During the Radio 4 broadcast Fiona explained that, although we know that there has been a general decline in the hedgehog population in the last five years, we can’t put anywhere near an exact figure on the fall in numbers due to the patchiness of previous survey results gathered from across the UK. It could be anywhere between 2% and 50% over the last five years. Although it isn’t all bad news, Fiona reported that one lady in Devon had contacted the Society to say that she “couldn’t move” for hedgehogs in her back garden. This is one of the reasons for the launch of the Hedgehog Watch Project, to get a more comprehensive idea of the picture across the UK.
Fiona added that the one of the main reasons for the decline in hedgehogs, particularly in certain areas, is likely to be an increase in the use of garden pesticides and our preference for tidiness around the garden in general. Front gardens are increasingly likely to be concreted over and autumn leaves to be cleared away. The message could therefore be to keep a slightly messier garden and allow hedgehogs to forage for insects and find places to sleep undisturbed or as John Humphrys summarised, “Save the hedgehog…be lazy!”.
There’s still time to take part in our 2017 Hedgehog Watch Project, simply click here before 1 December 2017.
If you would like to listen to the Radio 4 broadcast and are registered with the BBC you can access the discussion until 30 November 2017. The hedgehog chat took place on 7 November and begins at around 7.45am.