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European Hedgehog

European Hedgehog

European Hedgehog

European Hedgehog Range Map (Europe)
European Hedgehog Range Map (Europe)
Latin Name Erinaceus europaeus
Conservation Status Least Concern
Location Europe
Colour Brown
Length 22 - 27 cm (9 - 10.5 inches)
Tail Very Small
Weight 0.9 - 1 Kgs (2 - 2.25 lbs)
Life Expectancy Up to 5 Yrs

Main Characteristics

European Hedgehogs are they only spiny mammal found in Great Britain. They have a body length between 22 and 27 cms (9 - 10.5 inches), a very small tail and they weigh between 0.9 and 1 Kgs (2 - 2.25 lbs).

They are covered in small brown spines that have a pale coloured tip and their underside and face is covered in brown fur. Adult hedgehogs may have as many as 5,000 spines.

They have excellent senses of hearing and smell, but their eyesight is poor. They can swim and climb well, and when they feel threatened they roll themselves up into a ball to protect their vulnerable head and underside .

European Hedgehogs hibernate throughout the winter and it is during this time that most hedgehog fatalities take place. Their body temperature and heart rate fall to as little as 20 beats per minute, from it usual rate of 190 beats per minute.


European Hedgehogs are found in woodland, farmland, and suburban areas throughout Europe. They are a popular sight in gardens and they are solitary, non-territorial animals that are mainly active at night.

During the day time in the summer they shelter in nests made from leaves and moss. By autumn they are ready to hibernate and their nests are typically hidden under hedgerows. They hibernate throughout the winter months and they emerge from their nests the following March or April.


European Hedgehogs are omnivores and they feed upon worms, insects, slugs, spiders, eggs and carrion. They are also known to eat small rodents, frogs and young birds.


European Hedgehogs mate from May - October and after a gestation period of 31 - 35 days they give birth to 4 - 5 young. Their spines appear within a few hours of birth and when they reach 5 weeks old they are weaned. Females will give birth to 1 - 2 litters of young per year.


Predators of European Hedgehogs include pine martens, stoats, foxes and badgers.


Currently there is a debate over the validity of several subspecies of the European Hedgehog.

Interesting Facts

European Hedgehogs are also known as:
West European Hedgehogs

On the channel island of Alderney approximately 1,000 European Hedgehogs have a rare recessive gene that gives them the appearance of blonde coloured spines and beady black eyes. They are nicknamed "Alderney Spike Girls" and although they can appear elsewhere in their range, they are very rare.

Hedgehogs snuffle around noisily in the undergrowth looking for food, hence the name "hog" as they make pig-like noises.

Similar Animals

Amur Hedgehog
Southern White-Breasted Hedgehog

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