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Natural UAE

Hedgehogs

Hedgehogs are represented by three species in the UAE, the largest and most common being Brandt's hedgehog (Paraechinus hypomelas). It has an overall dark to black appearance with only the tip of its muzzle and the inside of its ears being grey. The top of its body is evenly covered with spines, whilst it has a bold patch on the top of the head between its ears. Slightly smaller than the Brandt's hedgehog is the Ethiopian hedgehog (Paraechinus aethiopicus). This animal is much lighter in colour, the bases and the tips of the spines are white and as is its hairy underside. The ears are slightly rounded at the tip, it has a bald patch without spines on the top of its head and a dark grey to black facial mask, surrounded by a lighter coloured band. Very similar but again smaller in size is the long-eared hedgehog (Hemiechinus auritus). Its spines are also white at the base and the tip, and its underside is white, but its ears are longer and more pointed. It lacks the bald patch at the top of the head and has a grey muzzle but no facial mask. Hedgehogs are solitary nocturnal animals, spending the day in a sheltered location, emerging at dusk when they start to hunt for insects and reptiles. As their spines offer poor protection against the cold they hibernate during the cool season, even in Arabia! In the Emirates they are found in the mountains, as well as in the desert and the coastal plains. Only the little long-eared hedgehog seems to favour the proximity of cultivations.

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