In recent years, with growing cities, agriculture, and clearing of land, many people are concerned about the hedgehog population. Are hedgehogs endangered? Will hedgehogs soon become extinct? When will hedgehogs be extinct?
It is undeniable that hedgehogs face a threat due to increasing agricultural and infrastructure activities. However, hedgehogs will not go extinct anytime soon.
It can be many years before hedgehogs will go extinct. W
hile hedgehogs face a huge threat at the hands of modernization, they are not close to becoming extinct. However, this does not mean that we should not do our part in taking care of hedgehogs. Many hedgehog lives are lost each day, and it is best to take measures to avoid that.
Are Hedgehogs Endangered?
Hedgehogs are widespread, but despite this, there has been a huge decline in their population. This is because hedgehogs are losing their rural and urban habitats. Hence, you may not see a lot of hedgehogs hanging around.
However, despite the dip in population, hedgehogs are not endangered. Hedgehogs are listed as the least concern on the endangered species list.
How Many Hedgehogs Are Left in the UK?
According to the survey conducted by PTES, there was a 30% decline in the population of hedgehogs from 2003 to 2017.
Recent studies have also been completed on the population of hedgehogs in the UK. The online map for hedgehog sightings shows that the latest number of hedgehogs in the UK is 108,148. Out of this number, 15,432 hedgehogs are dead on the map.
While hedgehogs are not extinct or endangered, it is evident that there has been a sharp decline in their population.
Why Is There a Decline in Hedgehog Population?
The decline in the hedgehog population is not something that happened overnight. The hedgehog population has declined due to various reasons. The sharp fall in population is something which has been slowly happening over the years.
However, in recent times, there has been a rapid fall in population.
The first reason why the hedgehog population is declining is because of increases in agricultural activities. To make way for agriculture, vegetation and land must be cleared. The vegetation is home to many hedgehogs, and they cannot live there anymore.
In addition, ever since the modernization of agriculture, hedgehog’s food source has been compromised. Modern agriculture uses pesticides to kill insects or worms. Hedgehogs eat these poisoned insects, which in turn harms them.
Secondly, while the world is improving through increased infrastructure, it is not doing any good for hedgehogs. To build roads, bridges, and general infrastructure land needs to be cleared.
The roads and bridges have also become a hindrance for hedgehogs. These spined mammals can no longer move to and from. Hedgehogs cannot migrate and, therefore, cannot come together to mate. If no hedgehogs are being born, the population will decline.
While hedgehogs used to thrive in gardens because of worms and insects, they no longer do so. In recent times, garden designs have changed, and they are now sparse. People build fences that unlink gardens and make it difficult for hedgehogs to go across.
There are no hedges, which are a great place for hedgehogs to build their nests. Many people also spray pesticides in their house gardens. As a result, hedgehogs are forced to eat poisoned insects or ingest the poison themselves, which leads to death.
How To Help Hedgehogs
If all people work together, they can bring about a change for hedgehogs. These spined mammals deserve a better place to live in.
The first way you can help hedgehogs is by making your home hedgehog friendly. There are many ways to make homes more welcoming for hedgehogs:
You can start by linking gardens with your neighbours. If you already have a fence, you can make a hole at the bottom big enough for the hedgehog to pass. Also, you can dig below the fence, so there is ample space for the hedgehog to go through.
A passage for hedgehogs to pass through will increase their mobility. This means that now more hedgehogs can have access to food, water, and mates.
Install a Hedgehog House
You can also make a hedgehog house and put it in your garden. Making a hedgehog house is an easy process. By taking a wooden crate and stuffing it with leaves, you can make a comfortable hedgehog house. Hedgehogs can use this box to hibernate or if they need a place to sleep.
A way to make your home a safe space for hedgehogs is to put out food for them. Hedgehogs are hungry and may not get sufficient food in the wild. You can grow some plants that hedgehogs may like.
Moreover, plants will attract bugs which are a hedgehog’s main source of nutrition. You can put out a bowl of water and one of the dry cat food for hedgehogs.
Make Water Accessible
If you have a pool or pond, you can make a slope so any hedgehog that decides to go for a swim can get out easily. Moreover, if you see any injured or sick hedgehog, it is best to take it in until it improves.
If you are unable to do so, call the relevant authorities to help the hedgehog.
Hedgehogs, unfortunately, have faced a fall in their population. The population decline is because hedgehogs are losing their habitat to increased infrastructure and agricultural activities.
However, despite the fall in population, hedgehogs will not become extinct any time soon. Therefore, hedgehogs are also not endangered and are labelled as least concerned on the endangered animal list.
However, the fall in the hedgehog population is a cause of concern. You can help hedgehogs by making your home hedgehog friendly. Putting out food for the hedgehogs and making them houses and pathways is a way to help deal with the falling population.