Species: Western Hedgehog (Erinaceus europaeus)

Family: Hedgehogs and Moonrats (ERINACEIDAE)

Category: Mammals

Location: NW

A. Mammals

More extensive information on mammals can be found in a separate blog post.

B. Hedgehogs and Moonrats (ERINACEIDAE)

The Eurasian Hedgehogs are allied with the South East Asian Moonrats, and both groups have long snouts, short tails, and large eyes and ears. Most have 5 toes on each foot.

C. Western Hedgehog (Erinaceus europaeus)

The hedgehog, the county symbol of Herefordshire, is a predominantly nocturnal carnivore, terrestrial in woodland and grassland. It makes grunting and snuffling noises while foraging, and rolls into a ball if disturbed. Typically, a hedgehog will cover a large distance while foraging, so it is important to ensure that they can move easily from one garden to the next, by leaving or creating gaps in fencing. It makes a nest of dry leaves for hibernation (October – April) and rearing of young, usually under dense shrubbery such as bramble. On the footprint the claw marks are continuous with the five toe pads, although the thumb pad is rarely seen. Both palm pad and heel pads are visible. The droppings are long, shiny, black, and crinkly, smelling like linseed oil.

Hedgehogs were once believed to suck milk from cows during the night, whereas they are actually lactose intolerant, and were believed to be egg thieves. In 1566 a threepenny bounty was placed on the heads of hedgehogs by the English Parliament because of the belief they were witches in disguise. They have been said to collect apples and mushrooms on their spines to transport them to a secret store for the Winter, when in reality they use their bodily fat deposits to survive until Spring. Little Grey Rabbit’s friend Fuzzypeg is of course a hedgehog.

Images

Western Hedgehog