Saturday, 3 September 2016

Hedgehog Encounter

With hedgehog numbers in steep decline, I considered myself lucky to see this one in the St. Catherine's car-park at dusk. The hedgehog was lucky I saw it, too, as I was driving and just spotted it in time!

 The hedgehog paused long enough, after unrolling itself, to have its image taken before scuttling for cover! 
Hedgehog populations were estimated to be over thirty-six million in the Fifties; however, according to several recent surveys, numbers have now dropped to below one million and are continuing to fall at the rate of 5% per annum.

Many websites go into some detail as to why hedgehog numbers are in such catastrophic decline throughout the UK. An increase in badger numbers is considered to be a factor in combination with many other issues.

The time before I saw a hedgehog was on the A592 at night three years ago. Driving back to the Lakes, after a Carlisle home match, I had to brake hard to avoid an adult hedgehog. It had rolled itself into a ball in the middle of the road. I picked it up and took it some distance away to comparative safety. 

Sadly, thousands of hedgehogs are killed on UK roads every year. 
Hopefully St Catherine's has a thriving hedgehog population. We have tried to help hedgehogs by maintaining a suitable habitat for them.
For instance, you may have seen a recent post on this site where brash from a fallen oak branch was piled up as potentially good cover for the increasingly rare hedgehog. It will also be a good habitat for important food source for hedgehogs. 

The hedgehog is seen as an indicator species. A good population of hedgehogs in a given area shows that the landscape is in good shape with an abundance of insects and invertebrates.

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