Weight: up to 2kg
Average lifespan: 2-3 years
When to seeApril to October
AboutRound, brown and famously covered in spines, the European hedgehog (often just referred to as 'hedgehog') is one of the UK's most familiar wild mammals. It is most commonly spotted in parks and gardens, where bushes and hedges provide the perfect daytime getaway, and insect-rich lawns and flowerbeds make excellent feeding grounds at dusk.
Hedgehogs eat all kinds of invertebrates, as well as amphibians, birds' eggs and anything else they can catch; they particularly like big, crunchy beetles, earthworms and slugs, making them a gardener's best friend. Hedgehogs hibernate over winter, from about November to April, in a nest of leaves or logs called a 'hibernaculum'.
How to identifyA unique and unmistakeable animal, the hedgehog is small, brown and round, with yellow-tipped spines over its back, and a fur-covered face. Mostly nocturnal, you may see or hear one snuffling around the garden. Or look out for the signs of hedgehogs, such as medium-sized, black droppings full of insect bits on the lawn.
DistributionWidespread, found throughout the country in a variety of habitats, though absent from some Scottish Islands. A large proportion of the hedgehogs on Alderney are blonde!
Did you know?Hedgehogs are known for their ability to roll themselves into a ball of spines when threatened. These spines are actually modified hairs and the average hedgehog has about 7000 of them, which can be raised using powerful muscles along their back.
How people can help
Thousands of birds, insects and other animals across England are finding it harder and harder to survive. Can you help create a Wilder Future for them?
If you have a hedgehog in the garden, you can help it out by putting down a little cat food and leaving a pile of leaves or logs for it to hibernate under. Also, don't forget to check your bonfire before you light it! Whether you live in town or country, you can help to look after garden wildlife by providing food, water and shelter.