When did you last see a hedgehog?

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The once familiar hedgehog has declined dramatically over the past few decades, and surprisingly for such a well-loved creature, very little is known about why the hedgehog is in crisis.  This makes it difficult to target conservation efforts to where they will be most effective.  It is presumed that road accidents, and the loss of suitable, well-connected habitat might be important, yet in some areas, the hedgehog still seems to be thriving.  It is not known whether this is because they are being given supplementary food in people’s gardens.

Given the above information, the Mammal Society are appealing for members of the public to help with our Big Hedgehog Watch Project.  They want to know how long it is since people last saw a hedgehog; whether any were spotted in their garden or neighbourhood last year; and whether people feed their prickly visitors.  Last year, almost 4,000 people responded in just 4 weeks.  The survey revealed that:

  • 87% of people that reported sightings saw them in their garden;
  • Almost 70% of the people that saw hedgehogs in their gardens fed them
  • Almost 70% of the people that fed them saw the hedgehogs more than five times
It is hoped that even more people will help this year to help track the changes in hedgehog populations.

The survey will be open until 1st December 2017.

Fiona Mathews, Chair of the Mammal Society and Professor of Environmental Biology at the University of Sussex says “Hedgehogs sadly, are experiencing an unprecedented decline throughout the UK and we are still not sure of the cause. We are therefore appealing for people to fill in this survey and let us know of their last hedgehog sighting, dead or alive.  Even if it more than a year since you saw one, please tell us because it helps us to identify where hedgehogs are disappearing”.

The online survey is available on the Mammal Society website and takes just a few minutes to complete. All completed surveys will go towards the conservation of one of our most loved species. The public can also help hedgehogs by contributing to the Mammal Society’s hedgehog appeal. To donate or to fill in the survey, visit www.mammal.org.uk/science-research/surveys

For further information and imagery please contact:
Rina Quinlan
Information Officer
Mammal Society
02380 010981