Students are asking the public to record the presence (or absence) of hedgehogs

The researchers are studying factors affecting the presence and absence of the European hedgehog in gardens across the UK.

A European hedgehog in the undergrowth © Dave Hudson Photography

A group of undergraduate scientists from the University of Exeter are asking members of the public to record if, where, and when they have seen a hedgehog; a much-loved garden dweller and pest hunter.

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“Understanding where hedgehogs thrive, and the conditions under which they do so, may allow us to change our gardening practices to attract them into safe gardens and away from roads,” says BSc student Emily Gilford, “and possibly aid an increase in hedgehog populations in the UK”.

European hedgehogs are a native UK species, which are often found in gardens with plenty of thick foliage to hide in.

Sightings will be followed up by a small number of field research visits, where researchers will conduct non-invasive invertebrate surveys, assess surrounding land use, measure shrub and foliage coverage and install and study footprint tunnels.

Presence and absence records can be submitted via an online survey.

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Queries about the study can be e-mailed to: exeterhedgehog@gmail.com

An example of footprint tunnel findings, showing various small mammal footprints. Graphic shows hedgehog footprints © William Harbert of Prickle Project (a hedgehog educational group)
An example of footprint tunnel findings, showing various small mammal footprints. Graphic shows hedgehog footprints © William Harbert of Prickle Project (a hedgehog educational group)