Readers’ wildlife photos

by Grania

Reader Jacques Hausser from  Lausanne, Switzerland sent Jerry these absolutely gorgeous photographs of hedgehogs. He writes:

Sitting in the garden enjoying the first stars and the temperature dropping under 30º C  (86º F) at least (and also a beer), I spotted three little shadows following each other across the lawn. I didn’t have my camera, but I remembered a picture of a similar scene taken some years ago – and I thought it was a good idea to send you this family of hedgehogs (Erinaceus europaeus). I add a second picture of another one, who was convinced to be well hidden under a bush.
PL335 - copie
PL1055 - copie
The European Hedgehog is widely distributed across Europe as the name suggests.

The European hedgehog is found across a wide range of habitat types, encompassing both semi-natural vegetation types and those areas that have been heavily modified by man. The range includes woodland, grasslands such as meadows and pasture, arable land, orchards and vineyards as well as within the matrix of habitat types found in human settlements. It prefers lowlands and hills up to 400-600m, but is also locally present on mountains, exceptionally up to and altitude of 1500-200m (e.g. Alps and Pyrénées).[23] Outside cultivated land it prefers marginal zones of forests, particularly ecotonal grass and scrub vegetation.[24]

Hedgehogs are most abundant within the gardens, parks and amenity land close to or within human settlements.[25] They are generally scarce in areas of coniferous woodland, marshes and moorland, probably because of a lack of suitable sites and materials for the construction of winter nests (or hibernacula), which have specific requirements.[7]

20 Comments

  1. Posted July 16, 2015 at 9:03 am | Permalink

    Lovely animals – such sweet faces but so not huggable… and they are covered in fleas.

    Never give milk to hedgehogs unless it is lactose-free. They don’t tolerate lactose and can die if they are given milk (which they love!).

  2. Diana MacPherson
    Posted July 16, 2015 at 9:11 am | Permalink

    I love hedge hogs! I wish we had them where I live!

    • rickflick
      Posted July 16, 2015 at 9:16 pm | Permalink

      We have several you can have. They seem to live off our garden.

      • Diana MacPherson
        Posted July 16, 2015 at 9:42 pm | Permalink

        I’d take them if they could stand the cold winters.

        • rickflick
          Posted July 16, 2015 at 10:09 pm | Permalink

          I’m not sure they can’t. They have thick fur and their deep burrows seem to eviscerate my lawn. No, I think it must be a simple fondness for sumptuous living and earthly delights.

  3. Dominic
    Posted July 16, 2015 at 9:43 am | Permalink

    Getting much much rarer in the UK mainland due to changes in gardening – more decking, fences instead of hedges etc. In the Hebrides they are an invasive, eating seabird eggs
    http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2010/feb/25/hedgehogs-cost-eradiction-translocation-scotland

    But why the huge gap in distribution in Eastern Europe? Ah – I suspect another variety is found there…

    • Dominic
      Posted July 16, 2015 at 9:47 am | Permalink

      …or a rival species that competes with it, or maybee more bears & wolves & badgers which will eat it…?

    • Jacques Hausser
      Posted July 16, 2015 at 2:50 pm | Permalink

      Yes, in Eastern Europe is a different – but quite similar – species, Erinaceus roumanicus, formerly known as Erinaceus concolor. This name is now restricted to populations of Anatolia and neighbouring regions.

      • Posted July 16, 2015 at 5:30 pm | Permalink

        Where I live, the ranges of the two European hedgegogs meet, and I’m not even sure which of them visits my garden (maybe both). Until recently we officially had one hedgehog species.

        • Dominic
          Posted July 17, 2015 at 4:44 am | Permalink

          Thanks both. The Scandinavian & Russian hedgehogs perhaps radiated north across the land bridge at the end of the then Littorina Sea, as the ice retreated, then across Fenno-Scandia…

  4. Kevin
    Posted July 16, 2015 at 9:45 am | Permalink

    So cute. Love them.

  5. Mark R.
    Posted July 16, 2015 at 12:18 pm | Permalink

    Cute little beasties. I didn’t realize they had such immense distribution in Europe. A very successful mammal I must say.

  6. boggy
    Posted July 16, 2015 at 1:34 pm | Permalink

    Frequently found dead on roads having been crushed by vehicles.
    Sick joke:
    Why did the hedgehog cross the road?
    To see his flatmate.

  7. Heather Hastie
    Posted July 16, 2015 at 5:42 pm | Permalink

    We have European hedgehogs in NZ – a product of colonisation.

    • Henry Fitzgerald
      Posted July 17, 2015 at 8:03 pm | Permalink

      I have to say, the almost complete lack of native mammals in New Zealand (although I know there are bats and seals) makes the landscape seem strange to me.

      Often in a good way. I noticed there were a lot of grasses that looked similar to the range of grasses we see in Australia – but I was surprised by how feathery-soft so many plants were. Australian grass seeds look similar to ones I saw in New Zeland but feel like harpoons – and they really are harpoons, evolved to snag any passing mammal. We also have blade grass, which is exactly what it sounds like. (I cut myself on it so often as a child I shudder at the sight of it.)

      • Diana MacPherson
        Posted July 17, 2015 at 9:12 pm | Permalink

        NZ seems Jurassic to me with its ferns that seem more common than grasses.

  8. Henry Fitzgerald
    Posted July 16, 2015 at 5:53 pm | Permalink

    The only hedgehog I ever saw in the flesh was in, of all places, Malta.

    Alas, it wasn’t alive, it was roadkill, but I take this as evidence there are live hedgehogs in Malta. And this was in very parched-looking country within a stone’s throw of the sea, literally, around the Blue Grotto region.

  9. Diane G.
    Posted July 16, 2015 at 9:04 pm | Permalink

    What super shots of adorable animals!

    We once babysat a hedgehog–Spikey Mikey. He was very nocturnal and loved live mealworms.

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted July 16, 2015 at 9:43 pm | Permalink

      I skimmed that and read the key words: sat, hedge hot, spikey and imagined the worst! 😀

  10. Posted July 17, 2015 at 8:01 am | Permalink

    Slightly OT, but the ranges of some European mammals are changing fast. This year we’ve had the first sightings of golden jackals in Poland. They are arriving here from the west (Germany) and from the east (Ukraine, Belarus, the Baltic republics). It’s the Balkan subspecies, so little known that I had almost forgotten Europe had its own jackal population, which now has suddenly started expanding.

    This one has been photographed in eastern Poland,

    and this one found as roadkill in the northwest.


%d bloggers like this: