Hedgehog Survey 2020 – Results

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Our thanks to the 21 Edgmond Households that returned results for the Edgmond Hedgehog Survey that took place in 2020.

 

If we repeat this survey  yearly we should get some sort of measure of how the village hedgehog  population is getting on. We also have a few members from outside the village who submitted results. Thanks to Karen at the Humbers for her record of 2 Hedgehogs. This result wasn’t included in the Edgmond Survey, but it will be interesting to see how the numbers change in her garden over the next few years. It is encouraging to note that our work on Edgmond Hedgehog Conservation Area is encouraging other communities to take some action and we were recently contacted by a group in Tibberton who have now set up a  similar group.

It seems that across the 21  Gardens in the survey, we saw approximately 10 Hedgehogs during the week. As we recorded the maximum seen at any anyone time, there is a possibility that neighbours have counted the same hedgehog on the same or different nights. The comparison with the results next year will be more useful. 

 

The maximum seen was on Robin Lane where Lizzy saw 3 hedgehogs together on one night. Here at School Road, we recorded 2 hedgehogs on the same night during the period of the survey. In late May on most nights we were seeing 5 -7 hedgehogs. These were individuals we could recognise or had marked. Then, as reported on Nextdoor, we had a female badger hunting hedgehogs for a couple of nights and reduced our numbers for the next few weeks!! In fact all of our regular visitors ‘went’. Subsequently we have recovered a little, with visits from 1 or two new animals.

Perhaps, the conditions for hedgehogs and badgers were pretty harsh in Spring. We had very warm dry weather which lasted for many weeks. This is likely to have made finding food for both these animals very difficult. Earthworms are a major part of the diet of both animals.

 

Hedgehogs also play an important role in our gardens eating slugs and snails. Long dry spells are not good for supplies of these invertebrates! Badgers may have been driven to find alternative food sources and ranged further afield into gardens during those periods of dry weather. Our hedgehog hunting badger may not have been the only badger in our gardens in that period and without regular camera monitoring it is impossible to say. It is also worth noting that in June, in a garden in Robin Lane, the owners experienced a similar demise with their regular nightly hedgehog visits.  What I can say is that in the last 28 years our nightly recording has only picked up one previous badger visit!

It is also possible that garden hedgehogs were not finding enough food in this period and moved on to other feeding areas outside our gardens.

 

If there is a preference for gardens in Edgmond,  then our hedgehogs might prefer those gardens that are large and allow free movement into neighbouring gardens. We are lucky in the village because so many of our gardens back onto open space or fields and long may that continue! So there doesn’t seem to be a particular focus for our hedgehog records though perhaps the houses on Robin Lane and the large gardens at the church end of the village do better. Though it must be said that in areas where there are more Hedgehog supporters we are more likely to get records because of the ongoing support (eg creation of hedgehog highways,, providing hibernation/breeding boxes,  regular feeding.

 

Big thanks to Andy and Denise Bishop for their part in providing great boxes for u. Thanks to those  who built their own or had boxes made for them by other supporters. I would also like to thank the families in the village who have got their children to take part in our conservation work and especially those that got their form teachers at school to help them build feeding boxes!. Getting children involved in conservation is key to our future work.

 

I am intrigued by the results. We have released 12 rescue hedgehogs over the last year! What’s happened to them? Recorded sightings for our own wild population over the last few years looked very encouraging but perhaps the results don’t mirror my optimism!

 

What the results might show is just how precarious the hedgehog situation is both locally (for example, more traffic, changing climate and new builds,) and nationally.  It serves to remind us that our efforts to support our small garden friendly animal must be continued and I thank you for your ongoing support.

Jonathan Lloyd