Handling of Hedgehogs
7th September 2017 at 10:39 am #7613
I have recently been on various web sites, facebook etc, and noticed the increase in people actually picking up and handling hedgehogs. Other media outlets show them being handled and fed during the daytime. The increasing number of pet hedgehogs, pigmy etc, being kept in our houses seems also disturbing. This is surely not only distressing to us but to the hedgehogs concerned. It is surely not what nature intended. If they are in danger or distress etc, yes try to help, or call someone in who is an expert. Scientifically qualified people need to study and examine them for the sake of their survival. It is not Joe Public’s place to interfere with them during their normal daily life and routine. We watch them from afar and video them, but would never dream to handle or disturb them. All the web sites and media outlets that show them out of their normal habitat cannot be good for the survival of the species. Apologies if I sound like Darwin. What do other people think on this subject?12th September 2017 at 1:09 pm #7700
Excluding hogs at rescues, which, out of necessity need handling and feeding, including during the day time, I agree with you. I have been becoming more concerned for some time about the excessive amount of handling of wild hedgehogs which we hear about – including on this Forum. Humans are predators. Handling hedgehogs (or for that matter, any wild animal) could lead to them becoming less likely to defend themselves appropriately, leaving them more open to predation by foxes and badgers (I believe that is the reason that a lot of ‘hedgehog rescues’ won’t release hogs back into areas where badgers are present), as well as attacks by dogs – which can be fatal. Also, not all humans love hedgehogs.
In his book ‘Hedgehogs’ Pat Morris says in relation to a study of over-wintered youngsters and in relation to them being predated by badgers, but this could equally apply to foxes:
‘ …. The risk might have been increased because our animals were accustomed to being caught and handled. They might have been insufficiently wary of ‘attack’ and several barely bothered to roll up when they were caught for weighing each night. This would be dangerously casual behaviour when accosted by a badger. ….’
This was a scientific study, hence the need for weighing, but in the normal course of events, it should not be necessary. I don’t believe there is any need for members of the general public to keep catching wild hogs for any reason. The only time this is necessary is if an animal is obviously in trouble or unwell, or if there are still very small hoglets around, when the weather becomes very cold (who could possibly not survive hibernation without our help). I believe, before any interaction with a wild animal, we should ask ourselves ‘is this for the benefit of the animal and/or the species in general?’ If the answer is no then the interaction is not justified.
Hedgehogs are :
“ …. protected from being killed or taken by certain methods under Section 11(1) of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981…..”
This includes ‘…. artificial light, mirror or other dazzling device …. ‘
‘taking’ is described as things ‘such as trapping or handling’
A Licence is required for research.
scroll down to:
Hedgehog Research – why do we do it and what are the rules?
Whilst I am sure most people are trying to help hedgehogs, people who are repeatedly handling wild hedgehogs (without a licence) may not be doing the hogs or hedgehogs in general any favours and in some instances, possibly even breaking the law which is there to protect the hogs.
Wild hedgehogs are not pets. They are wild animals and should be allowed to remain wild animals.13th September 2017 at 2:56 pm #7712
Glad you are in agreement, on this issue, with me. I hate cruelty to
animals of any kind, and in my opinion this is another form of cruelty, although with probably good intentions mean’t.
My partner’s mobile has facebook on it, with various clubs such as
Wildlife Gardens Club. People send in all sorts of pictures of plants
and animals etc. There is one person in particular, no names mentioned.
He likes to rave on about HIS hedgehogs and how big and how many he
has. I would like to think they are everybody’s. He handles them quite
often and even checks them for ticks, removes the ticks, then boils the
ticks in a tick box. He also remarks on particular hedgehogs that like having
their stomachs rubbed. I think this is over familiarization with the animal
and could be leading it to a misfortune. It will start to treat all humans the
same, and as you stated “not all humans love hedgehogs”. Look at recent
cases of animals being shot at with crossbows or pellets from guns.
I do hope this fellow changes his ways and learns to observe them from
afar. We enjoy watching the hedgies that come to our garden, but by viewing
them on video. Have noticed that the hedgies are now out a lot earlier and
have caught me napping by waiting for the food to be put out. Last night
one hedgie was there at 1945. We are still unable to actually tally how many
are visiting us? I am still reading the book, not far from the end now.
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