Learn all about hedgehogs

The west-European hedgehog, Erinaceus europaeus

photo by Hedgehog Champion Mark Sant

The west European hedgehog (scientific name Erinaceus europaeus) is one of about 17 hedgehog species worldwide and unmistakable as Britain’s only spiny mammal. Their highly specialised coat contains around 6,000 creamy-brown spines and hangs around their body in a loose-ish ‘skirt’, concealing greyish fur on their underside, surprisingly long legs and a short tail.

As distant relatives of shrews, hedgehogs have changed little in the past 15 million years. They are generalists that can be found across a wide range of rural and urban habitats, although they are absent from moors, coniferous plantations, wetlands and some islands.