The European Hedgehog - Erinaceus europaeus

The European hedgehog

The European hedgehog ( Erinaceus europaeus) is a little helper in the garden.

A small and nice mammal lives on Italian soil, the common hedgehog or European hedgehog (erinaceus europaeus).
From the characteristic "pungent" aspect, think that its small squat body is covered by more than 5000 quills , they are a real armor that defends it in case of danger.
Its quills change color according to the season; darker in autumn / winter and lighter in spring / summer.

The European hedgehog is a shy animal with nocturnal habits, it does not like the light. If we were to meet a hedgehog during a walk or in the garden, let's try not to bother it by pointing torches at it, let's just observe it while it carries out its constant search for food with its nose that carefully scans the ground, and with its excellent sense of smell, earthworms and larvae do not have escape!

In Italy the common hedgehog is protected by laws on the conservation of the species , therefore we cannot keep it inside the houses (if you are fascinated by these small animals and want to have one, take a look at the article THE AFRICAN RICCIO , a nice and funny pet) , but we can create a comfortable and safe environment for them in our gardens , especially if we have a vegetable garden!

Why encourage the presence of the hedgehog in the garden?

For his diet! In fact, the feeding of the hedgehog makes it a very useful animal in the ecosystem of the garden, going to clean up the ground from unwanted parasites and is a skilled hunter of:

  • mice and is able to destroy their nests.
  • Vipers, being protected by the armor of quills against their bites.
  • Snails, slugs and terricolous larvae which it feeds on.

It also eats earthworms, but it will not cause damage to plant roots because it is unable to dig very deep into the soil.

How to promote the presence of the hedgehog in the garden?

He is not a great climber, so he must have comfortable access routes.
Being a nocturnal animal it will be necessary to provide the hedgehog with shelters near the vegetable garden, where it can rest during the day.
To create the perfect shelter, you can use hedges with low branches, the classic piles of wood or specific houses for hedgehogs .
With a little luck, he will not only be a passing guest but will decide to settle near your garden .
If you are aware of the presence of hedgehogs in the garden, pay particular attention to the use of powdered pesticides, you could poison it.
The main cause of death for our little friend is crushing caused by cars.

Hibernation: how to help curls in this delicate period

The hedgehog hibernates from October to April , we can help it in this delicate phase, in addition to providing shelters we can leave fresh water, dry food for cats and specific food for hedgehogs available near them.
Cow's milk should be avoided as lactose is toxic for him.

If you spot a hedgehog in distress during the winter, contact the competent authorities or a veterinarian so that they can be taken care of in the best possible way.
We remind you that in addition to being forbidden to have a hedgehog, we often do not have the skills to meet his needs when he is debilitated, so the best way to help him is, as mentioned above, to contact a competent figure in the field.

In our Pet department you will find everything you need for hedgehogs .