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  #1 (permalink)  
Old 24-07-2012, 12:24 PM
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Hedgehogs as badgers' snacks?

Dear forum.

I have read in several scientific articles that badgers do occasionally feed on hedgehogs.

Do any of you know how often they would do that-- if a hedgehog is preferred over for example a worm? And do badgers eat adult hedgehogs as well as hoglets? Do badgers pose a threat locally to the hedgehog population?

Kind regards, Sophie
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Old 24-07-2012, 01:11 PM
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Re: Hedgehogs as badgers' snacks?

I dont think there are any hard fast rules to how and when a badger will eat hedgehogs, a badgers diet is very varied and I would imagine they will eat what they can when they can. But I would ask you to consider how long badgers and hedgehogs have lived side by side without any drastic decline in hedgehog numbers. We are the problem I'm afraid when it comes to the decline of hedgehogs. Where there is a very small pocket of local isolated hedgehogs then yes badgers might pose a risk BUT it is because of us that the hedgehogs are in that situation in the first place. Perhaps if we all did more to help them rather than looking where else we can distribute blame they might do better. Sorry for the rambling rant :-)
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Old 24-07-2012, 01:23 PM
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Re: Hedgehogs as badgers' snacks?

Thank you for the reply. I agree about the hedgehog situation and I am not trying to portray the badgers as scapegoats But where I am from (Denmark) we apparently do not have any records of badgers eating hedgehogs, so I am just trying to get an impression of how strong the predation pressure actually is in the UK.
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Old 24-07-2012, 02:14 PM
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Re: Hedgehogs as badgers' snacks?

Sorry I wasn't suggesting that you were making badgers scapegoats, I just think we need to be careful how we word things, although badgers are already facing a cull in certain areas :-( but yes they certainly do predate hedgehogs but I would imagine it would be an opportunistic lucky find rather than a big part of the staple diet
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Old 24-07-2012, 02:48 PM
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Re: Hedgehogs as badgers' snacks?

Someone told me - and I forget who - that this is a learned behaviour: that some badgers know the trick of uncurling a hedgehog having been taught it by their parents, and some don't. Has anyone else heard this?
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Old 24-07-2012, 06:44 PM
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Re: Hedgehogs as badgers' snacks?

Badgers without doubt do pose threats to local hedgehog populations.

Sadly through our own encroachment into the countryside an area which once would have been host to one set and outliers now more likely has multiple badger clans. This means that hedgehogs are more likely to come into contact with badgers and also and significantly they compete for food e.g. earthworms.

Badgers are the one mammal that can uncurl and rip a hedgehog to pieces. As to if this is learned I have no idea, some foxes have learned that by urinating on a hedgehog they can uncurl it, they will also lay down behind a hedgehog until it unballs and go for the back. Many of the fox attacks we see in invloved back leg injuries.

Along with rescuing we record local hedgehog populations with members of the public providing their sighting to us. It is quite evident that in areas where there are known badger sets hedgehogs are either not in evidence or scarce. We also use this information when we return hedgehogs back into the wild to ensure that we avoid areas with noticable badger activity.

As has already been said, we can't demonise the badger at all, like many things we have upset the status quo.
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Old 24-07-2012, 06:53 PM
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Re: Hedgehogs as badgers' snacks?

I've reposted my comment from this thread: Badgers vs hedgehogs as I think it is relevant

Quote:
I think there are many factors affecting Hedgehogs, and predation by Badgers is but one. 20 years ago, the suburban area in which I live, had a large Hedgehog population, and there hasn't been a Badger in the area for at least 60 years, due to development. Yet, I haven't seen a Hedgehog here (dead or alive), for 6 or 7 years. Habitat loss has to have played a part in this, as 20 years ago, gardens in the neighbourhood were largely bordered by hedges, allowing easy access for foraging Hedgehogs. After 20 years, the gardens are largely bordered by high brick walls, or fences, but even if a Hedgehog were to gain access, it would encounter a sterile wasteland of patios, and decking.

There is a vast area in suburban/urban Britain, that should be providing an ideal Badger-free habitat for Hedgehogs, but this is sadly not the case, largely due to apathy.
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Old 24-07-2012, 07:43 PM
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Re: Hedgehogs as badgers' snacks?

totally agree Bob,

a lot of the educational work we do with schools and groups is about getting away from the awful have the garden as an extension of your living room e.g. deck it, pave it make it a sterile showcase.

We try to educate about having wild areas, wild flowers and native planting not show case flowers engineered to last for months and provide no wildlife benefit. Providing access through gardens, gaps in fences even better planting hedges etc. As well as the simple things such as don't be too tidy have a log pile rotting down, have a leaf pile etc.

Hedgehogs rely on our gardens for a lot of their habitat and that is where everyone can make a difference.

It's hard to change the way the countryside is managed but if everyone thought of their garden as their own bit of countryside then we would go a long way.
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Old 24-07-2012, 07:51 PM
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Re: Hedgehogs as badgers' snacks?

Quote:
Originally Posted by CharlieCreek View Post
totally agree Bob,

a lot of the educational work we do with schools and groups is about getting away from the awful have the garden as an extension of your living room e.g. deck it, pave it make it a sterile showcase.

We try to educate about having wild areas, wild flowers and native planting not show case flowers engineered to last for months and provide no wildlife benefit. Providing access through gardens, gaps in fences even better planting hedges etc. As well as the simple things such as don't be too tidy have a log pile rotting down, have a leaf pile etc.

Hedgehogs rely on our gardens for a lot of their habitat and that is where everyone can make a difference.

It's hard to change the way the countryside is managed but if everyone thought of their garden as their own bit of countryside then we would go a long way.
As my area is now sadly devoid of Hedgehogs, I've 'enclosed' it, and it's used by Cardiff Hedgehog Rescue for soft-release and rehabilitation

Blogs & Community - Cardiff Hedgehog Rescue
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Old 24-07-2012, 09:17 PM
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Re: Hedgehogs as badgers' snacks?

Reading Chris Feris's badger books she was of the opinion that not all badgers seem capable of uncurling hogs and that some who could had learned as youngsters from watching adult family members.

We humans are the hogs worst enemy. Only a couple of days ago I found a dead hog in a cattle grid. Cattle grids are the lazy farmers way of keeping cattle contained, it doesn't require opening and shutting like a gate and they are, in the long term, cheaper than gates. But how many are fitted with wildlife escape ramps? The one where I found the hog has no ramp in any of its four compartments and is a prison for any unfortunate creature falling in. And this particular grid has also claimed a couple of cattle after they fell in a broke their legs.

I hate cattle grids.
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