Indian desert hedgehog

Paraechinus micropus

SUBFAMILY

Erinaceinae

TAXONOMY

Hemiechinus micropus (Blyth, 1846), Bahawalpur, Punjab, Pakistan. Formerly also in Erinaceus. Includes Paraechinus nudiventris, considered by some as a separate species.

OTHER COMMON NAMES

English: Pale hedgehog; French: Hérisson du desert Indien; German: Indisch Wüstenigel; Spanish: Erizo del desierto.

H Hylomys suillus H Paraechinus micropus

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS

Head and body length: 5.5-9 in (14-23 cm); tail: 0.4-1.5 in (1-4 cm); weight: 10.5-17.5 oz (300-600 g). Pale gray-beige except for dark facial mask.

DISTRIBUTION

Pakistan, western and southern India.

HABITAT

Desert and semidesert. BEHAVIOR

Nocturnal and solitary but generally non-aggressive; digs own burrow and caches food; does not hibernate; engages in self-anointing behavior.

FEEDING ECOLOGY AND DIET

Hunts insects and small vertebrates, especially toads. Apparently stores excess food.

REPRODUCTIVE BIOLOGY

Breeds from April to September, litters of 1 to 3 (maximum 6). Probably polygynous.

CONSERVATION STATUS

Not threatened. Widespread and common but local populations are increasingly isolated due to desertification and agricultural development. P. m. nudiventris is Vulnerable.

SIGNIFICANCE TO HUMANS None known. ♦

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