Hedgehogs, Not lookin' That Sharp
by KYauChung on November 27, 2015 - 4:27pm
Bawden wants to establish that the hedgehog population is plummeting due to urban development and the rising number of badgers in Britain. According to a national survey, the hedgehog population has decreased by 50% in 15 years. Over the same period, the hedgehog population in rural areas has decreased by a third.
Their habitats are being threatened by urban development as well as the choice of placing fences around gardens, thus shutting them out. In rural areas, the intensification of agriculture is reducing the amount of grasslands and hedgerows where hedgehogs live. According to the People’s Trust for Endangered Species (PTES) hedgehog officer Henry Johnson, hedgehogs need large habitats but urban areas are being increasingly fragmented by fencing and infrastructure while in the suburbs, more people are opting for concrete rather than grass. Grass is important as it is home to worms, caterpillars and other insects necessary to hedgehog diet. Plant diversity is closely linked to the variety of insects and caterpillars existent. Farming techniques prioritize fast and high yield crops, which are not necessarily a common grazing producer.
Hedgehogs also feed on decaying flesh of dead animals, meaning that they’re decomposers. They are important, especially with the increasing number of animals who die from being ran over by cars on roads.
Bawden adamantly continues to bring back the subject of the rising badger population, which seems to me like a red herring. Badgers and hedgehogs have always existed, why is it that now hedgehogs are critically decreasing in number due to predation? It’s evident that it’s due to the growing urban development. Humans change the environment for convenience, without thinking of its effect on the ecosystems that surrounds them. The usage of pesticides kills invertebrates that hedgehogs eat which can lead to bioaccumulation of toxins and consequently their death.
Houses should be built high rather than wide; this way, space is used more efficiently and there are more green areas where hedgehogs and other animals can live. If fences are necessary no matter what then making holes of about five inches at the bottom will allow these small mammals to enter. They mainly hibernate and hunt for food in gardens; they help get rid of the annoying bugs in your backyard.