Erinaceus europaeus

  1. Wildlife
  2. Mammals
  3. Hedgehog


Small, round, brown and famously covered in spines, the Hedgehog is one of the most familiar of Britain's wild mammals. They are most commonly spotted in parks and gardens, where bushes and hedges provide the perfect day-time 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.

How to identify

A unique and unmistakeable animal. Look out for the signs of hedgehogs: medium-sized, black droppings consisting of bits of beetles and other insects, often found on the lawn.

Where to find it

Widespread, found throughout the country except for the Channel Islands and some Scottish Islands.


When to find it

  • April
  • May
  • June
  • July
  • August
  • September
  • October

How can people help

The once common Hedgehog is now under threat from development and habitat loss. Combined, our gardens provide a space for wildlife larger than all our National Nature Reserves, so by gardening in a wildlife-friendly way, we can help our spiny companions to find a home and to move safely between habitats to find mates and food. Hedgehogs will also helpfully hoover up any unwanted slugs and snails, so no need to use poisonous slug pellets. 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. But don't forget to check your bonfire before you light it!

Local information

Do you live near the M4? 

Ecologists at the University of Reading are currently conducting a project examining the possible impact of road networks on hedgehog populations. 

They are carrying out a survey of dead hedgehogs found within a zone approximately 10 miles north and south of the M4 between Bristol and London (M25).

If you live within this study zone, please report any sightings you have of dead hedgehogs to hedgehogs@reading.ac.uk.

Please join your local wildlife trust today

Please join your local wildlife trust today

Please join your local wildlife trust today

Species information

Common name
Latin name
Erinaceus europaeus
Length: 25cm Weight: up to 2kg Average lifespan: 2-3 years
Conservation status
Classified as a Priority Species in the UK Biodiversity Action Plan.