Bromley biodiversity species action plan: hedgehog
Between 2000 and 2015 hedgehog populations in England fell by more than 50 percent in rural areas; 33 percent in urban areas. In Bromley, hedgehogs are rarely recorded. For a hedgehog population to be sustainable it needs a minimum of 30 animals and at least 90 hectares (over 200 acres) of continuous well-connected parks and gardens. Hedgehogs are solitary except when raising young.
They are nocturnal and during spring, summer and autumn spend daytime sleeping in nests of leaves, waking at dusk to hunt for soil invertebrates such as slugs, beetles, earwigs, worms, caterpillars, and millipedes. They change their nests frequently, especially male animals, and in summer sometimes just hide in tussocky grass. Hedgehogs travel 1-2 kms/ night searching for food. Male animals may travel further when in search of mates. They mate in April then the male leaves the female.
Their mother takes them out on their first foraging trip at about 4 weeks and continues to suckle them until they can hunt for themselves. By six weeks they should be independent and will leave the nest area. In winter when less food is available, hedgehogs hibernate in a nest of dead leaves and grass beneath deep leaf litter in woodland or beneath hedgerows, scrub or even garden sheds.
Threats to hedgehogs in London Borough of Bromley
- Decline in invertebrate numbers & foraging areas (rough grassland, hedgerows, scrub). Within gardens foraging areas lost to paving & decking.
- Loss of habitat for nesting/hibernating- scrub, wild undisturbed areas.
- Habitat fragmentation –wider, faster and more roads & secure gardens with lack of access.
- Pesticides, which reduce numbers of invertebrate prey and kill hedgehogs which eat poisoned invertebrates.
- Hazards e.g. ponds with straight sides, netting, litter-especially cans and cups containing food remains.
- Gardens with steep sided changes in levels where hedgehogs can become trapped in small areas with steep sides.
- Use of strimmers on long grass or scrub where they may be sleeping during the day.
- Bonfires: check any pile of brash etc. before burning it.
- NERC Act 2006 (as amended) England Section 41 species
- Priority BAP Species under the UK Post-2010 Biodiversity Framework
- Mammal Society Red List: Vulnerable
- London Priority Species (2019)
- Bromley Priority Species
Actions carried out 2017-2020
Citizen science survey arranged and collated 2017-2019 has highlighted a few areas in the borough where records have been sent from several gardens. Reports have been produced annually, distribution maps produced 2019. These have been sent out to survey participants, BBPartnership members, Stakeholder and Countryside Consultative Panel (CCP) members.
Leaflets have been posted targeting streets where hedgehogs have been sighted, giving advice on how to help hedgehogs as they travel through their gardens and green spaces (2018 & 2019). Sue Holland and Steven Lofting of idverde/RSPB.
Three tunnel surveys carried out on Bromley owned land in 2018 (Jail Lane, Clockhouse & Downe Orchards) and a further three were carried out in 2019 (Strawberry Bank, Pratts Bottom & Den Barn). Sue Holland and Steven Lofting of idverde/RSPB.
All records sent to Greenspace Information for Greater London (GiGL) & Hedgehog Street. Hedgehog talks arranged by Bromley RSPB and Orpington Field Club in 2019. Both well attended.
|Produce posters promoting hedgehog survey||Bromley Biodiversity Partnership sub - group.|
|Advertise hedgehog survey including through libraries||Bromley Biodiversity Partnership: All Friends Groups|
|Send hedgehog records with postcode, date, recorder name (if possible) to email@example.com||Bromley Biodiversity Partnership: All members, Friends Groups|
|Collate records, publish reports and accompanying maps annually and distribute to participants,||Bromley Biodiversity Partnership sub - group. BBPartnership, CCP & Stakeholder Panel members, LBB Planners|
Send hedgehog records without personal data to Hedgehog street and greenspace Information for Greater London (GiGL)
|Bromley Biodiversity Partnership sub- group
Publicise threats to hedgehogs and possible actions to residents, school, sports and community groups through talks, posters etc
idverde, Bromley Biodiversity Partnership sub-group & all partnership members
Highlight the importance of green corridors between sites which have hedgehogs and encourage hedgehog friendly features along these corridors.
|idverde, Bromley Biodiversity Partnership|
Work with allotment holders and schools to widen survey, improve conditions for hedgehogs and improve links between areas known to be used by hedgehogs.
Idverde, Bromley Biodiversity Partnership sub-group, Friends Groups with parks near hedgehog sightings
|Check planning applications in areas where hedgehogs are recorded.||Bromley Biodiversity Partnership: All|
|Make installation of hedgehog highways a condition of planning permission where appropriate.||LBB planning department, developers|
Install 13 x 13 cm holes at fence bases where appropriate to link gardens & greenspaces & to keep hedgehogs away from roads as much as possible.
|Bromley Biodiversity Partnership all members, land owners & managers|
Stop pesticide use (including herbicides & fungicides) except in exceptional circumstances so hedgehogs can find enough invertebrates & don’t eat poisoned ones.
|LBB, idverde, Land Managers, Bromley Biodiversity Partnership: all members|
|Encourage gardening for wildlife to provide food and shelter for hedgehogs.||Bromley Biodiversity Partnership: All members|
|Encourage planting of native species rich hedgerows wherever appropriate, in school grounds, parks, allotments, sports grounds etc to provide protected areas for shelter & hibernation. See https://www.bromleyfriendsforum.org/biodiversity.html & https://www.bromleyfriendsforum.org/uploads/1/0/7/2/10 726735/native_plants_for_gardens_v2.pdf||Bromley Biodiversity Partnership: all members, idverde, Friends Forum, Friends Groups|
|Publicise the problem of steep sided ponds||Bromley Biodiversity Partnership: All|
|Ensure ponds have access which allows hedgehogs to exit ponds if they fall in, eg a ramp.||
All landowners and managers including LBB and Idverde. All Bromley Biodiversity Partnership members
Protect and maintain scrub whilst preventing encroachment of other habitats through good management
|Land managers all|
|Encourage ‘untidy’ areas in gardens with log piles, dead leaves etc to provide resting and hibernating opportunities. In areas where hedgehogs recorded, encourage making and installation of hedgehog homes. See https://www.hedgehogstreet.org/help- hedgehogs/hedgehog-homes||Bromley Biodiversity Partnership: all members|
|When strimming scrub or long grass check area for hedgehogs first.||Land managers including Idverde Bromley Biodiversity Partnership all members,volunteers|
|If you have a bonfire, check any pile of brash etc. before burning it.||Bromley Biodiversity Partnership all members|
Encourage all to ensure netting is about 30cms above ground so hedgehogs can pass underneath. Store unused netting in sheds etc & remove all discarded netting.
|Bromley Biodiversity Partnership all members.|