MAIN MENU (leading to individual articles):
AMPHIBIANS   |   BIRDS  |  BUTTERFLIIES  |  MOTHS  | DRAGONFLIES  |  OTHER INSECTS
MAMMALS   |  PLANTS  |  ORCHIDS   |  LICHENS  |  FUNGI
 |  WHAT TO SEE MONTH BY MONTH  
FURNESS  |  BIRKRIGG COMMON  |  CONTACT DETAILS  |  HOME




THE HEDGEHOG IN CUMBRIA

Hedgehogs have declined nationally (some estimates say from around 35 million to a little over 1 million over the last fifty years), but little is known about any decline of Hedgehogs in Cumbria. Hedgehogs are common and widespread in Cumbria, being widely reported from the coastal lowland areas and valleys. They generally avoid very open areas of moorland and high ground, as the leaf litter needed for nest building and hibernation is not available.

This is not an easy species to survey. The largest number of records inevitably comes from road casualties. Between March and October, however, they can be seen and watched quite easily in gardens, although many people probably never investigate during the hours of darkness and are unaware that these popular creatures are quietly busy reducing the number of slugs and snails. Our resident member of the species does a splendid job and, having sampled the delights of our rockery, will sometimes pretend to take a nap when we go out (see photo)!

Apart from the dangers of death by car tyre, Hedgehogs are poisoned by eating fresh slug pellets and eaten by an ever increasing number of Badgers, which turn them over and attack the unprotected belly. They can be burnt in winter bonfires where they have hibernated and seriously injured by the modern practice of strimming undegrowth. Removal of hedgerows has greatly reduced the available habitat - their name stems from the pig-like grunts that can be heard in our hedges. In recent years gardens have also been replaced by paving, gravel and decking and enclosed by solid fences and walls, these acting as barriers to movement (Hedgehogs may roam for two miles each night in search of food).

Hedgehogs are notorious for being flea-ridden but the specific hedgehog flea rarely bites humans.

Don't feed Hedgehogs with bread and milk as both are harmful - use cat and dog food, or one of the 'hedgehog' foods now sold by many pet stores. "Our" hedgehogs clean up under the bird table.