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Species Spied: Hedgehog

Overview

Species: Hedgehog

Two hedgehogs fight in front of a NatureSpy camera trapScientific Name: Erinaceus europaeus

Family: Erinaceidae

Hedgehogs are one of our most cherished British mammals. This status is probably the result of them being frequent visitors to many gardens and allies to gardeners against pests.

The manner in which they plod around looking for slugs and grubs is always a delight to see! Watch it here.

Click on the tabs above to find out more and see NatureSpy videos and photos of this species.

Posts with hedgehogs...

Identification & behaviour

How to identify

As the only mammal in the UK with spines, hedgehogs are easy to identify. They also have a short tail, long legs, small ears and a pointed face.

Behaviours you may see

All species of hedgehog carry out ‘self-anointing’. This behaviour involves the production of white foamy saliva which the hedgehog will smear over its spines with its tongue. It is unclear why they do this but you may spot it when a hedgehog comes across a strong smell, a toxic food or even another hedgehog. It may be that they use it as a form of 'scent-camouflage' or as an added layer of protection.

They’re also well known for their defence strategy - rolling up into a ball.

NatureSpy has also caught two hedgehogs having a disagreement. Have a look what happened in the Great Hedgehog Fight of 2011...

Camera trap tips

Where to find hedgehogs

Hedgehogs are common throughout the UK and you may find them in parks, farmland or in your garden. They have a broad diet mainly consisting of slugs, worms and beetles but they occasionally eat eggs, chicks and frogs. You are most likely to find them in hedgerows and at the edges of woodland.

Putting food out may encourage hedgehogs to your garden, but avoid feeding them milk and bread. Also be aware of threats such as strimmers, chemicals, netting and ponds. If you do have a pond in your garden, make sure there is a ramp to help any hedgehog get out if it falls in.

Settings & timers

Hedgehogs are primarily nocturnal animals, making camera traps the perfect tools to uncover their presence. In the height of summer they are sometimes tempted out at dusk. To capture hedgehogs make sure your camera trap is set to come on in the evening and at night.

Hedgehogs are small mammals, and are not afraid to wander out in the open thanks to their spiney protection. Therefore, setting a camera trap to look over the lawned area of your garden may unveil their presence, but remember to keep the camera nice and low. Putting out a bowl with some hedgehog food is also a good way to tempt them in front of your camera!

They hibernate from around November through to Easter time, so you are unlikely to see them over the winter. Don’t disturb a hibernating hedgehog but if you see one during this time of year don't worry, they usually wake up several times to build a new nest. Always check bonfires for hibernating hedgehogs. Watch a hedgehog fattening-up for hibernation here.

If you see a hedgehog during the daytime, it may be in trouble and you should take it to your local vets. Find out more here.

Photos

Videos