A comparison of the Ranging behaviour and habitat use of the Ethiopian hedgehog (Paraechinus aethiopicus) in Qatar with hedgehog taxa from temperate environments
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We investigated seasonal changes in the ecology and behaviour of the Ethiopian hedgehog (Paraechinus aethiopicus) in Qatar, particularly in respect to differences in behaviour between hedgehogs living in arid environments and hedgehogs in temperate mesic environments. These comparisons will allow us to explore behavioural adaptations to different environments across hedgehog taxa. We radio-tracked 30 hedgehogs in Qatar over two years, and measured home range size, habitat preference, travel speed, activity and body mass. Whilst we found no difference in body mass between males and females, male home range size was over twice as large as that for females. Unlike hedgehogs in Europe, males maintained large home ranges during the non-breeding season. This behaviour may be sustained by the low cost of maintaining a large home range; males travelled less far per hour during the non-breeding season. Habitat use was non-random; arid areas with human influence, including rubbish dumping sites, was the most selected habitat type compared with its availability. Dense scrub and/or trees was the most selected habitat for nesting. This study gives us greater understanding as to how hedgehog taxa are adapted to their environment and therefore how they may be conserved, for example, the recent increase of �lower� level human activities, including irrigated farms and food waste, in harsh arid environments may have influenced the space use by Ethiopian hedgehogs.
- Biological & Environmental Sciences [296 items ]