Friday, 20 January 2012

Hedgehogs

We've seen no hedghogs here since 2007. One of those we rescued from a post-hole. The little chap had fallen in and couldn't get out. More recently, the only hedghogs I've seen locally have been squashed on the road - and those have not been so many. Froggarts Cottage is surrounded by a field used to graze cattle with old hedges all around - ideal habitat for hedgehogs one would think. A friend gave us a "Hog House" for Christmas a few years ago which we put by the hedge and covered with leaves but it's not been used.

A Prickly Affair by Hugh Warwick


This is a fascinating little book from a dedicated hedgehog researcher A Prickly Affair by Hugh Warwick  Really interesting. Apparently one of the main predators of hedgehogs is badgers. There's certainly badgers around here, there are sets along the hedges a couple of fields and a main road away but I've never seen any in the adjacent fields.

A piece on BBC News interested me both from the hedgehog and the environment change point of view.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-16597723

"Hedgehog numbers fell in the last 50 years, largely due to land use change. From an estimated 30 million in the 1950s, the UK population shrank to about 1.5 million in 1995, and has almost certainly fallen further since then."

The climate thing is interesting. Last year was definitely drier and warmer than previous years despite the very cold spell at the start of the year. Each of the 5 years we've been at Froggarts Cottage have been quite different weather-wise so it's difficult to spot a trend. For a couple of years we logged when we planted vegtables and when and how much we harvested. I think we should be a bit more diligent and note when fruit blossom opens and fruit sets and so on. Otherwise we're relying on our imperfect memories.

There's a link on the BBC story above to a site http://www.naturescalendar.org.uk where people can log sightings such as "first snowdrop", "first elder flowers".

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