The first national Hedgehog Housing Census has been launched by Hedgehog Street, a nationwide campaign set up by wildlife charities the British Hedgehog Preservation Society and People’s Trust for Endangered Species to help combat the ongoing decline in native hedgehog population numbers. This survey is in partnership with the University of Reading and Warwickshire Wildlife Trust.
Between now and the 31st October, the Hedgehog Housing Census will dig a little deeper into the world of hedgehogs, and aims to answer several questions about how they live and in particular, their use of artificial hedgehog houses, which, until now, have not been studied, despite thousands of people having one in their garden. The information will be gathered via an online survey, and the data then analysed by scientists at the University of Reading. The results will help the Hedgehog Street team find out what the best type of hedgehog house is and how they can be used to support the conservation of these animals, enabling wildlife enthusiasts across the UK to further help their spikey garden residents.
Since its creation in 2011, Hedgehog Street has over 44,000 volunteers, known as ‘Hedgehog Champions’, pledging to help save the nation’s favourite mammal by making small steps in their own gardens. This new census will answer questions such as:
• Is your hedgehog house used?
• Is it used for summer nesting, as a maternity nest, or for hibernation?
• What materials is it made from? Is it homemade or shop bought?
• Where is it located?
• What’s the best design?
The census will be sent to all Hedgehog Champions, but the Hedgehog Street team is very keen to hear from anyone who has a hedgehog house in their garden and isn’t already a Champion, so simply visit www.hedgehogstreet.org/housingcensus to take part.
The loss of hedgerows and intensive farming in rural areas, along with tidy, fenced-in gardens in urban and suburban locations, are just some of the threats contributing to the demise of Britain’s native hedgehog. It is estimated that populations have declined by up to a third in urban areas, and by at least half in rural areas since 2000, according to the State of Britain’s Hedgehogs 2015 report, which was published by PTES and BHPS.
The data collected will be analysed over the winter with the results due in spring 2018.
To take part in the Hedgehog Housing Census, register as a Hedgehog Champion or for more information about hedgehogs, visit: www.hedgehogstreet.org/housingcensus