Hedgehog

Why is it a problem?

Introduced into New Zealand from Britain in 1870, hedgehogs were another way that Europen settlers could be reminded of ‘home’, and to help control garden slugs, snails and insects. Surprisingly, the extent to which hedgehogs impact upon the New Zealand environment has only recently begun to be understood. They have a voracious appetite, are a proven major predator of the eggs of breeding river birds, and they prey on endemic invertebrates and lizards. Moreover, the legacy of this British import continues to this day with the perception that hedgehogs are endearing and harmless creatures leading to a growth of ‘hedgehog rescue’ groups.

Hedgehog eating eggs

Description

The European hedgehog (Erinaceus europaeus), also known as the West European hedgehog or common hedgehog is a small nocturnal mammal, grey-brown in colour with its back and sides entirely covered with spines, 150-250mm long. They are a maximum weight of 1kg, but their weight can drop dramatically during winter hibernation.

Where is it found?

Abundant along all braided rivers, particularly in lowland areas near farms.

Trapping on the Dart River (2019): Routeburn Dart Wildlife Trust

Conservation activities