African Pygmy hedgehogs make common pets and are famous because of their small size. These small hedgehogs are found in Central Africa and forage through grassy and rocky areas. An African Pygmy prefers to stay on the ground and is an omnivore.
The hedgehog eats plants as well as worms. Most of these hedgehogs can eat even small snakes. With so many African Pygmy hedgehogs involved in the pet trade, it makes one wonder if they are endangered.
Although many animals are in danger of extinction, fortunately, African pygmy hedgehogs are not endangered.
These hedgehogs cover a wide area in Central Africa, and that is why they are not at risk of being endangered. In addition, the hedgehogs have a stable population, and they are of the least concern in the endangered species list.
Are Wild Hedgehogs Endangered?
Hedgehogs have been widespread throughout Europe. However, recently, there has been a shocking dip in the population of hedgehogs. The sudden decline in the hedgehog population has raised concerns and has put hedgehogs on the endangered list.
In the United Kingdom, the population of hedgehogs has drastically decreased from the 1950s to 2019 from 30 million to only 1 million.
Why Have Hedgehogs Become Endangered?
A reason why hedgehogs have become endangered is that their habitats have been destroyed. The increase in agricultural activities has paved the way for more land to be cleared, which means less land for hedgehogs to forage in.
In addition, the use of pesticides has increased in the agricultural sector, which has led to less food for these mammals. Hedgehogs rely on worms and insects, which the usage of pesticides kills off.
An increase in infrastructure is good for the economy but unfortunately poses a threat to hedgehogs’ lives. The building of roads and construction has hindered the ability of hedgehogs to migrate.
This problem has caused serious issues as hedgehogs cannot get together to mate, which adds to their low population.
Usually, hedgehogs are found wandering in gardens. These mammals are great for gardens as they eat any insects that may be harmful. However, recently even house gardens have become sparse.
Garden designs have changed over the years, and there are fewer hedges for hedgehogs to nest in and hibernate. Moreover, even in gardens, there has been an increase in the use of pesticides.
As a result, the hedgehogs are forced to ingest either the chemicals or the insects that have consumed the chemicals.
Are Hedgehogs Going to be Extinct?
Although hedgehogs have faced several threats in agriculture, infrastructure, and sparse home gardens, they are unlikely to go extinct.
There should, however, still be measures taken to ensure that habitats of hedgehogs are not wiped out, and they do not go extinct.
Are Hedgehogs Protected?
Hedgehogs are one of those species of animals that are legally protected, and rightly so. However, being legally protected means that certain laws need to be followed when handling hedgehogs. The laws with regards to hedgehogs include:
- According to the Wildlife and Countryside Act of 1981, hunting and capturing wild hedgehogs is illegal.
- Under the Wild Mammals Protection Act of 1996, it is illegal to be cruel to hedgehogs in any way.
- They are categorized as the species of ‘principal importance; under the Nerc Act.
Even though hedgehogs are legally protected, these laws do not solve the original problem, which deals with the cause of the population decline.
How To Stop Hedgehogs from Going Extinct
The decline in the population of hedgehogs is alarming, and we can all do our part in helping bring the population back up again.
You can make your home more hedgehog-friendly. One simple way to do this is to built tunnels for hedgehogs to pass through.
You will need the help of your neighbour with this one. Create a passageway in your fence big enough for a hedgehog to go through. This will increase mobility for the hedgehog, making it easier to move, look for food, and mate.
Another thing you can do is make hedgehog houses in your garden. You can make a hedgehog house by taking a wooden crate and filling it with leaves and heaps of compost.
Make sure that the box is snuggly. Hedgehogs are always looking for places to crash and to spend time hibernating.
You can plant lots of wild plants in your garden for hedgehogs to munch on. This can include any wild berries and a variety of other plants. Growing plants in your garden will attract other insects and worms, too, which is the natural diet of hedgehogs.
It will help if you hedgehog proof your garden by making sure to build ridges near the pond for hedgehogs to escape. If you have a pool, you can keep it covered, so there are not any incidents of hedgehogs drowning.
Moreover, you can always leave out food such as dry cat food or boiled eggs for any hungry hedgehog that seeks asylum in your garden.
If you find any sick or injured hedgehog, tend to it. You can call the wildlife authority if the hedgehog is too injured and let them handle it.
African Pygmy hedgehogs are common in the wildlife trade due to their small size. In addition, these hedgehogs are very energetic. Due to the African Pygmy hedgehogs covering a wide area in Central Africa, they are not endangered. I
t has, however, been observed that wild hedgehogs over Europe are declining in population. The reason for this is an increase in agriculture activity which strips the hedgehogs off their habitat. More reasons for this are construction and the building of infrastructure.
Hedgehogs are one of those mammals that are legally protected. However, none of the laws focuses on the actual problem of why there is a decline in the hedgehog population. You can do your part in helping hedgehog by making your home more welcome.
By building hedgehog channels, you can do so by planting wild plants and berries, not using chemicals, and keeping out food and water for them. In addition, if you see a hedgehog that is sick or injured, you should tend to it.