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Research: Smart hedgehog houses

11th May 2021

A research project is underway in Gloucestershire aiming to track hedgehogs which have been released after rehabilitation. Hedgehog Republic is run by Wild Hogs Hedgehog Rescue in partnership with Making Pi, a local education and tech charity, and supported by the British Hedgehog Preservation Society.

Hedgehog Republic

The hedgehogs, who are microchipped as part of their rescue, are tracked via special feeding stations which weigh and identify them. The hedgehogs can then be monitored and videoed without being disturbed.

A microchipped hedgehog visiting a feeding station.

Ten feeding stations have been set up across two locations – Severnside and Kingsway (the site of a recent Hedgehog Highway project).  Local communities have developed a strong bond with their local hogs, and every visit to the station is captured on video.

A map of the intelligent feeding stations.

The project is ongoing and researchers hope to build a picture of how hedgehogs cope following release.

“We have detected hedgehogs that were released in 2019 that are still doing well and have maintained a healthy weight. We have also been able to monitor others that have been injured or appear unwell and follow their progress. This will help us to improve rehabilitation and understand more about how hedgehogs adapt when they are returned to the wild.”

Emily Harper – Wild Hogs Hedgehog Rescue Assistant Manager

The data gathered could also provide insights into the decline of rural hedgehogs.

“We are able to compare the different behaviours of hedgehogs in suburban and rural gardens. This is important as we know that hedgehogs have been declining more in rural areas and we are keen to understand if rural gardens could provide support for hedgehogs in the same way that we have seen in suburban gardens.”

Fay Vass – BHPS

You can follow the project HERE