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Gender, age and seasonal dependent self-anointing in the European hedgehogErinaceus europaeus

Abstract

Various hypotheses have been proposed in order to explain self-anointing in hedgehogs, but until now its function is still poorly understood. In order to obtain a better understanding of self-anointing, we investigated whether this behaviour is gender, age and seasonal dependent in seven European hedgehogErinaceus europaeus Linnaeus, 1758 populations. Signs of self-anointing were observed in more than 11% of all observations. First-year independent young were found to self-anoint more than adults, while male hedgehogs bore more signs of self-anointing than females. Self-anointing in adults displayed a peak in summertime, while no clear pattern was observed for young. We conclude that self-anointing is clearly dependent on gender, age and season.

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Associate Editor was Andrzej Zalewski.

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D'Havé, H., Scheirs, J., Verhagen, R. et al. Gender, age and seasonal dependent self-anointing in the European hedgehogErinaceus europaeus . Acta Theriol 50, 167–173 (2005). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF03194480

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Key words

  • Erinaceus europaeus
  • self-anointing
  • hedgehog
  • field study