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Last updated on April 16, 2014 at 17:34 EDT

West European Hedgehog

The West European Hedgehog (Erinaceus europaeus), or simply the European hedgehog, is a hedgehog species found throughout the Palaearctic region. It is not found in the Himalayas and North Africa. It is not commonly found above 60°N in latitude. The only exceptions are Finland, Sweden and the Northwestern-most parts of Russia.

This hedgehog is about 7.87 in (20 cm) long. It lives in woodland, farmland and suburban areas. It is nocturnal, and if alarmed will roll itself into a ball. This protects itself against potential predators with its spines.

The West European Hedgehog may hibernate in the winter. It feeds on slugs, earthworms, beetles and other insects. It sometimes feeds on frogs, small rodents, young birds and birds’ eggs.

This species has become a serious pest in the Western Isles of Scotland.

West European Hedgehog