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Jeike et al. (2015) hedgehog Dutch urban badgers

Title: Dutch hedgehogs Erinaceus europaeus are nowadays mainly found in urban areas, possibly due to the negative effects of badgers Meles meles, Wildlife Biology 21; 51-55. 2015

Authors: J.L. van de Poel, J. Dekker & F. Van Langevelde

Country: Netherlands

Background to study

An investigation into environmental factors that explain the distribution of hedgehogs and badgers.


  • Badger presence was determined by experienced civil scientists that surveyed suitable habitat for active setts, tracks, dung pits and hair snags.
  • Hedgehog presence was determined by combined data from ad hoc sightings by public and from records generated from ‘the year of the hedgehog’ Mammal Society outreach programme in 2009.
  • Badger and hedgehog presence between 2007 and 2010 was mapped for 1 km grid squares.
  • Environmental variables included the % cover/grid square of arable, recreation, swamp, urban, wood and heath land uses alongside road surface and average ground water levels in spring.
  • Factors influencing hedgehog and badger presence were modelled using species distribution models and the influence of badgers on hedgehog distribution was investigated by testing the influence of interactions between badgers and environmental variables on hedgehog distribution.

Key results

  • The distribution of hedgehogs was positively influenced by recreational areas (parks), urban areas and roads, whilst these factors negatively influenced the distribution of badgers.
  • Badger distribution was positively related to the relative cover of sandy soils and wood, whilst these factors did not explain hedgehog presence.
  • The relative cover of arable land positively influenced the presence of both badgers and hedgehogs.
  • There was a negative effect of badgers on hedgehog presence.
  • Open habitats, in particular swampy areas and areas with light or heavy clay soils negatively influenced the presence of badgers and hedgehogs.

Key messages to landowners and managers derived from these results

  • Establishing refuge habitat such as hedgerows and grassy margins for hedgehogs in arable land where they coexist with badgers is recommended to reduce the predation of hedgehogs by badgers.


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