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Gymnures and Hedgehogs: Erinaceidae

Physical Characteristics, Behavior And Reproduction, Gymnures, Hedgehogs, And People, Conservation Status, Western European Hedgehog (erinaceus Europaeus): Species AccountsGEOGRAPHIC RANGE, HABITAT, DIET


Gymnures and hedgehogs are found in parts of Africa, Eurasia, central Asia, and southeast Asia. New Zealand is also home to a healthy population introduced by humans. Hedgehogs tend toward the cooler climates, while gymnures and moonrats demand tropical and subtropical areas.

Members of this family thrive in a number of varying habitats on land, usually living and feeding at ground level and, in some species, in burrows. A few, like the moonrat, may take an occasional swim in the water. Gymnures prefer humid forests, while hedgehogs can live in a dry and rocky desert, a busy city park, or a mountainside meadow. In fact, hedgehogs can survive almost anywhere they can find food during their night-time hunts and sheltered hideaways for their daytime slumber.

The diet of hedgehogs and gymnures can include a variety of things, but they mostly eat insects, spiders, worms and other invertebrates, animals without backbones. If they are big enough to kill a reptile, amphibian, or a small mammal, they will do so once in a while. Sometimes they will also eat fungi or fruit. In addition, hedgehogs often prey on birds' eggs. They spend most of their active hours either looking for food or eating it.

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Animal Life ResourceMammals