Hedgehogs may be growing in popularity as pets, but in their wild, their numbers are dwindling.
In Britain, hedgehogs roam the wild much like squirrels and chipmunks, taking refuge in backyards and forests. In the 1950s there was an estimated 30 million of these prickly creatures roaming the British landscape, but this number has dropped to a shocking 1 million today.
What's even more terrifying is that much of this loss has occurred in the past 10 years. For hedgehogs in the city, numbers are down a third since 2000 and for those in the wild, the number has been cut at least by half.
Unfortunately, scientists aren't quite sure why we're seeing such drastic decreases in the hedgehog population, but they do have a few guesses. Unsurprisingly, their main suspect is the loss of hedgehog's natural habitats due to farming as well as road deaths due to increased infrastructure. Another potential cause is the increased number of badgers in the country, who are able to get around a hedgehog's protective quills.
While these numbers may be frightening, there are some things that people can do to help protect the remaining hedgehog population. To make their yards hedgehog friendly, homeowners can avoid the use of chemicals to treat grass and bugs, leave twigs and leaves so hedgehogs can use them for shelter, and to do a thorough check in any grass or shrubs before trimming or lighting bonfires.
If we all pitch in, we can help ensure that the wild hedgehog population is here for years to come.
Have you ever seen a hedgehog in the wild? Let us know in the comments!