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National Hedgehog Week

Home Forums Champions’ chat National Hedgehog Week

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  • #6189

    This is National Hedgehog week.

    No-one is saying that h’hogs have one natural enemy.

    The natural enemy is a protected species.
    It is breeding precociously.
    It destroys farmers’s livelihoods.
    There’s so many of them that “road-kill” victims are visible evidence.
    It has a wonderful Public Relations Dept.

    It kills hedgehogs by ripping them apart, and eating them.

    The badger.

    #6195

    Nic

    Hi Hettie
    It may be Hedgehog Awareness Week, but it is not Anti Badger Week!

    Badgers and Hedgehogs have shared the planet for a very long time. Badgers are not the only natural enemy of Hedgehogs. Foxes will also eat them. And their main enemy is probably, in fact, humans.

    BHPS and PTES have made a joint statement under:

    Are badgers to blame for the decline in hedgehogs?

    The following are some quotes from that statement:

    ‘None of the scientific evidence supports the idea that culling badgers is an effective means of controlling bovine TB in the field.’
    ‘An analysis of the original badger culling experiments, published in April 2014, shows that, at some sites, hedgehog numbers did increase following reduction in the number of badgers. This is not unexpected, considering what we know of the relationship between hedgehogs and badgers. BHPS and PTES do not consider this sufficient evidence to advocate culling badgers as a means of increasing hedgehog numbers, and believe that culling any species in an effort to conserve another is undesirable given better environmental approaches.’
    ‘Hedgehogs face many other challenges and it would be wrong to focus on this issue and distract from others.’

    #6209

    As I mentioned – Badgers have a good PR department and are protected.

    My observation is simple…where the badgers are, the hedgehogs are no longer.

    Badgers are bad news for farmers… who need better PR too?

    I’m interested to hear foxes eat hedgehogs. As road-kill ?
    They have jaws that can only take lesser live targets?

    Scientific evidence should always be regarded as produced by scientists.
    And political manifestos are produced by…another protected species!!

    #6210

    I’m not anti badger… just looking for the truth…and I have a soft spot for most animals.
    Here’s an account to think on, from Farmers Weekly Forum.
    Not a scientific paper I grant you….

    “In the past we had a spate of headless lambs. It turned out to be an old badger. He had somehow got a taste for lamb brains and started taking the live young ones.”

    #6213

    Nic

    It is debatable whether badgers have any better PR than farmers. To my mind, it should not be a question of Badgers versus Farmers in any event. The Science should speak for itself – if it is impartial. All of us want the truth, but sadly that is often clouded by emotion. There are all sorts of horror stories, out there, about all sorts of animals – including hedgehogs.

    However, this is a forum about hedgehogs not about politics.

    Although it may not be common, some foxes have learnt to wait until the hedgehog unrolls and then they are able to attack the soft part of the hedgehog and kill it. Hedgehogs are, of course, not always adult. Dogs also kill hedgehogs, including adult hedgehogs, and I repeat, hedgehogs’ main enemy is probably, humans, as is probably the case with most wildlife.

    The following is a quote from http://www.wildlifeonline.me.uk/hedgehogs.html#food

    ‘Red foxes (Vulpes vulpes) are widely reputed to catch and kill hedgehogs, although it is not known how common this behaviour is (see Q/A). Other species known to take various life-stages of hedgehogs when the opportunity arises include tawny owls (Strix aluco), brown rats (Rattus norvegicus), wild boar (Sus scrofa), magpies (Pica pica), weak birds (Gallirallus australis – in New Zealand), otters (Lutra lutra) and various species of small mustelid, including pine martens (Martes martes), polecats (Mustela putorius), mink (M. vison), stoats (M. erminea) and weasels (M. nivalis).’

    #6215

    Hi Hettie,

    I have to admit that I no longer shed a tear when I see a dead badger on the roads. On a recent journey between Nottingham and Sheffield I counted 7 casualties without even paying much attention, so they must be thriving – as long as they don’t live next to a main road that is!

    A friend of mine, who feeds foxes and hedgehogs together with no issues, captured shocking evidence on her cctv not so long ago of a badger killing a hedgehog. Although I have not seen the footage, I have heard the graphic testimony. After first gaining the hedgehog’s trust and eating happily alongside, the badger suddenly turns and attacks. The blood curdling screams from the poor hedgehog – which last for almost half an hour – are so upsetting that most people who have seen it ask for the sound to be turned off! The most chilling thing for me about this attack, is that there was a dish of food available, yet the badger clearly preferred hedgehog!

    Like Nic says, the biggest threat to hedgehogs is humans. If we didn’t keep building on every inch of the countryside they wouldn’t have to live in such close proximity to each other and compete for resources.

    #6223

    Nic

    The problem is, Penny, and I know it is a clichĂ© – but nature is cruel and hedgehogs are no angels in that respect, as anyone who has seen and particularly heard a hedgehog killing a bird will tell you.

    I had the misfortune to be a witness to such an event. I thought the terrible sound was the hedgehog in trouble and rushed out, only to find that it was the hedgehog that was killing a fledgling. It was past saving by then, so it seemed better to let the hedgehog finish the poor thing off. Similar to the badger kill you described, the hedgehog’s normal nightly food was waiting only a couple of yards away. It is upsetting, but this is their natural behaviour.

    It would never be safe to allow a badger to feed next to a hedgehog and John Lewis’s Christmas advert may not have done hedgehogs any favours encouraging people to think that wild animals were all like ‘happy families’.

    It doesn’t seem right to me to play one species off against the other. Neither should be victimised for behaving naturally. Both are pawns and as you say having to live in closer proximity to each other, due to human’s activities.

    #6239

    I’m surprised about the fledgling Nic, I wonder if it was a sickly one, I know our prickly little friends are no angles, but in the hundreds of hours I have spent watching them, I have never yet witnessed them stalking anything other than a large juicy worm. In fact, only the other day after spotting Sven (the Swedish blackbird) dragging a dead hatchling across the patio, I decided to do my own research into whether or not they would show any interest in a feathered dinner. I placed the hatchlings body under some leaves next to their favourite watering hole and set up the camera. Not one hedgehog showed any interest in the free meal and the carcass was still there untouched the following morning. I have also done the same thing with whole hens eggs and a Dunnock’s egg which never hatched, with the same results.

    Hettie I don’t know if you have heard the story about Scottish National Heritage ordering the culling of hedgehogs on the Uists in Scotland in 2003 after they were accused of decimating sea bird numbers, but despite more than 1500 either being euthanized or rescued at a cost of £1.3 million, sea bird numbers still continue to decline! Scottish National Heritage finally conceded in 2011 that hedgehogs weren’t the only culprits and that changes in farming practices and increasing flocks of predatory birds were also to blame.

    Just like hedgehogs were not the only culprits, the same is true of badgers. I may not like the dining habits of the badger, but the facts speak for themselves; hedgehogs and badgers have lived side by side on this earth for millions of years and it is only in the last thirty or so that hedgehog numbers have rapidly declined, man is without question the number one suspect.

    On a lighter note, Sven has successfully raised at least three other chicks who were all spotted together at the water trough this morning. 🙂

    #6240

    Nic

    Hi Penny

    I was surprised myself that the hedgehog killed the fledgling, and I think it was possibly out of the nest earlier than it should have been. You may also remember when someone on Hedgehog Street last year witnessed the killing of a pigeon in their neighbours garden. As I said at the time, I suspect on that occasion the bird must have been unwell, otherwise why was it on the ground during the night. Nevertheless, it is known that hedgehogs will, on occasion, kill birds. They are opportunists and if something they feel they can tackle crosses their path, they will tackle it. I am always surprised that slow worms feature on the list of things which hedgehogs will eat.

    Whilst I admire your attempting some personal research, a hatchling would not be particularly appealing to many, even carnivores. It probably would have very little substance in it, and I find that it is usually the ants which deal with these if they are left.

    The thing about hens eggs, is that they are clearly far too big for most hedgehogs to tackle and their shells too strong, although, never say never! Hedgehogs are known to take eggs on occasion, but these would be likely to be much smaller eggs with thinner shells.

    We also need to bear in mind that the hedgehogs in our gardens are better fed than they may be in places where they are not supplementary fed, and therefore may not be prepared to go to as great lengths to get food as might be the case elsewhere.

    Glad to hear that Sven is still around. It is lovely seeing the young blackbirds around again. The current dominant blackbird here has several white feathers near his neck. There was one here a few years back, and for several years, who had a white mark on his face a bit like the head of an arrow. I suppose there must be something in the genes.

    #6241

    Nic

    Hi Penny

    If you are interested in reading more about eggs/birds and hedgehogs there is lots of information on:

    http://www.wildlifeonline.me.uk/questions_answers_hedgehogs.html#birds

    Some of it is a bit heavy going, but lots of interesting info.

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