Do Foxes Eat Hedgehogs? Ultimate Guide

With a body covered with sharp spines, it’s hard to imagine that anything would attempt to eat a hedgehog.

However, every animal has its own predators and, no matter how much of a defense system they’ve evolved over time, no creature is truly 100% safe out in the wild. 

But do foxes eat hedgehogs? They are omnivorous animals after all, so they need meat to survive. Surely those prickly spines get in the way, though?

And does their small size even make them worth eating? Let’s find out!

Why Do Foxes Eat Hedgehogs?

Let’s answer the main question, first of all. Do foxes eat hedgehogs? Yes, they do. However, it’s likely that they only make up a very small portion of their diet compared to other animals such as ducks or mice and rats. 

Now, let’s look at some of the reasons why foxes eat hedgehogs. Firstly, they are a source of meat which is something that foxes need to stay strong and healthy. 

They also share a similar habitat, so it would only make sense that they’d cross paths at some point in their lives. This makes them a fairly easy target since the fox doesn’t have to venture too far from their den to find a source of food.

Finally, just like foxes, hedgehogs are nocturnal. Since they are awake at the same time, it’s much easier for a fox to find a hedgehog snuffling around in the dark. 

How Do Foxes Eat Hedgehogs?

One thing that hedgehogs have on their side is their built-in defense system. Their bodies are covered in sharp spikes and when a hedgehog feels threatened it will roll into a ball to protect its vulnerable underside.

Essentially, it becomes a small ball that is covered in spines. Think of it like a sea urchin, only on land. 

But how do foxes manage to get through this seemingly impenetrable fortress of spikes? Well, in actual fact, most of the time they don’t manage to at all.

A fox is quite unlikely to be able to unroll a curled up hedgehog and expose its underside. 

Instead, the majority of hedgehogs that foxes eat are already dead, having been killed by a more skillful predator or dying of natural causes.

Foxes are known for their scavenging tendencies and they will happily feast on anything that’s been left behind by a larger predator, including deer. In fact, foxes have figured out that scavenging is easier, as it helps them conserve more energy. 

This doesn’t mean that it’s impossible for a fox to kill a hedgehog if it really wants to though, and there are a couple of ways they can do it.

First of all, they’ll be more likely to go for a juvenile hedgehog rather than an adult. The reason for this is because juvenile hedgehogs have softer spine and weaker curling muscles, making them much easier to uncurl. 

Another way that a fox may kill a hedgehog is by disabling it. If a hedgehog decides to run away rather than curl up, there’s a strong chance that the fox could grab the hedgehog by a leg.

This stops it from being able to curl up and defend itself. 

What Other Animals Eat Hedgehogs?

While foxes are capable of killing hedgehogs, they certainly aren’t their number one predator. That accolade belongs to the badger.

Badgers have long, strong, sharp claws that can easily uncurl a hedgehog. This exposes their vulnerable underside and allows the badger to deliver a fatal bite. 

Tawny owls and eagles have also been known to swoop down and snatch a hedgehog in their grasp, although this isn’t very common. 

How To Protect Hedgehogs Visiting Your Garden

If you have hedgehogs visiting your garden and you’re concerned about their safety, the best thing you can do is buy a hedgehog house.

This will give them somewhere to escape to if they feel threatened. They’ll also use it as a place to hibernate over winter and raise their young. 

The best hedgehog houses feature baffle guards. These create a partition between the door and the main chamber, making it impossible for a fox, badger, or any other predator to reach around and pull a hedgehog out. 

Another way that you can keep hedgehogs safe is by making sure you’ve got good, strong fencing around the perimeter of your garden.

While foxes can climb trees and scale fences if they really want to, putting an obstacle in the way will deter them. Just make sure you’ve cut a small hole in the bottom to let your neighborhood hedgehogs pass through when they need to. 


While foxes do eat hedgehogs, there are much easier prey for them to hunt and, for the most part, they won’t bother unless the hedgehog is young and vulnerable.

If you ever do see a fox eating a hedgehog, there’s quite a high chance that it was already dead and it has been scavenged by the fox. 

Chad Fox

Chad Fox is an author and researcher dedicated to bringing reliable information about foxes to the public. He supports animal sanctuary awareness.

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