Adam Vaughan at the Guardian tells us that the hedgehog (Erinaceus europaeus) is fast becoming rarer in British gardens, parks and hedges. It’s comparable to the declining populations of endangered species such as tigers.
If you’re in Britain, you might want to get involved with Hedgehog Street. If you’re a gardener, perhaps like me you use metaldehyde slug pellets. Believe me, I’ve tried all the alternative slug control methods and I find that on my heavy soil, metaldehyde is the only one that works. Hedgehog Street says that gardeners like me probably aren’t killing hedgehogs with our slug pellets, but we might be slowing hedgehog reproduction.
Probably more to the point, hedgehog habitat is becoming more fragmented. There are gaps in that habitat. Hedgehogs’ legs are short. And the old joke, ‘Why did the hedgehog cross the road?’ doesn’t seem so funny when you’ve seen a few dead hedgehogs killed by cars. In the Guardian article I linked to above, Hugh Warwick of the British Hedgehog Preservation Society says that habitat fragmentation is the biggest problem facing our hedgehogs.
I’m grateful to my fellow blogger Sandy Steinman at Natural History Wanderings for drawing attention to the hedgehogs’ decline and to another blogger, Wood Elf, for reminding us of how we love hedgehogs.