Over-winter survival and nest site selection of the West-European hedgehog (Erinaceus europaeus) in arable dominated landscapes

Bearman-Brown, L.E., Baker, P.J., Scott, D., Uzal, A. ORCID: 0000-0001-6478-1895, Evans, L. and Yarnell, R.W. ORCID: 0000-0001-6584-7374, 2020. Over-winter survival and nest site selection of the West-European hedgehog (Erinaceus europaeus) in arable dominated landscapes. Animals, 10 (9): 1449. ISSN 2076-2615

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Abstract

The West-European hedgehog (Erinaceus europaeus) has declined markedly in the UK. The winter hibernation period may make hedgehogs vulnerable to anthropogenic habitat and climate changes. Therefore, we studied two contrasting populations in England to examine patterns of winter nest use, body mass changes and survival during hibernation. No between-site differences were evident in body mass prior to hibernation nor the number of winter nests used, but significant differences in overwinter mass change and survival were observed. Mass change did not, however, affect survival rates; all deaths occurred prior to or after the hibernation period, mainly from predation or vehicle collisions. Hedgehogs consistently nested in proximity to hedgerows, roads and woodlands, but avoided pasture fields; differences between sites were evident for the selection for or avoidance of arable fields, amenity grassland and buildings. Collectively, these data indicate that hibernation was not a period of significant mortality for individuals that had attained sufficient weight (>600 g) pre-hibernation. Conversely, habitat composition did significantly affect the positioning of winter nests, such that different land management practices (historic and current) might potentially influence hibernation success. The limitations of this study and suggestions for future research are discussed.

Item Type: Journal article
Publication Title: Animals
Creators: Bearman-Brown, L.E., Baker, P.J., Scott, D., Uzal, A., Evans, L. and Yarnell, R.W.
Publisher: MDPI AG
Date: 19 August 2020
Volume: 10
Number: 9
ISSN: 2076-2615
Identifiers:
NumberType
10.3390/ani10091449DOI
1365210Other
Rights: © 2020 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).
Divisions: Schools > School of Animal, Rural and Environmental Sciences
Record created by: Jonathan Gallacher
Date Added: 11 Sep 2020 13:23
Last Modified: 17 Nov 2020 14:57
URI: http://irep.ntu.ac.uk/id/eprint/40687

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