Best 10 European Hedgehog Facts, Diet, Lifespan, Habitat

European hedgehog

Most of us have seen hedgehogs, cute little species in cartoons, or national geographic channels, or maybe in animal shows. At some moment in life, We have seen this animal of what I am about to talk about. In our series of hedgehogs, we’ll be talking about some fascinating and eye-catching species of hedgehogs that will truly amaze you. We’ll be telling you the facts; you have never listened to before. It is going to be a very exciting series of animals since far. So stay tuned, and have fun!

European hedgehog description

Let’s start this series with the European hedgehog, it is also known as the West European hedgehog or sometimes referred to as common hedgehog. We will explore later why it is called common. It is found in Europe, ranging from Liberia, and Italy northward into Scandinavia. 

European hedgehog 1

European hedgehog scientific name

Besides its local names, it also has a professional name given by scientists. Its scientific name is Erinaceus europaeus.” It belongs to the family Erinaceus and has an order Eulipotyphla. It also has a Latin name which relates to its scientific name. European hedgehog Latin name is Erinaceinae. 

How was the European hedgehog introduced?

Hedgehogs mainly eat slugs and snails, that’s why hedgehogs were introduced to Scotland’s Western Isles and also to the UK to control these little species like slugs and snails in gardens. It was introduced by acclimatization societies. They were introduced to the places where they do not occur naturally.

European hedgehog tortoise classification

Let’s have a look at its classification: 

Scientific NameErinaceus europaeus
Order Eulipotyphla
SpeciesE. europaeus 
Diet Herbivores
Lifespan 2 to 3 years.
Weight400 pounds
Gestation period 37 days 
Trophic levelOmnivores
Length 7 to 11

European hedgehog physical appearance

This hedgehog has a very appealing appearance; it has an eye-catching look. Its body color is overall brown. Its dorsal surface has thousands of spines, up to 7000. Each of these spines is 2 to 3 cm long. Its whole body is nearly covered with spines excluding the underneath surface. 

European hedgehog size & weight

Male hedgehogs are more extensive than female ones. But, on average, they can achieve a length of 7.8 to 11.8 inches. Interestingly, They are tiny but cute though. They do not weigh more than 3 kilograms. On average, they weigh about 400 grams. But when the autumn is about to come, they eat more and could gain a maximum of 2 kilograms.

10 European hedgehog tortoise facts

  1. A group of hedgehogs is referred to as an “array.”
  2. From insides, hedgehogs spines are hollow and have a series of air chambers.
  3. They are not barbed nor poisonous and thus not harmful to humans.
  4. It is named so because of its peculiar foraging like habits.
  5. These animals are declared as Least concerned.
  6. Their eyesight is weak yet good enough for night-time vision.
  7. Interestingly, these mammals do hibernate as they can’t bear much colder weather.
  8. These animals eat a wide variety of insects and other animals.
  9. Thankfully, they are not facing any threat to their population; otherwise, most of the animals do. 
  10. According to resources, there are about 1 million of these animals existing worldwide. 

European hedgehog tortoise diet

This species of animals are omnivorous in nature, and hence, without any doubt, feeds on invertebrates. Their favorite dishes can be made of slugs, beetles, caterpillars, insects, and earthworms. 

What does a European hedgehog eat? 

You can say this animal is insectivorous, it eats a large variety of insects such as earwigs, centipedes, and flies, and some already mentioned above. Their feeding behavior seems to be opportunistic. Thus they can feed on woodlice, frogs, snakes, toads, slugs, birds, and weirdly, sometimes, it also eats on eggs of birds. 

European hedgehog tortoise lifespan

They are very short-lived species of mammals, usually living up to 2 to 3 years of life. They are not endangered species, but still facing some threats due to human imposed activities such as agricultural change, conversion of land, deforestation, road death, poisoning with garden chemicals, use of pesticides on plants, etc.

European hedgehog 2

European hedgehog population number

As I have said twice, they are not written anywhere as endangered. Thus its population is vast and is spread over a wide range. Due to its widely distributed population, an exact estimate of how exactly this animal is left is not available. But according to researchers, In the UK, up to a million hedgehogs can be found.

European hedgehog tortoise habitat

Hedgehogs are the UK’s spiny animal and can be found anywhere in the world. However, woodland edges, suburban habitats, and hedgerows are the perfect areas to live according to their habitat. Similarly, it is common to farmland, gardens, and parks in the UK. But, it is noticed that areas where farming is extensively done, and thus, with decreased food resources, these animals do not like to stay in such places. 

European hedgehog tortoise breeding

At the age of one year, hedgehogs are ready to mate. Breeding is done after emerging from a state of hibernation, usually in April, and goes on until September. Mating behavior adopted by these animals is polygynandrous, which means It has multiple mates each season, great. Male emerges earlier from hibernation than female, and thus it expands its home range in search of a mating partner.  

European hedgehog baby

After a successful mating is done, the gestation period lasts about 35 days, per year two liters are produced and per liter, four to six young are born. Babies are born without spines that start to appear just after 24 hours of birth. After pasts two to three weeks since their birth, their muscles are strong enough to hold white spines erect. Spines coloration changes from white to dark after 1.5 days. After 4 to 6 weeks of their birth, they are independent to move on their own. 

European hedgehog as a pet

Here is the bad news for pet lovers, if you were looking for this hedgehog to keep as a pet, then It’s really disappointing to say that you can’t keep a hedgehog as a pet. It may be legal to keep them, but they cannot survive once taken away from their native habitat.

European hedgehog 4

Why are European hedgehogs illegal? 

According to recent researches done by expert biologists, and scientists, it is demonstrated that this hedgehog can now carry several diseases with it such as salmonella which is a bacteria. Thus, due to such reasons, they are declared hedgehogs illegal to keep as pets in distinctive locations such as Washington DC, Singapore, and New York City. 

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