Reading University’s School of Biological Sciences is calling for help from town residents to monitor hedgehog populations.
Dr Philip Baker and his team are trying to work out if habitat fragmentation has reduced the size of breeding groups. They are also comparing urban with rural hedgehog populations.
“The urban heat island effect means that town hedgehogs may be more active than country ones, particularly during the hibernation period,” said Dr Baker.
“A flattened hedgehog might suggest the local population is under stress, but it could also mean there are more hedgehogs in the area after a successful breeding season,” he added.
The People’s Trust for Endangered Species estimates that UK hedgehog numbers have fallen by 30% since 2002.
Dr Baker and his group need reports of dead hedgehogs in the Reading area as soon as possible after discovery so that one of his team can collect the remains for analysis. They would also like reports of live hedgehogs so they can get a measure of population levels in the area.
The study covers Reading and the M4 corridor towards Bristol.
You can phone or text Dr Baker on 07960 212624, or email him at [email protected].