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To advance our knowledge about hedgehogs (Erinaceus europaeus Linné 1758) we collect data for research and ask for your support. Thank you for your co-operation in advance!

We like to help as much as we possibly can, so that more knowledge about hedgehogs can be gained through scientific research.

Wurf junger Igel
Hedgehog breeding season and litter sizes in Germany

We have collected data since 1996 about hedgehog litters, to begin with we participated in the survey undertaken by English researcher, Pat Morris, into hedgehog litter sizes throughout europe.

Subsequently, data for Germany was collected by Pro Igel, to determine the length of the breeding season and the size of litters. Based on the data collected so far, we have established that 5 is the average litter size and that 80% of hedgehogs in Germany are born between August and September. Only in the warm Rhine valley and Saarland are babies born earlier in the year. Second litters are exceptional.

We continue to collect data: please let us know about hedgehog litters. With regard to the length of the breeding season, we are interested in the dates when even single hoglets are found. Because every single orphaned hoglet comes from an albeit unknown litter in the area. We are only interested in litters where the age of the animals can be ascertained, more or less exactly, in accordance with the questionnaire.

Please support us and complete the (German) Questionnaires. Many thanks for your co-operation!

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Albino hedgehogs Albino-Igel

Since 1999 we have been collecting all the information we can about albino hedgehogs. For centuries time and again, white coloured hedgehogs with very pale spines and fur and red eyes have been sighted. The white coloration in mammals is due to lack of pigment. We know now that a spontaneous mutation is the likely catalyst. Breeding two animals with this mutated gene can produce white offspring. Albinism is most probably harmless to these white hedgehogs.

From time to time, albino hedgehogs are found proving that animals with this hereditary disposition mature and reproduce in the wild. Of course, the white colouring will not be so conspicuous as hedgehogs rummage about on the ground at least partly covered in dirt. We can therefore presume that albino hedgehogs are no more easily tracked by their predators than their normal coloured cousins.

The noted sensitivity to light of eyes and skin in albinos barely affects the noctural hedgehog. Other effects of albinism relating to fundamental low immunity or particular susceptibility to disease due to the gene mutation are as unproven in hedgehogs as in white coloured, red-eyed rabbits, rats and mice.

Albinism is the exception in hedgehogs, as it is in other wild animals, we must assume from current research that these mutations do not persist in the wild even if their repeated recurrence proves their ability to survive. Because of the small number of observations to date, only a few informed statements on albino hedgehogs can be made.

Please support us and complete the (German) Questionnaires. Many thanks for your co-operation!

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Dissertations

Scientific research into hedgehogs and doctorates on the subject advance our knowledge and so help hedgehog conservation and rescue. We support interested scientists in veterinary medicine, biology and/or ecology with advice and action, and where possible, we also assist appropriate projects financially. Please contact us if you are engaged in hedgehog research or if you intend or plan to do so.

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Specialist literature

Anyone wishing to research into hedgehogs (Erinaceus europaeus Linné 1758) will need specialist literature and up to date information. We will gladly make available a selection of sources of information or technical papers if appropriate, on request.

We offer public access for research to PrIgLiDat - Pro Igel's Literature Database.

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