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How many hedgehogs are left?

Counting hedgehogs is difficult

In the 1950s it was estimated there were 36.5 million hedgehogs in Britain, but this was based on limited data and was probably an overestimate.

A more recent estimate in 1995, of 1,550,000 in Great Britain (England 1,100,000, Scotland 310,000, Wales 140,000), is more reliable.  There is now evidence that numbers have been declining since then.

State of Britain's Hedgehogs 2015

State of Britain’s Hedgehogs 2015

However, there is still no reliable method for estimating numbers of hedgehogs in an area.

Long-running mammal surveys are very important to monitor population trends.  Surveys by the British Trust for Ornithology, RSPB and PTES’ Mammals on Roads and Living with Mammals surveys all indicate downward trends in hedgehog populations.

We appear to have lost over half our hedgehogs from our countryside since the millennium alone and have lost a third from our towns and cities. However, this decline in urban areas does appear to be slowing. 

Further results are outlined in the most recent edition of the State of Britain’s Hedgehogs report for 2018.

Hedgehog distribution

Hedgehogs are declining rapidly and hence it is important to only consider fairly recent records when inspecting the distribution of hedgehogs in the UK. The map below demonstrates how widely distributed they still are, with almost comprehensive coverage across England. This distribution masks the ongoing declines that our long-running mammal surveys are detecting.

How do I know if there are hedgehogs in my area?