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African hedge hog

African hedge hog

i) African Hedgehog; It is a small animal which weighs between 250-1600g. An African hedgehog is small, spiny with short tails, pointed muzzle and short hairy legs with clawed and well padded toes. It is only active in the evenings and at night. They make a sniffing call. They also trot with fast leg movements but hunch or roll into a prickly ball at any disturbance. African hedgehogs are very widespread but sporadic in drier regions. For example, they prefer relatively open, dry or seasonal habitats with sparse or patchy grass cover, especially overgrazed areas.

They mainly depend on invertebrates as source of food i.e. termites, beetles, earthworms, millipedes, small vertebrates, fungi and fallen fruits. They can locate hidden prey by scent and sound and ca n dig in soft, loose soil. African hedgehogs are nocturnal animals which live a solitary life except females with young. They hibernate in temperate and tropical dry seasons. Various vocalizations including sniff, growl, twitter spit, chatter and screams are common characteristics of these animals. These animals have ability to curl up into a spiny ball which enables them to defend themselves against carnivores.

ii) Shrews; these are mouse-sized mammals with a long, mobile nose and stout, cylindrical skull. They bull doze insects out of plant debris. Their bodies are powerful and tubular. They are divided into several sub species e.g. Rwenzori shrew climbing shrews. For example, the Rwenzori shrew weighs about 18g. It is grayish black with rounded head, short snout and small but protruding ears. It prefers montane forests in Western Uganda.