The influence of egg size and colour on egg consumption by the Algerian hedgehog (**Atelerix algirus**)
Faculty of Sciences. Biology
Journal of ethology. - Tsukuba
, p. 125-130
University of Antwerp
We tested the hypothesis that the Algerian hedgehog (Atelerix algirus) consumes smaller eggs in preference to larger ones and that the colour of the eggs (brown or white spotted) does not influence the egg consumption rate. Eggs of three galliform species (the quail, Coturnix japonica; the red legged partridge, Alectoris rufa; the chicken, Gallus domesticus) were offered to 14 individual hedgehogs under experimental conditions. Overall, the hedgehogs consumed 107 of the 225 eggs offered (48%) in 5 days. The colour of the eggs did not influence the rates of egg consumption. However, egg size had a significant influence on the rates of egg consumption. Generalized linear mixed models showed that hedgehogs preferred to consume smaller quail eggs (91%, n = 65) than intermediate partridge eggs (44%, n = 110), whereas the largest chicken eggs (n = 50) were not consumed at all. There was a strong inter-individual variation in egg consumption, particularly of partridge eggs, from 0 to 100%, whereas individual variation in consumption of quail eggs was lower, from 70 to 100%.