The Hedgehog (Erinaceus europaeus) is one of Britain’s most familiar wild mammals. Hedgehogs have a short tail, long legs, and small ears; they tend to be brown in colour with dark eyes. The Hedgehog is a nocturnal animal and travels up to two kilometers in search of food. Hedgehogs are good swimmers and can run fairly quickly. Hedgehogs hibernate in the winter in a nest made from leaves typically under sheds or log piles. They emerge from hibernation around Easter time when breeding occurs- between April and September.

On average Hedgehogs live 2-5 years in the wild and globally there are 14 different species. The European Hedgehog is found across Western Europe and Scandinavia and in the UK over the past 10 years Hedgehog numbers have fallen by 30 percent, it is thought that there are fewer than 1 million left in the UK.

Hedgehog © Tadeusz Lakota


Hedgehogs are most commonly known to eat slugs and snails but they also have a very broad diet consisting of berries, invertebrates, frogs, eggs, and even adder’s as they have a variable resistance to adder venom.

How to track/identify?

Hedgehogs are usually present in rural gardens and parks throughout the night; you can hear them ruffling through bushes and under hedges. Always check your bonfires and compost heaps for a hedgehog nest before you dispose or burn them.

Did you know?

  • Hedgehogs have around 7000 spines which last for around a year then get replaced.
  • They are named Hedgehogs due to its habit of moving through hedges and making a pig-like grunt.
  • Females give birth to four or five young per litter.

Reserves where they are present

Found throughout Wiltshire although their numbers are in decline.

Others in the Mammal Family

American MinkBank VoleBadger, Brown Hare, Grey SquirrelHazel DormouseHouse MouseOtterRabbitRed FoxWeaselWild Boar

Print out a copy of the Hedgehog Fact Sheet

You can help us continue to look after habitats for hedgehogs through donating or purchasing a hedgehog gift box from our shop.