Hedgehogs affected by climate change

Fri, Mar 16, 2012

Climate Change, UK Climate Change

Gardening is not just about caring for our plants but should also include helping eco-systems to thrive which includes the birds, insects and animals that co-exist in many of our gardens.

Hedgehogs are being seriously challenged by our changing climate and gardeners can help find out if hedgehogs are emerging from hibernation earlier because of climate change – and what impact that is having on populations.

The People’s Trust for Endangered Species (PTES) wants to update research carried out 40 years ago which showed that hedgehogs in the south west of England came out of hibernation up to three weeks earlier than those living in Scotland – suggesting a link between climate and hibernation patterns.

‘Mild weather can delay hedgehogs entering into hibernation or elicit premature awakening,’ said hedgehog expert Dr Pat Morris, who carried out the research. ‘That impacts on the creature’s fat reserves and breeding times and consequently affects the long-term survival of the species.’

It’s hoped that by comparing data collected by members of the public this year with the last set of statistics collected in the 1970s, any changes in hibernation patterns will become clear. A survey last year found hedgehog populations have fallen by at least a quarter over the last decade and it’s thought the unusual weather of recent years may be playing a part.

To join in with the survey, record any sightings of hedgehogs as they emerge in spring after hibernation, including their location and any details about their health. Results can be recorded on the charity’s website (www.hedgehogstreet.org) until the end of August.


This post was written by:

- who has written 872 posts on My Climate Change Garden.

I am not an experienced gardener - more of an enthusiastic amateur who learns by trial and error and who is keen to "manage" the effects of shifting weather patterns on my garden. Writing this blog is my passion and it has evolved over 12 years to inspire engagement with climate change outside our back doors, in our personal gardens and green spaces. My mission is to fertilise and expand this platform to grow a community of global gardeners communicating about the effects of climate change on our plants and exploring how each individual can make small changes in our lives to become more sustainable. The future of our gardens and #OurPlanet is in our hands - please plant your own seeds for our collective sustainable future.

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