British Hedgehogs

 

British hedgehogs. The end. Actually, it nearly IS the end for these little balls of cuteness. I have never actually seen a hedgehog but I know they exist. Same with unicorns. For real. Anyway, hedgehog numbers are in decline here in the UK in a major way.  In 2011 The British Preservation Society and The People’s Trust published a report called “The State of British Hedgehogs” where they examined flamingos. I kid. Of course they surveyed the current hedgehog population. The report indicated that in 2011 there had been a 25% decline of hedgehog numbers over the previous 10 years. In 2013 there was a 37% decline.

What is happening and why? Well, there are a couple of reasons and while I am an expert in many things, the plight of hedgehogs is not among them. But this is what I know:

  • Busy roads kill loads of hedgehogs every year. They are not exactly fast moving and they are so tiny that they may be easy to spot.
  • Hedgehogs and badgers compete for food (worms and insects), it appears as though the badgers are getting to the food source first.
  • Hedgehogs need a lot of land to thrive-approximately 90 hectacres. 90 hectacres is the equivalent to a 18 hole golf course plus the land needs to be unfragmented. That kind of land is often a luxury here and developers choose to build houses and shopping malls instead of saving it for these little guys.

There are more reasons to be sure, but have only listed a few. In short, their decline is mostly attributed to the reduction of hedgerows (mixed hedge of shrubs and trees-typically bordering a road or a field) and the intensification of agricultural  landscapes.

Hedgehogs are super cute and so tiny that they could easily fit in the palm of your hand. Some people in England will feed them cat food which they heartily eat-but really, they prefer insects like beetles, earthworms and slugs. But if you come across a hedgehog in England (or any where else) be kind to them, whisper a reassuring word and maybe move them out of harm’s way. They might eat what you give them, they will even drink cow’s milk, although it is not good for them-as hedgehogs are lactose intolerant. Also, hedgehogs have fleas but these fleas are species specific and can’t live on cats, dogs or humans.

If you want to know more there is a downloadable hedgehog guide and booklet as well as some advice sheets on http://www.wildaboutgardens.co.uk.  Also, http://www.wildlifetrust.org is pretty informative as well. Check it out. You are welcome.

Cheers

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10 comments

  1. Laura (PA Pict) · March 19, 2016

    I hope you do see a hedgehog some time. They are adorable. My Grandad took in an injured one one year and we all nursed him back to health. We gathered worms and slugs to feed him and we even dried out leaves in front of the fire so that he could have a cosy nest for sleeping. We loved it. Because hedgehogs tend to follow the same paths every year, once he was released back into the wild we would still encounter him quite often – and knew it was him because of his gimpy leg.

    • samdfb1 · March 19, 2016

      How sweet! I hope to see one too very soon. I think badgers also follow the same path as well, how funny these animals are-creatures of habit I suppose.

      • Laura (PA Pict) · March 19, 2016

        I’ve rarely seen a live badger.

      • samdfb1 · March 19, 2016

        Don’t think I have seen a live one either. Yikes.

  2. waternymph88 · March 19, 2016

    It’s not the end! In Suffolk where my best friend lives there are so many that they’ve got a hedgehog officer in Ipswich. Also, the badger cull has helped them (less competition for food).

    Really, all they need are hedges or, failing that, holes in fences to get through the gardens…xxx

    • samdfb1 · March 19, 2016

      Oh wow. How cool. Thanks for the Intel! Xxx

  3. samdfb1 · November 4

    Reblogged this on Life in London.

  4. Michaela · November 5

    These little guys are so adorable. I hope they can be saved!

    • samdfb1 · November 5

      They are! Tonight is bonfire night-loads of people will be burning bonfires…these guys like to hide among the sticks which make up a bonfire. Here in the UK-we’ve been told to check our bonfires before lighting-so we dont accidentally burn these little guys.

      • Michaela · November 5

        Oh no poor little things! I hope everyone checks.

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