Hedgehog Care Sitee.
Exact numbers of hedgehogs in the UK are difficult to judge, but a recent survey in 2019 suggest less than 800,000 are left.
Why hedgehog numbers are falling is not known for certain. However there are likely candidates and probably all are involved to a varying extent. More intensive agriculture – with larger fields and the loss of hedgerows and permanent grassland – has probably played a role. The use of pesticides too reduces the amount of prey available.
In towns and villages, smaller and tidier gardens with fencing and brick walls that prevent hedgehogs moving between gardens may have reduced suitable urban habitats. New buildings and roads carve up habitats so small populations can become isolated and more vulnerable to local extinction. This process is known as Islandisation or Fragmentisation.
Tens of thousands of hedgehogs are killed by road traffic each year; spines are little defence against 2 ton vehicles. Badgers are a natural predator of hedgehogs and actively avoid sites where badgers are present. When the habitat provides sufficient cover and good foraging opportunities, badgers and hedgehogs can coexist, but when there is no safe place to hide quickly and the food that the two species compete for are scarce, hedgehogs are in serious trouble.
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