Species of the month: September - Hedgehog

Let us know if you've seen one on our form below

Curled hedgehog © Amy Lewis

Common Name: Hedgehog

Scientific Name: Erinaceus europaeus

Identification: One of our most distinctive mammals! These little animals have up to 7,000 spines to protect itself against predators. A long thin snout, and a small hidden tail.

Behaviour: Hedgehogs are nocturnal and hibernate in the winter months. They will enter a state of torpor when hibernating meaning that they lower their body temperature and slow their metabolism down. They then emerge in Spring. During the breeding season pairs circle one another with snorts and grunts. The females give birth to up to 5 hoglets (!) from May onwards which then leave the nest after around 4 weeks.

They famously curl up in a ball if they are being predated upon to protect themselves.

Eats: Hedgehogs are insectivorous meaning they eat insects including caterpillars, beetles and earthworms as well as slugs and snails. They need to eat plenty of food during the summer months so that they are in good condition when they hibernate in October/November.

Where can they be found? Hedgehogs can be found across the UK in urban and suburban habitats such as gardens, parks and cemeteries as well as grasslands, woodlands and hedgerows. They roam up to 2km per night over home ranges as big as 10-20 hectares. In urban areas this makes gardens very important places for them indeed.

Factoid
  • Hedgehogs are disappearing from our countryside as fast as tigers are worldwide!

  • Hedgehog numbers have declined by 30% in just over 10years! (Wild About gardens, 2015)

Wildife Gardening Tips:

Top tips on how to attract Hedgehogs to your garden:

  • Create Hedgehog Highways! Connecting gardens is key- make a CD case sized (13cm x 13cm) hole in your fence or digging a route under your fenceline will help hedgehogs move between gardens.
  • Provide escape routes out of ponds like a piece of wood with chicken wire on or make sure your pond is shallow at one end so they can get out.
  • Create nesting opportunities or build a hedgehog home
  • Create a variety of habitats such as log piles, ponds, hedges and compost heaps to attract the food that they eat.
  • Set up a hedgehog feeding station with wet dog or cat food and water.
  • Rebuild bonfire piles before you set light to them or just pile it up don’t burn it up!

Let us know if you've seen a Hedgehog below...

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