Order: Insectivora Family: Erinaceida
Hedgehog Erinaceus europaeus

Hedgehogs, order Insectivora comprises six families, 60 genera and 345 species of small, ground-dwelling mammals that feed on invertebrates.

The hedgehog Erinaceus europaeus native to Western Europe, was introduced into New Zealand (NZ) in 1870.

E .europaeus, a grey-brown nocturnal insectivore, has its back and sides entirely covered with spines, a pointed face, powerful forefeet and long narrow hind feet. A powerful dorsal muscle enables the hedgehog to roll itself into a prickly ball, this position it is able to maintain for months during hibernation.

Adult body size is about 25 cms nose to tail, weighs 620 to 700 grams for most of the year, falling to 540 to 650 grams in winter. Life expectancy in the wild is 3 to 4 years.

Skeleton. The skull is robust and box-like with well developed zygomatic arches. Compared with other mammals, the hedgehog’s skeleton is unspecialized. One noticeable difference is the shortness of the neck, making it easier for the hedgehog to roll itself up into a spiky ball at first sign of danger.

Teeth: Canines are short and underdeveloped. Some NZ hedgehogs exhibit variability that deviates from the given dental formula. This variability is genetic in origin.