In a new study, 300 volunteers collected data on almost 700 European hedgehogs across Denmark for research on their lifespan and inbreeding. Photo Credit: DamianKuzdak/Getty Images

Animals Denmark19. March 2023

Europe’s Oldest Hedgehog Is “Really Good News for Conservation”

A recent study set out to better determine the lifespan of hedgehogs, with scientists confirming they have discovered a 16-year-old individual that is now considered to be the world’s oldest European hedgehog.

“I cried tears of joy that I was holding an individual that lived for 16 years. That’s really good news for conservation,” says the lead author of the Wildlife Conservation Research Unit at Oxford University, Sophie Lund Rasmussen.

Named Thorvald, the hedgehog remarkably outlived the average hedgehog’s lifespan, which stands at about two years. Due to human interventions and climate change, hedgehogs have suffered habitat loss and are decreasing in number. Thorvald’s impressive 16-year lifespan is an encouraging sign that affirms – if given the right conditions – hedgehogs can thrive for nearly two decades.

Smithsonian Magazine

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