Southern white-breasted hedgehog

Southern white-breasted hedgehogs are eadsy to notice by their lighter colors as a lot of blonde mutations have been seen in this species. This might be due to the overlap with Northern white-breasted hedgehogs but can also be due to isolation of the species and the slimming genepool causing mutations.




Natural habitat

The Southern white-breasted hedgehog mainly lives in Western Asia. The animals live mainly in low-lying areas in grasslands, scrub and along forest edges. However, the animals also occur up to an altitude of 1500 meters in mountain areas. The species has a small overlap with the Northern white-breasted hedgehog, which has long been considered a subspecies of the Southern white-breasted hedgehog due to their similarities.

Geography

The habitat of the Southern white-breasted hedgehog is found in Armenia, Azerbijan, Belarus, Georgia, Iran, Israel, Lebanon, Russia, Syria, Turkey and Ukraine. However, animals have also been found in Jordan and Iraq. The area around the Caucasus Mountains is where the overlap with the Northern white-breasted hedgehog is located. North of the mountain range is the Northern white-breasted hedgehog, while the Southern white-breasted hedgehog is south of the mountain range.

Climate

The lowest winter temperatures, within the Southern white-breasted hedgehog’s habitat, are around -6 degrees Celsius in Armenia and 8 degrees Celsius in Israel. The highest temperatures in summer are around 36 degrees Celsius in Syria & Iran and 27 degrees Celsius in Armenia. The sunlight hours per day vary between 3 hours in winter to 12 hours in summer. In the dry season there is between 0 and 2 mm per day, on about 1-3 days per month. In the rainy season, between 1 and 6 mm of rain falls per day on about 7-14 days per month.

Flora & fauna

The Southern white-breasted hedgehog prefers building grass nests over digging burrows for shelter. They therefore mainly live in villages, on agricultural fields and in thickets or forest edges. Within the habitat there are many tea fields and vineyards, but also apricots, lemon trees and mixed forests with coniferous and deciduous trees grow there.

Forest areas in Georgia include brown bears, wolves, lynx and Caucasian leopards. Also foxes, wild boars, jackals, panthers and Karabakh horses.




Appearance

The Southern White-breasted Hedgehog is large in stature, weighing up to about 2.5 kilograms and a body length of 26 to 29 cm. The species is quite light in color, usually ranging from dark cream to light brown, with a light band across the forehead to mid-belly. The species also has a white spot on the chest.