, looking for food. It is known that in one night he can run on his short legs up to 3 km! Hedgehogs living in our latitudes swim well and, despite their clumsy appearance, are able to overcome quite serious obstacles. They don't see well, but they have a wonderful nose and amazing hearing. They feel at home in absolute darkness.
No one will argue with the fact that the hedgehog, although a strong beast, is very light. Therefore, in a duel with a large and dangerous opponent, a prickly predator no longer relies on muscle strength and sharp teeth, but on cunning. Entering into a duel with a snake, he does not seek to grab its throat with a death grip first, as mongooses do. The task of the hedgehog is to make the reptile attack.
When the snake rushes at the hedgehog, he substitutes her prickly back. The reptile attacks time after time, but always stumbles upon an impenetrable defense. And the hedgehog is waiting for a dangerous opponent to run out of steam and be all pierced. He strangles the exhausted bastard with sharp teeth without much difficulty. The clumsiness of a hedgehog is a myth. The animal is capable of lightning-fast throws and even chases. He can run after prey at a speed of up to 3 m/s.
It seems that the world of the hedgehog is filled with dangerous and powerful enemies, but this is not so. In the city and in the forest, the hedgehog has two enemies - dogs and badgers. Dogs, wolves and foxes take hedgehogs by cunning. They throw them into the water and wait for the poor guy to open up. And badgers rely on brute force - they deploy a prickly ball with strong clawed paws.
But hedgehogs never give up without a fight. They desperately fight back with their paws, strike with needles and bite. A hedgehog bite is very dangerous, since these animals, along with squirrels, most often suffer from rabies. Therefore, a small and funny hedgehog can easily send a person to the next world with one bite.
It seems that the hedgehog has a huge number of needles, which there is no way to count. But this is not so — scientists know for sure that an average-sized adult animal has about 6,000 thorns. Like the porcupine, the hedgehog has hollow needles. The hedgehog, like many other animals, sheds. In addition, animals lose some of their needles in duels with enemies. Thus, in a year he loses a third of his needles, which immediately grow back.
Hedgehogs are big fans of low-alcohol drinks, especially beer. Where do they get their drinks? Everything is simple. Gardeners often use beer as bait for slugs. This is a real beer feast for prickly drinkers. They love both beer and slugs, which become a great snack.
Everyone who meets hedgehogs in their yard or brings them home has a natural desire to give the animal milk. Hedgehogs drink with pleasure, but they get only troubles instead of benefits. Unusual for these animals, the product is not digested by their stomach and the animals suffer from a disorder. The dehydration associated with it can even cause the death of a hedgehog. So if you want to please a prickly friend, pour him not milk, but just a little beer.
Like bears, hedgehogs hibernate. It usually lasts 128 days, but sometimes longer - it all depends on the air temperature. In winter, the hedgehog is in a real suspended animation. If in summer his body temperature is 34 degrees, then in winter it is only 2. The normal breathing of a hedgehog is 40-50 breaths per minute, but in winter the animal has only 8-10.
It is believed that the hedgehog is an inedible animal. Those who had to taste his meat due to circumstances, as one, claim that they did not eat anything more disgusting. They say that hedgehog meat is tough and has an unpleasant pungent smell and a specific taste. But we are talking about our compatriots, because some nations do not disdain hedgehog meat.
Gypsies bake hedgehogs in clay, then removing it together with thorns. It is believed that a hedgehog cooked in this way is a healthy delicacy. In Russia, hedgehogs were baked in Russian ovens and treated with meat for many different diseases. In many villages of Serbia, hedgehog urine is still used to treat alcoholism.
If a family of hedgehogs has settled in your backyard, then you can consider yourself lucky. These animals cannot cause damage to the household — they do not spoil fruits and vegetables, do not attack domestic birds and do not spoil vegetable gardens with burrows. But hedgehogs will perfectly protect your estate from snakes, mice and insect pests. During the night, one animal eats up to a third of its weight.
If you want to thank a prickly neighbor, then pour some dog food, chicken meat or a bloodworm left over from fishing into his bowl. Do not forget to pour some clean water. Leave a treat in the evening in the garden or near the porch — the animals will find it indispensable. But it's better not to invite hedgehogs home — these are unsociable, noisy and untidy guys. If you want to have something small and cute, then sugar possum is more suitable for you.
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