Hedgehogs: recent evidence of their impacts on native fauna

Hedgehogs: recent evidence of their impacts on native fauna

It seems the more we look, the more we find when it comes to the impacts of invasive pests. European hedgehogs are no exception. Once thought to provide a service by preying on garden pests such as slugs and snails, hedgehogs are now known to also prey on a wide variety of native species, including invertebrates, lizards, and the eggs and chicks of a range of native birds. We have learnt this by sorting through the remains of prey in their droppings and stomachs.

For example, 21% of hedgehog guts (each reflecting a single night’s feeding) from Macraes Flat, north Otago, contained native skink remains; a single hedgehog dropping from near Alexandra contained 10 McCann’s skink feet; and two separate studies have shown that female hedgehogs are three times more likely than males to have eaten native lizards. Rare native invertebrates are also eaten widely, and a single hedgehog gut from the central South Island was found to contain 283 wētā legs!

Diet composition is one thing, but the real impacts on native species are often more difficult to measure. Research over the past 15 years has begun to clarify the picture.

For more information read the full article from Predator Free NZ 

John checks trapline D

John checks trapline D

The 24th April 2015 was a beautiful day with a slight wind blowing as John and his new recruit Denise went out to check the traps on trapline D.

P1050488The bait was gone in most of the traps but four held remains of rats and one a hedgehog.

John carefully cleaned out the traps anP1050490d re-baited them with freeze dried rabbit bait (FDR).

 

 

 

 

The scenery was stunning along the ridge above Waiti Bay, with spectacular views out to sea.

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But walking along deserted Tawhitakino Bay with the tide lapping at our feet was amazing.

No Weka were seen on this trip, but we did hear some scuttling in the undergrowth near where a trap was being cleaned, followed with some calling close by!

With John and all the volunteers helping with these traplines, hopefully, in the not too distant future, Weka will be seen and heard a great deal more.