(Erinaceus europaeus) Size: 30cm Weight: 450-1500g Lifespan: max. 5 years, average 2-3 years
Identification: Unmistakable, there are no confusion species - the only spiny mammal in the UK. General: A native species, widespread in both the countryside and urban areas. The young are born between May and August usually in one litter but occasionally two. They are born blind and spineless - white spines grow after a week and these are replaced within a few weeks by dark spines. They are weaned after 4 weeks and are independent shortly after. Their traditional habitat is woodland, rough pasture, meadows, heaths and moorland as well as farmland - they avoid wet habitats but are able to swim. They are omnivorous, feeding mainly on insects and worms but will eat carrion and birds eggs. Badger and foxes are the main predators but road traffic collisions are the Droppings major cause of death. They are nocturnal and use their keen sense of smell to forage. Being able to run from danger, they often curl up into a tight ball. They usually hibernate from November to March. Distribution - UK: There are approx. 1 million hedgehogs distributed widely throughout the UK in all parts except for some Scottish islands. The population has declined rapidly over recent years.