Hedgehogs (Erinaceus Europaeus) are nocturnal animals that hibernate in the winter but occasionally awake on warmer days.

Hedgehogs are Britain's only spiny mammal and adults have around 5000 spines on their

Hedgehog - Nada Woolcock

backs. Their spines are their only weapons and when they feel threatened they roll up in a ball so that the spines are the only thing visible. This deters most predators but some are more stubborn and eventually kill the hedgehog animals such as foxes, and some eagles have also learnt how to hunt these animals in other countries where other prey is scarce. Younger hedgehogs however may not be able to use this defence properly due to the fact that they cannot roll themselves up into a ball tightly enough.


Hedgehogs mainly eat beetles caterpilars and earthworms but sometimes eat small mammals and bird eggs.


Hedgehogs are born blind and only have a few soft spines but they rapidly grow and at 6 weeks old they already have around two thousand spines.

Hedgehogs are protected, as they have been declared an endangered species. People believe they are endangered because of things such as tidier gardens (gardens are tidied up and provide less shelter and food), and an increase in cat ownership.

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Size: Body length to 30cm

Description: An insectivore covered with spines which has short logs and a pointed snout

Habitat: Gardens, parks and woodlands.

Sounds: Squeals when alarmed but can make a whole range of grunts and snorts.

Signs: Soft, black droppings with the remains of insects in them.