What is being done to help hedgehogs?
Filling the gaps of our knowledge
Perhaps surprisingly, there is still a good deal that we do not know about hedgehogs habits, and specifically the way that they use their 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.
To do this, hedgehogs are being radiotracked at different farms in Yorkshire and Norfolk to see how they use these areas. Specifically we are looking at hedgerows and field margins and attempting to establish the importance of these resources for sustainable populations of hedgehogs. The research project is being led by WildCRU University of Oxford.
New ways of monitoring hedgehogs: footprint tunnels
A persistent problem with hedgehogs has been the difficulties associated with assessing whether a particular site has hedgehogs present, and getting an estimate of the abundance of animals at that site. Researchers at the University of Reading and the University of Nottingham Trent have recently devised a standardised way of detecting hedgehogs using tracking tunnels baited with hot dogs!
Fragmentation by roads
Our hedgehog is famously vulnerable to being squashed on our busy roads. But, does our road network have any more sinister effects on the hedgehog population? In 2013, BHPS and PTES put funding into a project by University of Reading to investigate whether major roads are causing populations of hedgehogs to become genetically isolated – and potentially causing genetic effects such as inbreeding.
Dealing with problem fencing
Managing parks and green space for hedgehogs
PTES and BHPS have recently launched a series of courses specifically targeting the commercial sector – i.e. those people either directly or indirectly involved in the management of large areas of parks and open species in our towns and cities.
- park managers and contractors
- developers and planners
If you know your local park manager or groundskeeper, why not direct them onto one of our courses?
New ways of monitoring hedgehogs: slugs
Hedgehogs are hard to find, slugs are easy, so 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 try and develop this as a methodology. Slimy work!