Night Visitors

I have noticed that over the past few years we have been missing a previously regular visitor. In the past we would frequently meet hedgehogs when out at night walking the dogs for the last time. We now rarely do and I don’t think I have met one in the last two years. Indeed, I think the only hedgehog I have seen was dead on the verge of the main road.

This is a serious problem. The number of sighting of hedgehogs in rural Britain has fallen by half in the past twenty years. On a longer scale the figures are even more alarming. I was estimated there were 30,000,000 hedgehogs in the 1950’s now it is estimated only 1,000,000 survive. There are many factors behind this change including increased intensification of agriculture, loss of hedgerows, fragmentation of their habitat and also, sadly, road deaths.

However, a factor in our wood which might play a significant local part is a growth in the badger population. The badger is the hedgehogs’ main natural predator and in areas where there are high badger populations there are smaller populations of hedghogs as a consequence.

We had noted that the sets up high in our wood had grown and yesterday we looked on the night cam and confirmed that they are active. I will have to seriously consider what our next step is as I don’t want to intervene when the outcome is difficult to predict and the badgers cause us little other problem. It is nice to see the badgers but, I hate to say it, it was nicer to see the hedgehogs.

5 thoughts on “Night Visitors

  1. Hedgehogs still seem to be in our garden. We made a hedgehog feeding station from a plastic storage box and food is still being taken nightly in quantities that suggest they are still active – there’s no rat or mouse poo in the box. We’ve nursed ill ones back to health in the past, and filmed one in IR a couple of years ago and think they might nest under a disused water butt base which we don’t want to move to check.

    1. There has been an increase in the badger population since the 1980s. Perhaps as a consequence of them being a protected species (They are still endangered despite the recent rise in numbers). They sill need this protection as each year 50000 die on the roads and about 20000 are culled by DEFRA due to concerns about them being a transmission host for bovine tuberculosis. I think the increase in our woods is just a family growth and hopefully just part of the natural waxing and waning of species numbers

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