Although badgers in Britain prefer to eat a diet of earthworms, slugs and underground grubs, when these foods are in short supply, they will eat hedgehogs.
Badgers are omnivores and they will also eat toads and frogs, mice, voles, young birds, small rabbits, eggs, and even small lambs when other food sources aren’t available.
Badgers will eat nearly all of the hedgehog, but they leave the skin with the prickles attached.
Some people believe that the increasing badger populations in Britain is responsible for the recent decline in the hedgehog population. While it is true that badgers will eat hedgehogs and compete with them for food (earthworms and slugs), the fall in the number of hedgehogs is also closely linked to the loss of hedgerows, an important habitat of the hedgehog.
Many of the hedgehog rescue centres around Britain are reluctant to release hedgehogs back into the wild in areas that have high badger populations.
In addition to badgers, in some parts of Europe weasels and wild ferrets will eat hedgehogs, and the Eurasian eagle owl often east hedgehogs, silently tracking them down at night before they have a chance to roll into a ball.
What next? Click the links to learn more about hedgehogs and badgers.