European hedgehog sheltering in tree bark, Sussex, England
© Jules Cox/Minden Picture
This spot's taken. European hedgehog
Brown, round, tiny, and spiny—say hello to the European hedgehog. Our image was taken in Sussex, England, but you'll find these prickly creatures in gardens, parks, and woodland throughout Europe. Mostly nocturnal, they are welcomed by gardeners as they snack on snails and slugs. With leaves turning gold and the air getting chilly, our homepage hedgehog is all set to gain some weight for the winter.
Hedgehogs cozy up in their nests of logs and leaves and sleep away the winter blues. They slow down their heartbeat to conserve energy, helping them to survive on fat reserves until spring. Hedgehogs depend on their spines for defense against predators like foxes, badgers, and birds of prey. There are no native hedgehogs living in North America, but 17 species can be found across Europe, Asia, Africa, and New Zealand, snoozing the day away beneath bushes, leaves, and rocks and snuffling around by night.