Where do hedgehogs live?
Hedgehogs are found in most parts of Britain, apart from very wet areas and extensive pine forests. They are also often scarce in upland areas such as moorlands and mountainsides. Hedgehogs are predominantly a woodland edge species and can thrive in the mosaic of hedges, fields and woodlands that charaterise the British countryside.
Hedgehogs can be just as happy in rural or urban locations
As the name suggests they are often found near hedgerows, which provide ideal locations for nest sites, a good supply of invertebrates on which they feed, protection from predators and important movement corridors. The pastures used by farmers to raise cattle, sheep or horses are important foraging areas for hedgehogs.
Gardens (and lots of them) provide everything hedgehogs need
Hedgehogs are also abundant in urban and suburban areas. Gardens provide hedgehogs with a plentiful supply of food, both natural and supplementary, as well as many potential nest sites for breeding, resting and hibernation. For these reason urban areas have become a stronghold for hedgehogs in recent years.
Access between gardens is critical for hedgehogs
Hedgehogs have home ranges but are not territorial so will not fight to defend these areas. Radio-tracking studies have found that hedgehog home ranges vary during the year (and between sexes) but are on average around 10—20 hectares and they can roam an average distance of 2km on a single night. Male hedgehogs in the breeding season can cover up to 3km in one night in their search of females!
To help urban hedgehogs gardens need to be linked up so they have a sufficient area to roam – find out how to link your garden.