Learn all about hedgehogs
The west European hedgehog, Erinaceus europaeus
These pages cover everything you could ever want to know about the hedgehog in Britain, including their distribution, behaviour, ecology and the threats that they face.
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.
There’s lots of information on our site about hedgehogs, but to find out even more check out the following:
The New Hedgehog Book by Pat Morris. Illustrated by Guy Troughton. Part of the British Natural History Collection by Whittet Books. Published in 2006.
Hedgehogs by Nigel Reeves. T & AD Poyser Ltd., London. Published in 1994.
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