Hedgehogs are easily recognisable being small and brown with yellow tipped spines covering their back, which protect them from many predators. Each Hedgehog on average has around 7000 spines which can be between 2-3 cm in length. The Hedgehog is abundant throughout its range and a popular visitor to gardens in the UK. It is mainly nocturnal when it forages for worms, slugs, earwigs, fallen fruits, eggs and surprisingly, it will eat young grass snakes and adders as they are somewhat immune to snake venom.
It usually hibernates in winter which is followed by the breeding season throughout April to September. Both male and female Hedgehogs will have multiple partners each season. Mothers will often have two litters a year of between 4 to 6 hoglets and will raise her young alone. Hoglets born towards the end of the year after will unfortunately not be big or strong enough to survive the first winter.
Latin name - Erinaceus europaeus
Class - Mammalia
Order - Eulipotyphla
Family - Erinaceidae
IUCN Status - Least concern
Habitat - Thrives in man-made habitats such as gardens, orchards, vineyards and woodlands
Distribution - Endemic to Europe including Russia
3 - 4 years in the wild. 10 years in captivity
Car collisions, habitat loss and loss of prey.
Hedgehog babies called hoglets are born naked and blind. But within 48 hours, a layer of fine white prickles emerge through the skin to protect them.
Our resident hedgehogs are all rescues who cannot return to the wild for a variety of health problems, frequently eyesight trauma.
At present we have our resident females, Hermione and Hattie, and our male, David. Each hedgehog can be seen in separate owl aviaries by our gift shop.
Each year between us and our sister park, Battersea Park Children's Zoo, we captive breed our Hedgehogs so that the hoglets can then go for wild release to boost wild population numbers as they continue to rapidly decline!
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