With adorable cone-shaped faces, stubby legs, and bodies covered by sharp quills, hedgehogs are some of the most popular and familiar wildlife in the UK. We are proud to have created a safe haven for hedgehogs at our Nature Reserves!
In the 1950s, there were over 30 million hedgehogs in the UK. Today, there are less than a million in England, Wales and Scotland. As they can live in a broad range of habitats, including both rural and urban locations, they live in most parts of Scotland.
Given our commitment to wildlife, and since hedgehogs are under threat of extinction, we wanted to compile a comprehensive guide to hedgehogs to help people get to know these curious animals a little bit better.
The Ultimate Guide to Hedgehogs
If you have ever wondered what is the difference between the West European and the African Pygmy hedgehog, how long do hedgehogs live, where do they live, what do they eat, when do they hibernate, and more, check out The Ultimate Guide to Hedgehogs.
Hedgehogs in Scotland
If you want to know more about the hedgehog population in Scotland specifically, including the tragic South Uist Hedgehog Cull, don’t miss the “Are Hedgehogs Rare in Scotland” section.
When hedgehogs are born, their spines are actually soft – but they grow hard, stiff and sharp soon after birth.
When hibernating, from approximately November to March, their heart rate drops from 190 to 20 beats per minute.
When threatened, hedgehogs curl into a ball, tucking in their heads, tail and legs, and use their spines as a defence.
Conservation and Protection of Hedgehogs
Since the year 2000, the UK population of hedgehogs has halved. This decline is mostly due to loss of habitat to urban sprawl and backyard desertification, but hedgehogs also suffer from the increasing use of chemicals and pesticides in gardens, which not only may poison the hedgehogs themselves, but also kills off their natural diet of worms and slugs.
How are we supporting hedgehog conservation?
Hedgehogs are often seen as indicator species for the health of a particular ecosystem, mostly because they feed on soil invertebrates and therefore their numbers are representative of the quality of the environment.
Our main efforts to support hedgehog protection and conservation include:
The ongoing maintenance of our Hedgehog Sanctuary, which provides a safe home to hedgehogs unsuitable for release
Maintaining the Hedgehog Hospital, with the required power, food and medicine to rehabilitate sick hedgehogs
Providing hedgehog homes, which offer much-needed shelter to our hedgehogs
The Highland Titles Hedgehog Sanctuary & Forever Home
In September 2018, Highland Titles created one of the largest hedgehog sanctuaries in Scotland. This wonderful enclosure in the Nature Reserve has two main objectives: to rehabilitate and release sick hedgehogs that can (and should) go back into the wild, as well as to be a safe home to those that are permanently disabled and, therefore, unsuitable for release.
The Highland Titles Hedgehog Hospital
Along with the enclosure, we also have a fully-equipped Hedgehog Hospital and ancillary facility. This means we are able to do the whole rescue and rewilding process ourselves, as well as care for injuries and illnesses locally, without having to rely on external parties.
Featured Hedgehog Content
Our Blog features a variety of articles that mention our hedgehog conservation work. Explore relevant hedgehog-related content and read the latest hedgehog news from the Reserve!