Researchers at the University of Hamburg noticed that urban areas have higher populations of hedgehogs than rural areas, so they asked the question: What gives?
Image: Chris McGrath/Getty Images
It turns out these cute, little, pointy buggers are highly flexible and have adapted to humans living in their environments very well. Even when they were nesting next to populated areas or busy roads, they were able to keep similar hibernation patterns to rural hedgehogs.
In a study to be presented at this year’s Society for Experimental Biology Annual Meeting, the researchers attached free-ranging hedgehogs with temperature-sensitive transmitters that measured hibernation and nesting activity.
“We found that urban hedgehogs had much smaller nightly ranging areas than their rural counterparts… and that they adjusted their activity to levels of human disturbance,” said lead researcher Dr Lisa Warnecke.
Of course, this means that people living in urban areas with hedgehog populations should take care to not disturb nests – as should anyone living in areas with populations of native animals. If you have a garden, you need to be extra careful with things such as fences and gardening tools, which can harm them.