Hedgehogs are native and widespread across Britain. However, surveys conducted by People's Trust for Endangered Species (PTES), British Trust for Ornithology and RSPB have shown that the UK has lost over half its hedgehogs from the countryside and a third from its urban areas since the millennium alone. Recently they have been placed on the British Mammal red list as vulnerable to extinction.
Hedgehogs are a species that can live and thrive happily in urban areas if given the opportunity. They need to roam a mile or more per night safely across green spaces. Walls and fences cause fragmentation. This means they cannot easily travel across an area and find places to nest or mate. Their movement is blocked. Paving over and the use of plastic grass in gardens means they no longer have the correct habitat to find natural food.
Hedgehogs in Chiswick
Our research with Zoological Society of London (ZSL) so far has shown that hedgehogs are present within Chiswick House & Gardens and surrounding streets, across Grove Park and Strand on the Green. We have received sightings from the public and photographic evidence from ZSL cameras. However, so far anecdotal evidence points toward no hedgehog activity having been noted around the Dukes Meadow and surrounding areas for over 8 years. This research is still ongoing, and we hope to find other areas across Chiswick with hedgehog activity. However, if none are found then the Grove Park and Strand on the Green area of Chiswick may be an important yet vulnerable hedgehog stronghold. Building from this evidence we are concentrating on opening green spaces across the Grove Park and Strand on the Green area of Chiswick to allow hedgehogs to roam further easier and safer.
Hedgehog Highways is an initiative created by PTES Hedgehog Street approximately 10 years ago. It encourages householders to cut a small hole (13cms) in their fences and walls which will allow hedgehogs to enter and travel safely across gardens. The hole is not large enough to let out an average sized pet but large enough for a hedgehog to go through. Recent research by Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust found that by opening access to gardens in this way hedgehog sightings increased by 39% and their habitat range increased by 21%.
Recent research has shown that hedgehogs survival depends more and more on naturally kept gardens and green spaces in urban areas.
Work with us to keep our Chiswick populations alive.
Click below to learn how to help!
Here are some documents and fact sheets about Hedgehogs that may help you to help them!