Where do hedgehogs live?

There are seventeen different species of hedgehog, located across the world. These are: four-toed hedgehog (central and eastern Africa), North African hedgehog (Algeria, Libya, Tunisia and Morocco), Southern African hedgehog (Botswana, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe), Somali hedgehog (Somalia), Amur hedgehog (Russia and China), Southern white-breasted hedgehog (Europe), European hedgehog, Northern white-breasted hedgehog (Poland, Austria and Greece), Long-eared hedgehog (Central Asia and the Middle East), Indian long-eared hedgehog (India), Daurian hedgehog (Russia and Mongolia), Hugh’s hedgehog (China), Desert hedgehog (Sahara Desert, the Middle East), Brandt’s hedgehog (Middle East), Indian hedgehog (India and Pakistan) and the Bare-bellied hedgehog (India).

Hedgehogs are not native to Australia, North America or South America. They have been introduced in New Zealand.

The most well-known of the hedgehog species is the European hedgehog. The European hedgehog is found in several different habitats, including grassland, woodland and meadows. They have even been seen in the Alps and Pyrenees. Hedgehogs thrive in hedgerows, gardens and parks, where they can find suitable material for their winter hibernation nests and a ready supply of food (mainly insects).

Hedgehogs are nocturnal (they come out at night and sleep during the day) and solitary. They don’t dig their own burrows, but they often use the burrows made by other animals as their den. The dens are often lined with grass and leaves. Hedgehogs have their own territory,and males have been known to chase away other male hedgehogs who are trespassing.

What next? Discover some more hedgehog facts.

Hedgehog Facts

Here are some facts about hedgehogs.

  • The Latin name for the European hedgehog is Erinaceus europaeus.
  • They are found throughout Europe.

  • The snuffling noises they make as they search for their food in hedgerows gave hedgehogs their name.
  • Hedgehogs eat insects, worms, snails, mice and frogs.
  • They are nocturnal and sleep all day in nests under bushes or in woodland areas.
  • They hibernate in winter because their food supply becomes incredibly scarce during the coldest months of the year. Hedgehogs construct a special hibernation nest called a hibernaculum. During hibernation their body temperature drops and their breathing rate slows dramatically. when they emerge from hibernation, hedgehogs have often lost half their body weight and they must find large quantities of food quickly. (Click here to learn more about hedgehog hibernation)
  • Hedgehogs have a coat of about 5000 spines. These act as a defence against foxes and badgers. When a hedgehog is threatened, it can curl up into a spiky ball, protecting its belly and face.
  • Hedgehogs have an excellent sense of smell, and they use their long snouts to sniff out their prey.
  • Hedgehogs are solitary animals and they only come together to mate. The male hedgehog (the boar) isn’t involved in rearing any offspring.
  • Female hedgehogs (sows) give birth to litters ranging from 1 to more than 10 babies. The young are born blind but they soon learn to hunt and will be surviving on their own after 2 – 3 months.
  • There are more than 10 different species of hedgehog.
  • Each hedgehog may be home to more than 500 fleas. Luckily, these fleas rarely bite humans.
  • Hedgehogs have adapted well to living alongside humans. They are able to sleep in garden hedges and they have developed a taste for dog and cat food and can often be seen finishing a meal intended for a family pet.
  • Hedgehogs are much quicker than people think, and they can travel up to 3 km a night when they are looking for food.

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