Hedgehogs living in the wild can be found in different habitats. From forests to deserts, these prickly pincushions are spread depending on their species. You can even find them roaming the streets in some urban areas.
Hedgehogs live mostly in Africa, Asia, Europe, and New Zealand. They mainly feed on insects and vegetation. But, what eats hedgehogs?
Feeding on hedgehogs isn’t common, but it’s wide-ranged. Animals that eat hedgehogs include other mammals, birds, and even reptiles.
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What Eats Hedgehogs?
Depending on where they live there are predators that hunt hedgehogs as food. You may notice, though, that some of the hedgehog eaters are nocturnal animals.
For example, some of their most prominent predators are badgers and owls. This may be attributed to the fact that hedgehogs themselves tend to exhibit nocturnal traits.
That’s not to say that all hedgehog hunters are nocturnal. Hedgehogs also fall prey to some very bizarre predators that you may not expect.
Badgers are currently one of the biggest hedgehog predators. Though this hasn’t always been the case. For centuries badgers and hedgehogs have been living together peacefully.
However, with climate change, deforestation, and changes in their living habitats, badgers have started to hunt hedgehogs for food.
This is partly due to the fact that now hedgehogs have fewer places where they can hide. It’s also the case because hedgehogs and badgers inhabit the same living conditions.
Some attribute the declining number of hedgehogs to this change in badgers behavior. However, this hasn’t been thoroughly investigated to say for sure.
Also, badgers are one of the very few animals that are strong enough to uncurl a hedgehog in defensive mode. They can also handle the hedgehog’s spikes.
Prior to the changing condition to their habitat, badgers rarely fed on hedgehogs. They would only do so in instances where they can’t find anything else to eat, or if they were super hungry!
Foxes are the most popular canine known for eating hedgehogs.
Being one of the lazier canine breeds, though, they won’t actually hunt a hedgehog. Even if they do, the hedgehog’s spiny skin is enough to ward it off.
However, they’re still considered hedgehog eaters. This is largely due to the fact they feed on animals that are already dying, especially in urban areas where hedgehogs roam around and sometimes become roadkill, making them easy prey.
Owls are another threat to Hedgehogs. They can fly quietly and this gives them the benefit of being able to sneak up on the hedgehog.
Without any sound to alert the hedgehog, it doesn’t get the opportunity to take its defensive position and so falls prey to the owl.
Large owls are the most commonly known for eating hedgehogs, specifically the Euroasian owl.
Hawks are also fans of eating hedgehogs. They employ similar tactics as the owl when hunting a hedgehog.
For larger sized birds like Hawks, hunting a hedgehog is easy. This is primarily because hedgehog is lightweight and the hawk is very fast, so the hedgehog doesn’t have enough time to escape.
Once the hawk has a hedgehog in its grips, the spikes aren’t any trouble to tackle.
Funnily enough, the poison snakes produce to eat doesn’t affect hedgehogs. However, this doesn’t stop these slithering reptiles.
Hedgehogs, especially younger, ones are still susceptible to the snake’s other attack methods. The snake can still devour a baby hedgehog by suffocating it then swallowing it whole. Adult hedgehogs are usually safe.
The Indian mongooses are known for their passion for fighting and eating poisonous snakes. Just to paint a picture, they eat cobras!
It’s no surprise then that these feisty little creatures find a way around the hedgehog’s spiky shield. Their preferred attack method is similar to how you’d crack open an egg.
They throw the hedgehog against a hard surface, forcing it to unfurl so it can attack its soft belly.
And though adult hedgehogs are sometimes able to defend themselves, the younger ones usually fall prey to these predators.
Weasels consider hedgehogs as a main source of food. And though small in size, they’re actually one of the most successful hedgehog predators.
They’ve mastered the ability to only eat the hedgehog’s soft parts while avoiding their spikey bits.
Ferrets are another known predator that consider hedgehogs a primary food source.
These aggressive hunters and natural carnivores are unstoppable. They can use their sharp teeth to break through anything. And even though adult hedgehogs may survive a ferret attack, younger ones rarely do.
It’s a dog-eat-dog world. Or in that case, hedgehog eats hedgehog. Mama hedgehog sometimes has to protect her babies from male hedgehog predators that want to eat them.
And it’s not just the males. On the other hand, a female hedgehog may also eat her children. This happens if she gets stressed by male hedgehogs while nursing.
Furthermore, a female hedgehog may also eat her babies, as protection, if she feels they’re in danger.
Lastly, we have humans.
Though not the most common hedgehog predator, humans did make it on our list.
Hedgehogs were a delicacy in 16th-century France, and you can even find some websites detailing how to cook one!
Nowadays, hedgehogs are mostly consumed by gypsies.
Hedgehogs living in the wild have a number of natural predators. However, the list isn’t long. And thanks to their defensive mechanism, adult hedgehogs can ward off most of those who try to prey on them.
However, the younger ones aren’t usually that successful and fall prey to most of the predators.
Most common domesticated pets have no interest in eating your pet hedgehog. Cats, for instance, may act curious around hedgehogs, but rarely will they attack them.
On the other hand, dogs may attack a hedgehog but are unlikely to actually eat it. Still, need more reassurance? Here are some tips to keep both your pets and the hedgehogs safe.