Long eared hedgehog is a species of hedgehog’s family. They are native to Central Asian Countries and some Middle East countries. As the name suggests, they are recognized by their distinctive feature “eye-catching long ear” which distinguishes them from other hedgies. These nocturnal animals are considered one of the smallest Middle Eastern hedgehogs.
They use their great sense of smell and hearing (as their eyesight is quite poor) to detect predators. Moreover, these tiny creatures are also very fast runners. Let’s explore their characteristics a bit deeper!
Long Eared Hedgehog Physical Appearance
Long eared hedgehog looks like a bunny. These nocturnal and tiny mammals have soft skin and long ears. They use their long ears (30 to 45 mm longer in size) for heat radiation in desserts. The tongue of this hedgie has a rectangular shape. Moreover, the soles are bare, but their feet’ tops and heels are covered with hair. Their spines are embedded in a unique muscle sheath (forms a bag-like structure) that act as a protection.
Long Eared Hedgehog Colors
They have beautifully colored and designed skin. You can not find any dark and light areas on their faces. They have light-colored underparts along with whitish hairs on the tips of their ears. Their spines have a whitish tip with dark brown banding below. Besides, there is no gap of spines on the back of their neck (gaps are common in other species of hedgehogs).
Long Eared Hedgehog Weight & Size
Long-eared hedgehog has a smaller size as well as less weight. Generally, their weight lies between 250 to 400 grams. Their tail is round about 10 to 50mm long and their skull is almost 38 to 48mm long. The head and body length of them is about 120 to 270mm. The ears are longer than half of their head’s length.
What Does Long Eared Hedgehog Eats- Diet
They are mainly insectivores as 70% of their diet consist of insects. These solitary animals use their excellent sense of hearing and smell to search for food in the early evening. They love to eat beetles, ants, caterpillars, bugs, grasshoppers, spiders, centipedes, worms, and a small number of snails and slugs. Moreover, they eat amphibians and small vertebrates like plants and snakes.
Like humans, they have different tastes and eat fruit vegetables, and eggs. Amazingly, they also eat harmful insects. For captive hedgehogs, commercial hedgehog food or dry cat food with high protein is a decent alternative.
Long Eared Hedgehog Habitat
According to research, most of these hedgehogs are found in Central Asian countries, and some are found in the Middle East. They are found in many countries such as Turkey, Iraq, Iran, Libya, Egypt, China, India, Pakistan, Syria, Russia, Afghanistan, Cyprus, Turkmenistan, Mongolia, and Ukraine.
Inside their native habitat, they live in burrows, dry steppes, semi-desserts, and desserts. They do not prefer extremely hot desserts and stay in intermediate climates. Moreover, they love to live in gullies, forest shelter belts, shrubby areas, and dry river valleys. Additionally, they often adjust in oases and cultivated habitats. Interestingly, they also use human settlements and burrows of other small animals.
Long Eared Hedgehog Behavior
They have sedentary and hibernating behavior. Long-eared hedgehogs use their sharp spines for protection. They use their smell of hearing and smell to detect food and predators and have a great ability to run away from predators. These nocturnal mammals come out from their burrows in the evening and will travel up to 9km during the night for the sake of food. Indian long-eared hedgehog and all other of this species confront their predator and struggle to defend themselves instead of hiding in their burrows. Moreover, When detected by predators, they are less likely to curl up in a ball but will attempt to jump at them with their short needles.
Furthermore, they can stay alive without eating and drinking for up to ten weeks. They hibernate for a shorter period in the summer and winter and remain active throughout much of the year. The longest reported hibernation period of long-eared hedgehogs is 40 days.
What Is Their Role In Marinating A Balanced Ecosystem?
They help to maintain the ecosystem by eating harmful insects like scorpions and termites. These harmful insects can destroy crops causing unhealthy vegetations.
What is the Lifespan of Long Eared Hedgehogs?
Long eared hedgehog lifespan depends on the diet they take. In captivity, they can live for nearly 7 years long.
Long Eared Hedgehog Facts
Let’s explore some facts about them:
- They are quite similar to Ethiopian hedgehogs.
- Interestingly, they are kept as a pet in some places.
- Being nocturnal, they can run up to 9km during the night for the sake of food.
- They have poor eyesight, therefore follow their sense of smell and hearing to search for food and detect predators.
- Their soles are bare, but their feet’ tops and heels are covered with hair.
- Their heart rate goes from 109 beats per minute to 20 beats per minute during hibernation.
- They can stay alive with any food and water for about 10 weeks.
- Despite having long ears as a distinctive feature, they are also known for having an aggressive personality.
- They do not pose any harm to crops.
- They can be agriculturally beneficial because they eat harmful insects.
- Incredibly, the smoke gets from burning dead hedgehog’s spines can be used to treat animals that are suffering from FMD.
Long Eared Hedgehog As A Pet
Alas! It is not easy to own this hedgie as a pet because of a couple of reasons:
- They are known to carry lethal diseases for instance Rhipicephalus sanguineus.
- Additionally, they can spread Boutonneuse fever in humans.
- Besides, They can also carry another disease known as plague.
Therefore, think twice before buying it. However, if you want to own long eared hedgehog pet then make sure to buy it from professional breeders.
Long Eared Hedgehog- Care
These cute animals completely rock as a pet. However, properly look after them is a hard row to hoe! You should care for your hedgehog as you do care for yourself. Here are some tips and tricks that help you to look after your little friend:
- Schedule a proper diet plan that fulfills their dietary needs.
- Add a variety of food to their diet to avoid a boring routine (as it makes them dull and unhappy).
- Give your selected diet to them on time, otherwise, they become aggressive.
- Their enclosure should consist of natural plants.
- Select a wider enclosure with all essential items as they cannot survive in confined spaces.
We hope these tips help you in caring for your hedgie and making a friendlier relationship with your cute pet.