Print page



Erinaceus europaeus

Hedgehogs have a rather rounded body covered in short, dark, yellow-tipped spines, and a short tail. The face and undersides are covered in coarse hair. They are widespread and common throughout mainland Britain. 

In the summer they spend most of the day sheltering in a nest of leaves, moss and grass. They come out at night and can be heard snuffling and grunting as they forage for food. In the autumn they find a sheltered spot, often under a hedgerow, to hibernate. 

Although their eyesight is poor, they have good hearing and a well-developed sense of smell. Hedgehogs are good runners, proficient climbers and can even swim. 

If attacked they roll into a tight ball so only their spines are exposed. Many hedgehogs are killed unintentionally by humans: on the road, with lawnmowers, strimmers and garden chemicals, and in bonfires.

What does it eat?

Slugs, snails, beetles and earthworms, birds' eggs, nestlings and carrion.

When will I see it?

At night from April to October.

Where will I see it?

Throughout the garden foraging for food. They will also come onto patios and to the backdoor if food is put out. Also in parks, scrubby areas, hedgerows and woods.

Vital statistics

Length: Up to 30 cm
Weight: Up to 2 kg


Not seen in JanuaryNot seen in FebruaryNot seen in MarchSeen in AprilSeen in MaySeen in JuneSeen in JulySeen in AugustSeen in SeptemberSeen in OctoberNot seen in NovemberNot seen in December

Key to calendar