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Timing of breeding in free-ranging Ethiopian hedgehogs, Paraechinus aethiopicus, from Qatar

Yamaguchi, Nobuyuki, Al-Hajri, Afra, Al-Jabiri, Hayat
Journal of arid environments 2013 v.99 pp. 1-4
Erinaceidae, breeding, courtship, mating season, parents, reproductive behavior, seasonal variation, spring, winter, young animals, Qatar
There is little information pertaining to the breeding behaviour and reproductive biology of free-ranging hedgehog populations outside of Europe. We monitored the seasonal changes in courtship behaviour and the presence of new young animals from a free-ranging Ethiopian hedgehog population in Qatar between 2010 and 2012. Based on frequencies of courtship behaviour and deduced frequencies of successful mating, the mating season of the Ethiopian hedgehog is believed to start in January and continue through until July with a clear peak during the February/March period. We propose the existence of two mating peaks, one in February/March and the second in June, suggesting that free-ranging Ethiopian hedgehogs breed more than twice a year in Qatar. Successful mating in late winter/early spring may be more important for the increasing the inclusive fitness of the parents based on the number of young individuals that survive beyond one month of age.