(Last Updated On: April 15, 2021)

The European hedgehog, the scientific name Erinaceus europaeus, also called the West European hedgehog or common hedgehog, is a hedgehog species present in Europe, from Iberia and Italy northwards into Scandinavia.

European Hedgehog Profile

It is a typically frequent and extensively distributed species that may survive throughout a large range of habitat sorts. It is a widely known species, and a favorite in European gardens, each for its endearing look and its desire for consuming a range of backyard pests. While populations are presently stable throughout a lot of its range, it’s regarded as declining severely in Great Britain.

Round, brown, and famously lined in spines, the hedgehog is the UK’s most acquainted wild animal. They may be noticed in parks and gardens the place bushes present the right daytime getaway!

European Hedgehog loves long grass filled with bugs to feast on as soon as the solar has set. Hedgehogs hibernate over winter from around November to April, often selecting to nest in piles of leaves or logs.

Hedgehogs eat all types of invertebrates, in addition to amphibians, birds’ eggs, and the rest they will catch; they significantly like large, crunchy beetles, earthworms, and slugs, making them a gardener’s greatest pal.

European Hedgehog hibernates over winter, from about November to April, in a nest of leaves or logs referred to as a ‘hibernaculum’.

Widespread, discovered all through the nation in quite a lot of habitats, although absent from some Scottish Islands. A big proportion of the hedgehogs on Alderney are blonde!

European Hedgehog

Hedgehogs are most plentiful inside the gardens, parks, and amenity land near or inside human settlements.

They are typically scarce in areas of coniferous woodland, marshes, and moorland, most likely due to an absence of appropriate sites and supplies for the development of winter nests (or hibernacula), which have particular necessities.

A singular and unmistakable animal, the hedgehog is small, brown and round, with yellow-tipped spines over its back, and a fur-covered face.

Mostly nocturnal, you might even see or hear one snuffling across the backyard. Or look out for the indicators of hedgehogs, resembling medium-sized, black droppings filled with insect bites on the garden.

European Hedgehog Description

European Hedgehog has a generalized body construction with unspecialized limb girdles. The animal seems brownish with most of its body lined by as much as 6,000 brown and white spines.

Length of head and body is ~160 mm (6.3 in) at weaning, rising to 260 mm (10 in) or more in giant adults. This species has a particularly brief tail as a virtually vestigial function, sometimes 20 to 30 mm (0.79 to 1.18 in).

Weight will increase from around 120 g (4.2 oz) at weaning to > 1,100 g (2.4 lb) in maturity.

The most recorded weight is 2000 g (4.Four lb), although few wild specimens exceed 1,600 g (3.5 lb) even in autumn.

Adult summertime weight is usually considerably lower than in autumn, with an average of around 800 g (1.8 lb) and adult weights generally as little as 500 g (1.1 lb).

Males are typically barely bigger than females, however, sex variations in body weight are overshadowed by huge seasonal variation.

A small, brown, round mammal with an unmistakable coat of speckled brown and cream spines. Brown pointy face with small eyes, nose, and small round ears. Can weigh (at their heaviest) as much as 2kg.

Hedgehogs are identified for his or her capacity to roll themselves right into a ball of spines when threatened. These spines are literally modified hairs and the average hedgehog has about 7000 of them, which may be raised utilizing highly effective muscle groups alongside their back.

European Hedgehog

European Hedgehog Distribution

Found all through Europe (together with Russia). Found in quite a lot of habitats and climates, from the UK within the West, to Northwest Russia within the east and within the north from Scandinavia right down to the Mediterranean. It is an launched invasive species in New Zealand.

The European hedgehog is endemic to Europe (together with European Russia), with a world distribution extending from the British Isles and the Iberian Peninsula eastwards via a lot of western to central Europe, and from southern Fennoscandia and the northern Baltic to north-west Russia.

Present additionally on Mediterranean islands (Corsica, Sardinia, Elba, Sicily), on a lot of the French Atlantic islands in addition to on British Islands (autochthonous and launched). It is an invasive unique species in New Zealand and has most likely been launched to Ireland and lots of the smaller islands the place it happens.

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European Hedgehog Lifespan

European hedgehogs could dwell to 10 years of age, though the average life expectancy is three years. Starvation is the commonest explanation for loss of life, often occurring throughout hibernation.

If alarmed, the animal will roll right into a ball to guard itself. Many potential predators are repelled by their spines, however, predation does happen.

Remains of hedgehogs have been discovered within the stomachs of European badgers (Meles meles), red foxes (Vulpes vulpes), and pine martens (Martes martes).

A big portion of those could also be from hedgehog carcasses, particularly road-kill. However, hedgehogs are typically absent from areas the place badgers are quite a few.

European Hedgehog Habitat

Has a range of occupied habitat sorts; city gardens, heathland, blended woodland, grassland, and arable farmland. Gardens and parks have gotten more and more essential for this species in city areas.

The European hedgehog is discovered throughout a large range of habitat sorts, encompassing each semi-natural vegetation sorts and people areas that were closely modified by man.

The range consists of woodland, grasslands resembling meadows and pasture, arable land, orchards, and vineyards in addition to inside the matrix of habitat sorts present in human settlements.

It prefers lowlands and hills as much as 400–600m, however can also be regionally present on mountains, exceptionally as much as an altitude of 1500-2000m (e.g. Alps and Pyrenees). Outside cultivated land, it prefers marginal zones of forests, significantly ecotonal grass, and scrubs vegetation.

European Hedgehog Color

Leucistic or ‘blonde’ hedgehogs often happen. Such specimens are believed to have a pair of uncommon recessive genes, giving rise to their black eyes and creamy-colored spines; nonetheless, they don’t seem to be strictly talking albino.

They are extraordinarily uncommon, besides on North Ronaldsay and the Channel Island of Alderney the place around 25% of the inhabitants is regarded as a blonde. True albino types of the hedgehog do additionally happen occasionally.

European Hedgehog

European Hedgehog Diet

Mainly insectivorous, however, has a diversified diet. Important meal sources are beetles, earthworms, slugs, caterpillars, eggs, and small chicks (ground nesting).

The European hedgehog is omnivorous, feeding primarily on invertebrates. Its diet consists of slugs, earthworms, beetles, caterpillars, and different bugs.

The most popular arthropods are the millipedes Glomeris marginata and Tachypodoiulus niger in addition to the ground beetle Carabus nemoralis. Some fruits and mushrooms could complement their diet.

European Hedgehog Behavior

Nocturnal, solitary, and non-territorial (though males may be aggressive in direction of one another). An attribute function of rolling into a decent ball for protection. Have dwelling ranges and may travel appreciable distances (1-2km) in a single night.

Hedgehogs hibernate over the winter interval; this usually begins in November and ends around Easter time. During the winter, hedgehogs can get up for brief durations resembling constructing a brand new nest.

However if the climate immediately turns into too much heat too early, this could have an adverse impact by awakening hibernating hedgehogs too early without adequate meals obtainable. Nests often include a pile of leaves, below a bush, log pile, backyard shed, and bonfire heaps.

This species is basically nocturnal. It has a hesitant gait, regularly stopping to scent the air. Unlike the smaller, warmer-climate species, the European hedgehog could hibernate within the winter.

However, most wake at the least as soon as to maneuver their nests. They are solitary in nature with mature males behaving aggressively in direction of one another. Occasionally a female and male could share a hibernating spot.

European Hedgehog Threats

Habitat loss and fragmentation are a significant trigger for concern for this species, particularly the widespread elimination of hedgerows, intensification of farming practices (in addition to the swap from pastoral to arable farming), pesticide use each in farms and gardens, and street visitors collisions.

Badgers are additionally a risk to hedgehogs as not solely do badgers compete with hedgehogs for meals and assets however they’re additionally their solely principal predator; being sturdy sufficient to uncurl them from their protecting spiny ball. Future considerations on the influence local weather change could also be having on hedgehogs are additionally earmarked for additional analysis.

European Hedgehog Reproduction

The breeding season commences after hibernation. Pregnancies peak between May and July, although they’ve been recorded as late as September. Gestation is 31 to 35 days.

The feminine alone raises the litter which usually numbers between 4 and 6, although can range from two to 10. Studies have indicated that litter size could improve in more northern climes.

The younger are born blind with a protecting of small spines. By the time they’re 36 hours old, the second, outer coat of spines begins to sprout. By 11 days they will roll right into a ball. Weaning happens at 4 to 6 weeks of age.

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