Mammals in the Forest - Hedgehog - The Heart of England Forest
Hedgehog numbers continue to decline in the UK, but they can find a welcome sanctuary here in the Forest. We provide an environment in which they can thrive, and there is a lot you can do in your gardens too.
Close up of hedgehog face on in the Forest

Photo credit: Peter Preece

  • Scientific Name: Erinaceus europaeus
  • Description: Small mammal, with a rounded body, covered in pale spines. The underside and face are also a pale colour and covered in fur
  • Size: Up to 30 cm in length, and up to 1.2 kg in weight.
  • Preferred habitats: Hedges, grassland, domestic gardens
  • Diet: Slugs, beetles, caterpillars, birds eggs and earthworms
  • Lifespan: 2 – 5 years


Peak breeding season is May to June, but breeding can occur from April to September. Typical litters are often 4 – 5 hoglets in size, however usually only 2 – 3 survive to adulthood.

Where do they live in the Forest?

The hedgerows in the Forest provide food, nesting places in the summer, and a sheltered spot to hibernate from November to mid-March.

Natural predators

Owls, foxes and badgers.

Spotting tips

Most likely spotted in the evenings after dusk between April and October, as they hibernate during the winter.

Not to be confused with

There is very little in the UK that looks like our prickly friends!

Conservation status

Protected in the UK under the Wildlife and Countryside Act, 1981. Hedgehogs are still listed as a priority species on the UK Biodiversity Action Plan.

How you can help

Team up with your neighbours and create a hedgehog highway between your gardens by creating gaps in your fences. This can help to increase access to food and suitable shelter for hedgehogs. Find out how to create a haven for hedgehogs.

The Heart of England Forest