WESTFIELD WILDLIFE has been asking for records of hedgehogs for many months now without any being submitted, so it is obvious that they are becoming very rare in the Parish.
In the early part of the last century, hedgehogs were abundant throughout Britain, with an estimated population of perhaps 30 million in the 1950s. By 1995 the population was estimated to be only about 1.5 million (1.1M in England; 0.31M in Scotland; and0.145M in Wales). Comparisons of counts of hedgehog road casualties in the early 1990s and 2001 suggest that numbers in some regions might have fallen by as much as a half in that period.
It came as a nice suprise to find this hedgehog in my garden last night [03/08/2012]. Hopefully he or she may return again tonight. Will keep a lookout, and put some food out to encourage it to remain in the area. Watch this post for any updates.
Click on photo to enlarge.
Five interesting facts about hedgehogs
- also known as ‘urchins’, hedgehogs have been around for at least 15 million years
- are the UK’s only spine covered mammal. Newborns are born with the spines under their skins – they emerge when they are a few hours old
- are nocturnal using their strong sense of smell to guide them through the dark, often travelling as far as two miles per night
- when it gets very cold hedgehogs begin their winter sleep until the following spring. During hibernation – often in piles of leaves or log piles - their body temperature drops and their heart beat falls dramatically from 190 to about 20 beats per minute
- are insectivores feeding on at least 100 invertebrates a night and are capable of detecting their prey some 3cm deep under the soil .