Posh Name: Erinaceus europaeus.

Diet: Hedgehogs are carnivores. They eat small creatures like slugs, worms, caterpillas, and frogs, and occasionally even snakes! They are known as ‘the gardener’s friend’ because they eat a lot of garden pests. They also really like cat food, so if you leave a bowl of cat food in your garden you might get a friendly night visitor.

Habitat: Hedgehogs are sturdy little creatures and can survive in lots of different habitats; gardens, parks, urbane places, farmland, hedgerows and forests.

Lifespan: Hedgehogs can live up to six years.

Size/Weight: Head and body, 13-30cm. Tail, 3-5cm. An average sixed hedgehog weighs around 700g.

Home: Hedgehogs live in nests, which they build out of leaves and grass, usually in hedges or other well-hidden places like wood piles. They hibernate during the winter, so it’s important that their nests are safe and hidden.

Mating and Courtship: Hedgehogs are solitary creatures; they like to live alone for most of the year, only coming together to mate. When a male has found a female he likes he walks in circles round her, snuffling, to persuade her to mate with him. After mating hedgehogs prefer to go their separate ways. The females bring up their babies alone.

Babies: Baby hedgehogs are called hoglets. They are born in litters, ranging from one to eleven little hoglets. They are born blind with soft spines under their skin so they don’t hurt their mother on the way out! The spines emerge after a couple of days and their eyesight slowly develops as they grow. The mother hedgehog suckles her hoglets for four to seven weeks. When they’re big enough she takes them out and teaches them how to hunt and forage for food. After ten days practice the hoglets leave home to seek their fortune alone.

Defining Features: Hedgehogs are the only British mammal with spines. They have little wet black noses which they use to hunt for food; they have a very good sense of smell. They make a little snuffling noise as they forage, a big like a miniature pig!

Peculiar Behaviour: Hedgehogs have a strange habit of covering their spines in foamy saliva, especially when they come across a particularly strong smell. No one knows exactly why!

Weaponry: When threatened, hedgehogs crul up into a ball and extend their spikes, protecting their soft bellies and giving any predators a nasty shock! They are almost blind but their sense of smell is very strong and they can run surprisingly fast!

Vulnerability: Hedgehogs are almost blind because they are nocturnal. They can see a little in the dark but rely heavily on their strong sense of hearing and smell. Though their spines will put off any smart dog or cat, they are sadly no match for cars, and because of their poor eyesight hedgehogs have a bad habit of wandering into the road on their night foraging expeditions.

Spiny sir am I sir; don’t come close!
I make look soft sir but these spines I boast
Will give you a prick sir; wear a thimble if you will!
But come no closer, stand still...
And watch from a way off, I swear sir,
it pays off to give me some space sir,
just leave me a trace sir of treats sir, of snails sir,
I’m out on their trails sir till the night comes in.
And though you can’t touch me for fear of my spines sir,
doesn’t mean we can’t be friends sir, doesn’t mean that at all.
We can always have a chat sir, a snuffle and a snout sir,
I’m actually quite loud sir if you’ll only stand still,
and listen to me hunt sir with a rustle and a grunt sir
just watch me as I hunt sir for my next meal.