Hawks are predatory birds, whose diet consists mostly of small mammals, lizards, snakes, frogs, and birds. Well, since hedgehogs are small mammals, it’s natural to wonder: do hawks eat hedgehogs?
Generally, Hawks will eat any animal they can catch. If it moves and it’s small enough to fit in a hawk’s mouth, the hawk will probably try to eat it, which may include hedgehogs.
With that said, hawks definitely prefer easy meals, and will typically go after smaller mammals, birds, and invertebrates that are less likely to put up a fight.
Hedgehogs, on the other hand, come with natural defenses — such as a coat of prickly, porcupine-like quills, that when balled up, can hurt a predator when under attack.
Therefore, it’s safe to say that a hedgehog may not be a hawk’s preferred meal, even if they will take a chance on them when the opportunity arises.
Nevertheless, let’s examine different insights regarding a hawk’s likelihood of eating hedgehogs, and which species of hawks are more likely to make a meal out of them!
Do Hawks Hunt Hedgehogs?
As stated above, hawks are opportunistic predators and will hunt any animal they can catch.
However, whether a hawk specifically targets hedgehogs as prey depends on several factors, such as the location and availability of food sources.
For instance, hawks in Montana may hunt hedgehogs regularly, while in other areas they may ignore them completely.
Types Of Hedgehogs
Just as hawks are all over the world, there are also many different types of hedgehogs globally. Here are a few of the most common:
African Pygmy Hedgehogs
The African pygmy hedgehog is the most common type of pet hedgehog. These hedgehogs are native to sub-Saharan Africa and were introduced to Europe and North America in the late 20th century.
Usually, African pygmy hedgehogs weigh between 0.75- 1 pound.
These hedgehogs are nocturnal and do not hibernate, and usually live for four to six years in captivity. That said, some have been known to live for up to ten years.
The European hedgehog (Erinaceus europaeus) is the second most common type of hedgehog. These little critters are native to Europe, Asia, and Africa, and usually weigh between two and four pounds.
These are the least common type of hedgehogs. Desert hedgehogs (Paraechinus aethiopicus) are native to the deserts of northern Africa and the Middle East, usually weighing between one and two pounds.
Long-eared hedgehogs (Hemiechinus auritus) are native to the deserts of northern Africa and the Middle East and are considered ‘desert hedgehogs.’
Indian hedgehogs are native to the Indian subcontinent and typically weigh between one and two pounds.
This type of hedgehog is found in the Horn of Africa. Somalis typically weigh between one and two pounds and have shorter quills than other types of hedgehogs. As well, they lack the ability to roll into a ball.
The Chinese hedgehog is native to China and Mongolia and is the largest type of hedgehog variety.
What Types Of Hawk Eats Hedgehogs?
Red-tailed hawks are the most common type of hawk that preys on hedgehogs. However, there are other varieties of this bird species that enjoy munching on these little creatures:
Rough-legged hawks (Buteo lagopus) are medium-sized flying predators that vary in the Arctic locales of North America, Europe, and Asia. These birds of prey relocate south for the colder time of year, for certain people going similar to South America.
The Rough-legged falcon is a sort of bird of prey that is tracked down in open regions, like fields and knolls, and is known to go after little creatures like hedgehogs.
Ferruginous hawks are large birds of prey that breed in open areas across North America. These hawks are most commonly found in the western United States but can also be found in parts of Canada and Mexico.
Ferruginous hawks primarily prey on rodents, such as rabbits and ground squirrels. However, these hawks will also eat smaller prey items, such as lizards and snakes, in addition to hedgehogs.
Cooper’s hawks (Accipiter cooperii) are medium-sized flying predators that live in timberlands across North America. These falcons chase little creatures, like squirrels, mice, and hares, and have been known to go after hedgehogs.
Sharp-shinned hawks are small birds of prey that breed in forests across North America. These hawks hunt small animals, such as squirrels, mice, and songbirds, and in some cases have been known to prey on hedgehogs.
Can Hawks Pick Up Hedgehogs?
Hawks use their sharp talons to attack and carry their prey, but they can’t carry anything larger than their own weight. Therefore, since most hedgehogs weigh less than one pound, they are easy prey for these falcons.
Do Hawks Eat Dead Hedgehogs?
Hawks prefer live prey, but they are also scavengers, so they will eat dead animals if given the opportunity. Therefore, a hawk will eat dead hedgehogs if it comes across them.
So, do hawks eat hedgehogs? Well, they often do! However, whether a hawk decides to target a hedgehog as a source of food largely depends on the other animals available. If another prey like frogs or a small bird is close by, hawks are more likely to snatch those creatures and avoid getting spiked by hedgehog quills!