British wildlife recordings
Erinaceus europaeus : Hedgehog - Erinaceidae
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OS Grid Reference(215500,856500)
Hedgehog, Erinaceus europaeus
This is a recording of the call of the hedgehog. The hedgehog is unmistakable in its appearance as the only British mammal covered with spines. It is a common visitor to gardens and parks, where they feed mainly on slugs, worms, beetles, and caterpillars. Unfortunately, it is also a common sight squashed on roads and verges, which is a major cause of mortality. Although the breeding season lasts from April to September, the peak activity is during May and June when hedgehogs can be very noisy. Courtship is a lengthy affair, with the male circling the female trying to persuade her to mate. The female moves in turn, and keeps her flank to the male until she either gives in or moves away. To accompany this dance there is a very loud puffing and snorting, usually by the female, in her attempts to keep the male off. This noise can be so loud it can wake householders and also attracts other male hedgehogs, who may join in and even fight other males for an opportunity to mate. During winter, the hedgehog's main food sources become scarce and it will hibernate in a specially constructed nest of leaves. The nests are often in structures such as bonfire piles, which makes it well worth checking before lighting outdoor autumn fires.