Erinaceus europaeus occidentalis

Common Name(s)

European hedgehog




European hedgehogs inhabit lowland and coastal pasture, stream and river sides and urban areas. They are less common in dry central and mountainous areas where frosts are more frequent and less food is available. Hedgehogs are mainly insectivorous (e.g., beetles, slugs, snails and ground insects and larvae) but may also eat some plant material. Hedgehogs are also capable swimmers.


European hedgehog are small mammals with a unique spiny coat (spines 20-25mm long), pointed face and long and narrow hind feet.

Similar Species

None in New Zealand

Threat To Plants

Prey on small vertebrates and competition with native insectivores (e.g. kiwi), which may have secondary effects on the vegetation due to changes in ecosystem processes.


Throughout the lowlands of New Zealand, particularly in coastal areas.


Weight: 600-1500g; head to body length: 15-27cm

Year Introduced


Reason For Introduction

Souvenir of the homeland, natural predators of garden pests

Colonisation History

First introduced to New Zealand in Canterbury in 1870 by the regional acclimatisation society. Further release and their natural spread led to their widespread distribution throughout the lowland of New Zealand.