Contest Directions: Photoshop this hedgehog image (click to download) any way you wish. Some examples are: dressing up this hedgehog, placing it into some new environment, making the hedgehog perform some stunts.
These are just some ideas.
You have 3 days to submit your entry. Submitting it early will give you plenty of time to read the critique comments and edit your image accordingly.
Many thanks to Vitezslav Valka and Stock Exchange for providing the source image.
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This contest is fueled by the following news: The Eurasian hedgehog (Erinaceus europaeus) is a mammal of the echinoid family, a generation of wood hedgehogs
Appearance: The hedgehog is a well-known small animal, whose back and sides are covered by short dark needles.
The needles are 3cm in length; adult hedgehogs have 5000—6000, their young — only 3000. The needles are white at the base and at the end; they are painted by strips of black, white and brown colors in the middle. The fur on the muzzle, feet and paunch is rigid. The breast and throat are monophonic, without white stains, unlike similar four-toed hedgehogs.
The length of a body is 135-265 mm; the hedgehog weighs on average 700—800 g, but before hibernation it can be 1200 g. Males are larger than females. A muzzle is extended and mobile; the nose is sharp and constantly damp. The eyes are black and round. The ears are short (less than 3.5cm), rounded and are almost hidden in a fur. The extremities are five-fingered, with sharp claws; the upper extremities are slightly longer than the lower extremities. On the top jaw there are 20 small sharp teeth, on the lower jaw16.
The needles of the hedgehog are hollow and are filled with air and divided by diametrical disks into compartments. Under the skin of the back of the hedgehog it has a special muscle panniculus carnosis which at its contraction allows it to be turned off in a prickly sphere. Each needle grows 12 to18 months; the fall-off goes slowly .On average for a year only one needle from three varies (basically in the spring and in the autumn).
The habitation area of an ordinary hedgehog covers Europe (including Ireland and Britain), Caucasus, Transcaucasia and Asia Minor. It is rare after the latitude of 60° north. In Russia it is found in the midland of the European part, in the Middle Ural and in the south of Western Siberia. In the end of the 19th century it has been acclimatized in New Zealand, where it is numerous now. Judging by fossil remains it was found before in the North America.
Mode of life and nutrition:
The hedgehog is the native of forest-meadows and steppe zones. It comes into zones of a taiga and semi-desert only on valleys of the big rivers and their large inflows. It avoids dense forests and spacious bogs; the biggest area of distribution is at the edges of coppices, forest belts, and small glades and in flood plains. You can meet them in mountains (to 2000 m above sea level), it is usual in the cultivated districts: gardens, parks and personal plots.
The hedgehog has an individual mode of life. Males aggressively protect the feeding territory from each other. The areas of the feeding territory of the males are from 7 to 39 hectares, females — from 6.9 to 10 hectares. Plots of males can be crossed with plots of females, but plots of pregnant and feeding females are never crossed. Within its plot the hedgehog arranges several nests (up to 10), which are hidden in a thorny bush, under logs, in heaps of brushwood, etc. The hedgehog sleeps, having curtailed into a loose ball. When it gets frosty (lower than +10 °C), having saved up fatty stocks, the hedgehog corks an entry in the hole and runs into hibernation which the duration depends on the environmental conditions. Hibernation comes to an end in April when the air temperature rises to +15 °C. The hedgehog basically eats insects (bugs, earwigs) and their larvae, slugs, snails and earthworms. Dogs, foxes, polecats, badgers and large owls hunt for hedgehogs.
Hedgehogs have a sharp sense of smell and hearing but their sight weak. They run with a speed of up to 3 m/s and swim and climb well. Hedgehogs utter various sniffing and sneezing sounds, grumble and chatter. Young hedgehogs, being in a nest, utter whistle and quacking sounds similar to the ones birds make.
The advantages and harm for people:
The Eurasian hedgehog is useful thanks to the destruction of harmful insects: among insects eaten by it — May beetle, ground beetles, caterpillars of the black arches and the gipsy moth. At the same time the hedgehog destroys baby birds and eggs of small birds nesting on the earth. Hedgehogs also plunder hens and abduct chickens. The hedgehog can be a carrier of such diseases as dermatomycosis, a yellow fever, salmonellosis, and leptospirosis. Pincers and fleas are found on them in considerable quantities. Hedgehogs are in the number of owners on which pincers are fed in all phases of development. In forests hedgehogs collect on themselves ticks, including encephalitic ticks.
The hedgehog easily adapts to life near people and often is kept as a pet. It is known that the Romans in the 4th century BC reared hedgehogs for the sake of their meat - it was baked together with needles in clay. Some national medicines (in particular from alopecia) included ashes, bile, entrails or blood of the hedgehogs.
* Also hedgehogs in case of danger defecate and, being turned into a ball, start to go for a drive in their own excrements, frightening off a source of danger with a pungent smell;
* The widespread opinion that hedgehogs pin food on needles is erroneous; sometimes they transfer the leaves pinned on the needles to their nest.