Hedgehog nest box
Helping hedgehogs

Hedgehog facts

Hedgehog facts – top facts about wild hedgehogs

With their cute snuffly noses and tiny little feet, it’s no wonder that hedgehogs are one of our most loved creatures. They feature in everything from ancient sculptures to the stories of Beatrix Potter and were voted the United Kingdom’s favourite mammal in 2016. But how much do you know about these elusive nocturnal garden visitors?

Did you know?

  • There are 17 species of hedgehogs in the world.
  • Hedgehogs are found on every continent in the world except the Americas and Australia.
  • The European hedgehog was introduced to New Zealand by settlers wanting a reminder of home.
  • The cutest term for a group of hedgehogs is a ‘Prickle’.
Prickle of hedgehogs
A group of hedgehogs is called a ‘Prickle”
  • Baby hedgehogs are called ‘hoglets’
  • Although known as voracious ‘slug-munchers’, the number one food for European hedgehogs is actually beetles. Their poo glistens due to all the insect wings they consume.
  • Hedgehogs can roam up to 2 miles a night on those tiny little feet.
Blind wild hedgehog
Hedgehogs can roam up to 2 miles a night – not in a straight line but travelling between and around gardens
  • The name hedgehog dates back to the 1400s and the Middle English word ‘heyghoge’. The name refers to their love of foraging and sleeping in hedgerows and pig-like snouts. They also make a grunting noise like a pig when courting.
  • Hedgehogs are born live with a protective membrane over their spines. The spines emerge within a few hours of being born and are initially white.
Newborn wild hedgehogs
Newborn wild hedgehogs. This nest was disturbed. Baby hoglets should never be handled unless absolutely necessary. Always with gloves. Get them warm as soon as possible and keep the nest intact.
  • Hedgehogs have over 5000 spines, which are made of keratin, the same material as human nails.
  • Hedgehog Winter nests are called ‘Hibernacula”.
  • Hedgehog hibernation is not always continuous. They can wake up during milder periods for a bite to eat or even to move nests.
hibernating hedgehog
A hibernating hedgehog tightly curled
  • Hedgehog numbers are in sharp decline in the UK and other parts of Europe. There are lots of causes of this decline including hazards like roads, pesticide use and habitat loss.

I run a hedgehog rescue in York, England. You can read more about me and my work here. My work is entirely self-funded. If you have found these facts interesting and useful, please consider helping to support my rescue work.

I also make handmade silver jewellery inspired by nature and wildlife. You can visit my jewellery shop here.

Paw print pet jewellery by Little Silver Hedgehog

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