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Is the hedgehog population being affected by climate change?

Posted on 18/01/2012

HedgehogThe hedgehog population in the UK was an estimated 30 million strong in the 1950s. This has now fallen to less than 1.5 million. 

Dr Pat Morris, a former researcher with Royal Holloway, University of London’s School of Biological Sciences is supporting the British Hedgehog Preservation Society and People's Trust for Endangered Species, to see if global warming has changed things.

Dr Morris explained that the world’s climate has warmed since the 1950s and high temperatures during hibernation could be a problem - as are extremely cold periods.

He said: "Ideally they [hedgehogs] want to hibernate just below freezing point.

“A very long period with low temperatures mean fat reserves get used up more quickly in keeping the animals warm; but they also get used up more quickly if temperatures rise to 8-10C during this period, simply because chemical reactions - which metabolism basically is - proceed faster at higher temperatures."

Register to take part in the Hedgehog Hibernation Survey

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