Mammal Hero

Western European Hedgehog (Erinaceus europaeus) is native to the UK and Europe, and common locally in Britain, however the hedgehog is decline, current estimates are less than 1 million are left in the UK. It is our only spiny mammal, who are nocturnal (awake between dusk and dawn) and are most often found in urban and suburban areas but will also utilise more rural areas. They feed mainly on invertebrates, but will also eat bird eggs.

Field Signs

The hedgehogs themselves (dead or alive): Sadly most people only see hedgehogs which have been killed on the road but placing out some cat food and water might entice a hedgehog to come into your garden. If you stay up late you might catch a glimpse of one (if you are lucky).

Poo/Faeces: They vary depending on what the hedgehog has been eating. But generally they are dark brown-grey or black, firm and typically packed with the exoskeletons of invertebrates, such as beetles (so appear shiny). They are roughly cylindrical and sometimes tapered and can range in length from 15-50mm.

Footprints: (Right picture) Both the front and back feet have five toes, though often only four toes show up on the tracks. The front feet are wider and can leave tracks that look like little hands. The back feet are slimmer and longer and leave narrower tracks.


Did you know...?
Local mammal groups usually have hedgehog tunnels that can be borrowed to survey for these animals. You can also make these tunnels yourselves quite easily. Visit Hedgehog Street and find out more on these tunnels.

If you want to help hedgehogs or find out more information about them, then these websites might be of help: Hedgehog Street | PTES | British Hedgehogs

Thanks go to Hugh Warwick for some of the “Did you knows”.

Other Winter Articles

Read other issues!