Predilige gli ambienti boschivi dalle zone collinari sino a quelle montano-alpine. I piccoli, al momento della nascita, hanno gli aculei ricoperti dalla pelle rigonfia, dalla quale spuntano in seguito. Sono predatori e divorano qualunque specie di piccolo animale, anche velenoso, come coleotteri Meloe e Lytta e imenotteri api , calabroni e vespe , senza risentire danno dai veleni. Le madri accudiscono i piccoli e mantengono con questi un contatto acustico, tramite fischi, quando escono dal nido per le prime volte. I ricci sono gli unici Erinaceomorfi veri letargici.
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Description Edit As is characteristic of other hedgehogs, members of Erinaceus have spines. These spines are a modification of the hair that is formed and strengthened by keratin. They contain hollow air filled gaps separated by thin inner layers of the spine to lessen the weight load.
The tapering at the base allows the spine to have a section that will bend under stress and dampen forces placed on the spines.
Each of the spines has a dermal muscle that erects the spine for defense. The action is done because of excess loose skin on the back of hedgehogs allows them to pull it around the rest of their body forming a ball. The first step is to pull skin fold over the head and rear of the body. Once this is done a muscle that runs along the edges of the animal called the panniculus carnosus contracts pulling everything in like a drawstring.
Another normal action is self-anointing where the organism produces thick foamy saliva and proceeds to cover its spines with the saliva. This could be in response to a chemical signal and often is done when a new object is introduced.
The reason for self-anointing is unknown and believed to be either part of a defense or attraction of a mate. Most have the ability to lower the body temperature close that of the environmental temperature.
Once fertilized gestation is between 30—40 days. Upon birth the young are born blind and dependent to their mother. The average liter size is 2—5 offspring with a maximum of Offspring are born without developed spines, which form within a few weeks. Weaning occurs around 4—6 weeks. Sexual maturity is reached around 12 months. The average life span is 2—5 years while in captivity lifespan can reach as much as 10 years.
It will eat small invertebrates, small vertebrates, fruit, vegetables, and even fungi. In some cases they have been known to eat venomous snakes or even toxic beetles. Some species show resistance to snake venom up to forty times greater than that of the ordinary laboratory mouse.
A Hedgehog (Erinaceus roumanicus)
Northern white-breasted hedgehog