Jerzy is always a welcome guest in our gardensites. These are funny and very nice creatures with needles everywhere, except the abdomen, muzzle and paws. The hedgehogs are shunned by almost all predators, since they have the ability to fold off the ball so that the thorns protect the open areas of the body. Strong ring muscle keeps the needles "on end". But you can caress the hedgehog and without consequences for yourself. To do this, you need to stroke it in the direction from the muzzle to the back, while the muscles relax.
So what is their benefit to us?Mainly, that eat hedgehogs, more precisely, in their omnivorousness. Their menu is really quite diverse. They prefer live food, so they will be very handy in places where there are small snakes and snakes. Almost always a hedgehog wins an adder. He catches her tail and immediately turns into a thorny ball, the snake, trying to bite it, stumbles on a lot of spines. The hedgehog at this time slowly drags the prey under him and eats. Snake venom does not harm him, like many other toxic substances. He is not afraid of the poison of the bees (they do not even feel his bites), he eats bedbugs and Spanish flies. Do not be afraid of it, prussic acid, or arsenic.
It is because they eat hedgehogs almost allinsects and creeping pests, they are always welcome in the kitchen gardens. Some summer residents even feed them, attracting to their site. Overnight, small hedgehogs can eat about 200 g of insects. Especially effectively to combat these animals with the May bug, snails and caterpillars.
But they can infect a person with encephalitis.Running in the woods, they collect their mites with their thorns. There may be so many of them that parasitologists in the areas of outbreaks of this disease are based on their calculations on the "hourly hour" (the number of mites falling on the animal per hour in the forest zone). It can have tens of thousands of ticks.
Many certainly noticed that they eat hedgehogs very noisily and a lot. In addition to animal food (toads, grasshoppers, snails, etc.), they eat acorns, raspberries, strawberries.
Despite their prickly defense, little hedgehogs often become food themselves. The martens dig them out in the cold period, when they sleep, and the eagle owl, for example, swallows whole with needles.
Some types of hedgehogs, or rather their spines, canbe poisonous. But the hedgehog does not produce the poisonous substance, but borrows it from the toads and lubricates them with needles. When he meets sharply smelling objects, he behaves very strangely: he licks this object until the foamy liquid (saliva) begins to appear, then he transfers it to the needles (licking himself). Sometimes on his thorns you can see even non-smoking cigarettes. Specialists can not explain this behavior of animals, but they assume that these are attempts to fight against parasites.
If you have a small spiny ballat home, it should be remembered that eating hedgehogs preferably insects. In captivity, you can give them meat, they do not mind eating eggs. Contrary to the popular belief that hedgehogs need to give milk, do not do it, so as not to harm. They do not tolerate lactose. Dry animal feed for dogs or cats, they also do not fit, because they contain a large amount of fat. You can not feed them with pork, sausage, as well as sweets, cabbage and potatoes.