NATURE: Prickly outlook for hedgehogs

Click to follow
The perils of life as a hedgehog were highlighted yesterday by a study which showed that up to 75 per cent face an early death - largely because of the hazards of the human environment.

Of 12 released into the wild in Surrey, only three were definitely still alive 15 weeks later, the research found. The animals dispersed widely - over distances up to 3km.

Six died in accidents, including three hit by cars, while one, having done well for 71 days, drowned in a steep-sided garden pond. One became the unlucky victim of a badger.

Dr Nigel Reeve, a lecturer and researcher at Roehampton Institute, London, who carried out the study, wrote in Nature Line, the magazine of Surrey Wildlife Trust: "We must be very concerned that a hedgehog's life seems to be so dangerous. Of seven recorded deaths, only one was the result of a failure to thrive and all other mortality was accidental."