Weight: up to 2kg
Average lifespan: 2-3 years
When to seeApril to October
AboutRound, brown and famously covered in spines, the European hedgehog (often just referred to as 'hedgehog') is one of the UK's most familiar wild mammals. It is most commonly spotted in parks and gardens, where bushes and hedges provide the perfect daytime getaway, and insect-rich lawns and flowerbeds make excellent feeding grounds at dusk.
Hedgehogs eat all kinds of invertebrates, as well as amphibians, birds' eggs and anything else they can catch; they particularly like big, crunchy beetles, earthworms and slugs, making them a gardener's best friend. Hedgehogs hibernate over winter, from about November to April, in a nest of leaves or logs called a 'hibernaculum'.
How to identifyA unique and unmistakeable animal, the hedgehog is small, brown and round, with yellow-tipped spines over its back, and a fur-covered face. Mostly nocturnal, you may see or hear one snuffling around the garden. Or look out for the signs of hedgehogs, such as medium-sized, black droppings full of insect bits on the lawn.
In our area
London's hedgehogs are in trouble, with the city's population falling by nearly a third since 2000. We need to act fast to reverse this decline, but we can only do this with your help.
In the 1950s there were around 30 million hedgehogs in Britain, but today the number is less than one million. In London, these spiky beetle-eating mammals have virtually disappeared from many parts of the city, with only one last breeding population currently recorded in central London, in an area of the car park in the Outer Circle of The Regent’s Park.