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How hedgehog prepares for winter 🚩 Animals 🚩 Other

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Hedgehog belongs to the order of the insectivorous. True, his diet includes not only insects and their larvae, but also various invertebrates, as well as mice, frogs, lizards, snakes, and chicks. And although the hedgehog occasionally allows himself to eat a berry or two, he still eats animal food, which is impossible to get in the winter. Like all insectivorous, hedgehogs are very voracious and can live only a few days without food. They do not make reserves for the winter; the only way out is to survive the cold season in a state of deep sleep with a slowdown in physiological processes. From mid-autumn, hedgehogs begin to gradually hibernate. This process is long, the animals do not immediately fall asleep for a long time, short-term stupor is replaced by periods of wakefulness.

Interestingly, hedgehogs in captivity, also fall asleep for the whole winter, despite the fact that the room where they are kept is warm enough and food is provided for them. The reason for this is their imperfect thermoregulation.

In order not to die during hibernation, one must be well prepared for it. Three main factors provide hedgehog favorable wintering:

  • summer fat accumulation
  • change of hair (molt),
  • good place for hibernation.

All summer long the hedgehog diligently β€œworks” – during the period of abundance of fodder it stores fat for the upcoming wintering, that is, it eats. An animal that has not accumulated enough fat reserves will not survive the wintering. Fat accumulates both under the skin and in the internal organs. Consumed gradually, during hibernation, hedgehogs lose most of their weight. The hedgehog that awoke in the spring is very hungry and hurries to fill the stomach as quickly as possible.

From the middle of summer, hedgehogs undergo molting, the summer hairline changes to a winter one, more dense and hard. The hedgehog winters, curled up in a ball, covering the most vulnerable parts of the body for cold – the paws, the belly and the muzzle.

For hibernation, hedgehogs must find suitable shelter. It should be a deep shelter, sheltered from all sides, which is covered with snow in winter, keeping the minimum heat. Zoologists do not know for sure, the animal itself is preparing a lair for itself, using other people's holes or finding natural depressions – niches under the snags, old stumps. It is doubtful that the hedgehog digs a hole by itself, its paws are little adapted for such work. Warming the hedgehog his future bedroom with moss and dry leaves.

The body temperature of the sleeping hedgehog greatly decreases, the number of heartbeats slows down. The state of winter sleep in hedgehogs can last up to six months, so the life of the animal depends on the right place for wintering.

Long winter thaws and snowless winters are detrimental to hedgehogs. The hedgehog waking up ahead of time does not find food, most often it freezes and dies.

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