Good news for the humble hedgehog as sightings on the rise after years of decline

Good news for the humble hedgehog as sightings on the rise after years of decline

By Animal Correspondent, Jill Dando News

They have been rapidly in decline but now it seems there is a fightback by the humble hedghog.

Garden sightings of the creatures up two percentage points, according to Gardeners’ World magazine readers.

According to a survey by BBC Gardeners’ World Magazine, hedgehog sightings in the UK are finally on the rise after declining observations of these mammals since 2000.

A hedgehog (photos via

A separate report from 2022, State of Britain’s Hedgehogs, noted a marked decline in hedgehogs, particularly in eastern Britain. According to that report, rural hedgehogs had decreased 30% to 75%since 2000, but there were more promising signs of population stabilization in urban areas.

Now, a survey by Gardeners’ World reported a 2% increase in sightings, after its previous hedgehog survey found a decline.

Thirty-three percent of respondents this year said they saw hedgehogs in their gardens, compared to 31% of respondents who observed hedgehogs in last year’s survey.

As The Guardian reported, some activists have been working to make urban areas more wildlife-friendly, through initiatives like allowing some parts of gardens to grow more wild and building pathways through fences for the hedgehogs to travel easier.


But some experts are still cautiously optimistic about the findings, noting that this increase doesn’t mean populations will continue increasing and that hedgehogs still face many threats.

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“Valuable as the Gardeners’ World survey is, we need to remember that these figures are only a snapshot,” Fay Vass, CEO of the British Hedgehog Preservation Society, told The Guardian. “Populations change year to year, and these findings might not necessarily represent the underlying trend.”

Young People’s Trust for the Environment, a UK-based charity, reported that the hedgehog population in England, Wales and Scotland is estimated to be around 1 million, a sharp decline from the 30 million present in the 1950s.

Road development and traffic are big threats to hedgehogs, which can experience habitat fragmentation because of roadways. Collisions are another major threat. According to British Hedgehog Preservation Society, about 167,000 to 335,000 hedgehogs are killed on roads in the UK each year. Other threats include direct and indirect affects from pesticide use, plastic pollution, gardening machinery and drowning in ponds and lakes.

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Environmental organizations and home gardeners are working to make safer habitats for hedgehogs to help reverse the declining trend.

The latest Gardeners’ World survey found that 77% of respondents were taking action to make their gardens better suited to wildlife. Some common actions included letting gardens grow more naturally, checking for wildlife before using garden machinery and stopping the use of slug pellets in the garden, The Guardian reported.

“It’s wonderful to witness an increase in sightings,” Kevin Smith, editor of Gardeners’ World, told The Guardian. “Our ongoing efforts to educate people about wildlife-friendly gardening, such as creating openings in fences and providing secluded spaces for nesting and hibernation, are helping turn our gardens into the havens that hedgehogs have long enjoyed.”

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