'Hedgehog Housing Census' launched in response to falling population

One of the most quintessentially British animals - the beloved hedgehog - is under threat, according to conservation charities

17th August 2017
A hedgehog climbing over a log

The campaign’s aim is to find out more about how the creatures live, and in particular, how they use artificial hedgehog houses. Little attention has been paid to these, despite thousands of people having one in their garden.

The survey is being conducted by Hedgehog Street - a nationwide campaign by the British Hedgehog Preservation Society  (BHPS) and People’s Trust for Endangered Species (PTES) in association with the University of Reading.

The results will be gathered at the end of October and will help Hedgehog Street to find the best type of hedgehog house, and how they can be used to support the conservation of hedgehogs. The results from the survey are due to be published in Spring 2018.

Hedgehog populations are estimated to have declined by up to a third in urban areas, and those in rural areas halved, according to the State of Britain’s Hedgehogs 2015 report.

Abigail Gazzard, Postgraduate Researcher for the University of Reading, said: "We first need to understand why hedgehogs appear to use some gardens and not others, so that we can provide evidence-based guidance on what householders can do to help this iconic species.

"This questionnaire survey will be the first to investigate how successful hedgehog houses might be in helping to provide sites for resting, breeding and hibernating, and is one of a series of collaborative projects between BHPS, PTES and the University of Reading to help gather such evidence."

The Hedgehog Officer for Hedgehog Street, Emily Wilson, gives this advice for helping hedgehogs: “In addition to making a small hole in your fence, providing the correct food and drink, and keeping areas of your garden untidy, if you are lucky enough to see hedgehogs in your garden, you can further help these endangered creatures by having the right accommodation on hand ready for them when they need it.”

If you want to take part in the Hedgehog Housing Census, visit Hedgehog Street’s website.

See our hedgehog guide here

Main image credit: Getty

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