A recent study by the University of Hamburg shows many urban areas have higher hedgehog populations than the surrounding rural areas, and the city livers actually change their lifestyle to adapt to the urban environment.
Data collected shows the urban ‘hedgie’ is much different than its country cousins. In the city, hedgehogs covered a much smaller range at night time compared to their rural counterparts – 5 hectares versus 50 hectares.
They also adjust their activity to levels of human disturbance, sleeping in gardens during the day and becoming active in the evening after visitors depart from public parks where by midnight the nocturnal creatures rule.
The research also showed that urban hedgehogs followed the same hibernation patterns as their rural counterparts. That was surprising since in the city, the hedgehogs have access to plenty of food scraps and cat food, which the researchers thought might change their hibernation pattern.
The finding means homeowners and land managers can help in the hibernation of hedgehogs when managing vegetation by having plenty of natural, bushy areas and less immaculately pruned vegetation.
While hedgehogs in mainland Europe seem to be doing fine, their numbers in Britain have plummeted, with rural population dropping by half and urban hedgehogs declining by one third since 2000, according to a report by the Hedgehog Preservation Society in 2015. The problem is likely caused by habitat destruction from farming and urban development.