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What is being done to help hedgehogs?

How are we studying wild hedgehogs in Britain? How can you help?

Filling the gaps of our research knowledge

There is still a lot we do not know about hedgehog habits, and the way they use the natural environment.

This is especially true for the rural landscape, so PTES and BHPS are funding research that will help us to provide much better advice to farmers and landowners about managing land sympathetically for hedgehogs.

Radiotracking research is an important tool for learning about hedgehogs.

Radio-tracking is an important tool for learning about hedgehogs.

To do this, hedgehogs are being radio-tracked at farms in Yorkshire and Norfolk to see how they use these areas. We are looking at hedgerows and field margins to find out more about how hedgehogs rely on these resources.

The research project is being led by WildCRU University of Oxford.

New ways of monitoring hedgehogs: footprint tunnels

A common problem for researchers is finding out whether hedgehogs are actually living at a site. It can also be hard to figure out how many of them are in a particular place.

Researchers at the University of Reading and the University of Nottingham Trent have devised a standardised way of detecting hedgehogs using tracking tunnels baited with hot dogs!

Fragmentation by roads

Hedgehogs are vulnerable to being squashed on busy roads. But, does our road network have any other sinister effects on the hedgehog population? In 2013, BHPS and PTES put funding into a project by University of Reading.

It investigated whether major roads are causing populations of hedgehogs to become genetically isolated, which could cause genetic effects such as inbreeding.

Country road by Mike Cattell

Dealing with problem fencing

Fragmentation is a major issue affecting hedgehogs. This means that fences, walls, new developments and roads are all breaking up green spaces that hedgehogs depend upon.

These barriers are making it harder for hogs to get from one green space to another. Learn more about what we are doing to help.

Managing parks and green space for hedgehogs

PTES and BHPS have a series of courses targeting the commercial sector. They are aimed at people either directly or indirectly involved in the management of large areas of parks and open species in our towns and cities, including:

  • park managers and contractors
  • consultants
  • developers and planners
  • groundskeepers

Regents park - a refuge for hedgehogs in central London

If you know your local park manager or groundskeeper, why not direct them onto one of our courses or our free land management guide?

New ways of monitoring hedgehogs: slugs

Hedgehogs are hard to find, but slugs are easy. Wouldn’t it be great if you could tell whether hedgehogs were present in an area by looking at the local slugs? Sound far-fetched? Actually, both slugs and hedgehogs share a set of common parasites so a research team from University of Bristol and Gower Bird Hospital is being funded to develop this way of researching. Slimy work!

Researcher collecting slugs

What can I do?