The whole hedgehog family is called Erinaceidae. They are believed to be related to shrews from the Jurassic period; around 180 million years ago. These are divided into two sub families; the hairy hedgehogs (with four sub species) and the spiny (with fifteen sub species). The earliest known fossils of hedgehogs are around 25 million years old during the Miocene period and have been found in Asia, Europe and Africa.
UK hedgehogs on the whole used to live in forests; many were cleared for farming and hedgerows taken away, so they slowly migrated into towns. During recent decades we have been putting down slug pellets and make our gardens secure with walled borders that a hedgehog cannot dig under. Foxes and Badgers have moved into towns too, both attack and eat hedgehogs. Little wonder they are on the decline.
Hedgehogs normally live for around two to five years in the wild, seven in gardens as they don't normally have badgers to contend with as they get older and slower, but can be extended up to ten years if well kept in a private garden.
They can lose their eyesight with age as humans often do, but the majority of their hunting is by smell (the hedgehogs that is). As long as they can't escape and get used to your garden layout, together with your feeding, they can be quite happy.
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