This study supports recent evidence that hedgehogs are in decline, particularly in rural areas. Studies of hedgehogs have found that they are increasingly becoming associated with urban habitats, such as gardens, villages and parks. The article states that hedgehogs are present where badgers are absent and reasons for this are unclear. Badgers do predate on hedgehogs, but it may not be that the hedgehogs have all been eaten by badgers. In fact, hedgehogs avoid the smell of badgers and may shift to using urban areas, where badger numbers are fewer, in response to a perceived predation threat from badgers. Increasing the amount of cover on farmland would provide habitat for hedgehogs to shelter from badgers, and could assist in rebuilding farmland hedgehog populations.
My research radio-tracking hedgehogs in 2013 and 2014 aims to answer why hedgehogs do not favour open farmland, particularly arable land, and will look into several possibilities including temperature, food availability and badger presence.
Hedgehogs are more thinly spread in the UK than previously believed, a study using ink pads to record their paw prints has revealed. The nocturnal mammals were found at only 39% of sites surveyed.