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Where is our hedgehog found?

European distribution of our native hedgehog

Map of E. europaeus global distribution

European hedgehogs are found from Sicily up through Italy and Germany to southern Scandinavia and Finland. They are found throughout the British Isles and have been introduced to the Isles of Wight, Man, Orkney, Shetland and many others, including possibly Ireland. They are absent from some Scottish islands including Barra, Jura, Colonsay, Eigg and Rum in the Hebrides and Rousay in Orkney.

Blonde hedgehogs on Alderney by Hedgehog Champion Suzy Weir

Some hedgehogs are blonde!

Interestingly, on two islands, North Ronaldsay and the Channel Island of Alderney, around 25% of the hedgehog population are leucistic or ‘blonde’, meaning they have black eyes and cream-coloured spines. While this colouration does occur in the mainland population it’s usually extremely rare and it’s thought that one or some of the founding individuals on these islands must have been carrying the recessive genes linked to this colouration. These hedgehogs are not strictly speaking albino, though true albino individuals do occur occasionally.

British distribution of hedgehogs: Hogwatch

2005/6 distribution map from PTES/BHPS 'Hogwatch' survey

This is built from the 20,000 or so people that responded to the PTES & BHPS ‘Hogwatch’ survey in 2005 and 2006. Green dots are positive hedgehog sightings.

Although the records are concentrated according to where most people live, an east-west divide in distribution is noticable. In general, the eastern counties are though to have more hedgehogs than the west.

More recent data

Hedgehogs are declining rapidly and hence it is important to only consider fairly recent records when inspecting the distribution of hedgehogs in the UK. The map below demonstrates how widely distributed they still are, with almost comprehensive coverage across England. This distribution masks the ongoing declines that our long-running mammal surveys are detecting.

How do I know if there are hedgehogs in my area?