Hedgehog numbers fall. Where have they all gone?

Hedgehog numbers have suffered a long-term decline with populations thought to have fallen by 30 per cent since 2003.

Almost half of people have never seen a hedgehog in their garden. And the wildlife survey suggests a further decline for the prickly garden visitor.

Only one in 10 said they saw the much-loved mammal regularly in their gardens. That’s a total of 11 per cent of the 2,348 people questioned. But almost half, 48 per cent, had never seen one.

Just 29 per cent of people taking part in the survey for BBC Gardener’s World Magazine had seen a hedgehog in their garden in the last year. The figure is down from 32 per cent the previous year.

The hedgehog continues to see its numbers drop. Experts say populations have fallen by 30 per cent since 2003 to less than a million in the UK. That is down from estimated populations of 36 million in the 1950s.

watkin and williams, diy llangollen, hedgehog, hedgehog numbers

When asked which one UK species they would like to save from extinction, 52 per cent said hedgehogs. The figure beat other at-risk British species such as the sparrow, puffin, mistle thrush and hairy footed bumblebee.

Lucy Hall, BBC Gardener’s World editor, said: “The much-loved humble hog is among gardeners’ most appealing natural allies. But they’re disappearing on our watch. If we act collectively now, we can still help save the species for future generations, but time is running out.”

The magazine has drawn up a list of tips to help save hedgehogs. They include planting hedges, cutting holes under fences, making ponds safe, not using slug pellets, leaving out dog or cat food – which you can buy at our store.

The advice also urges people to check bonfires for hedgehogs nesting or hibernating under them before lighting them.