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University researchers want you to keep an eye out for prickly garden visitors!


From this week's Galway City Tribune

From this week's Galway City Tribune

University researchers want you to keep an eye out for prickly garden visitors! University researchers want you to keep an eye out for prickly garden visitors!

Researchers from University of Galway are asking people in the city to keep an eye out for hedgehogs – after noticing a spike in numbers.

A new online survey is underway to gather information about what kind of gardens people have and whether hedgehogs use them.

For the ‘Hedgehogs in the City’ project, the researchers are asking people from three areas – Renmore, Mervue and Rahoon – to take part.

Researchers from UG led the All-Ireland Hedgehog Survey, which was established in 2020.

To date, more than 7,000 records of hedgehogs have been received from all over the country, with more than half of these recorded in people’s gardens.

Now the scientists want to take a closer look at city-dwelling hedgehogs and, thanks to the All-Ireland Hedgehog Survey, they have pinpointed parts of Galway City which have hedgehog populations.

Elaine O’Riordan, from the School of Natural Science at University of Galway, said: “We are learning a lot about how hedgehogs use gardens. Many householders have reported that hedgehogs visit regularly, or nest in their garden. Many people enjoy watching their night-time visitors and some supply food and even hedgehog houses to encourage them to hang out.

“Renmore, Mervue and Rahoon all have several reports of hedgehogs every year, which would indicate that they have good hedgehog numbers. We want to look at the gardens and talk to people in these areas to learn more about how hedgehogs are using gardens and estates and how people are interacting with them.”

It is a very simple, short questionnaire. The researchers would like as many people as possible to take the survey – even if you have never seen a hedgehog before.

Later in the summer, the hedgehog team plan to visit some of the gardens and green spaces in the three areas of the city to search for hedgehogs using wildlife cameras and footprint tunnels. If anyone is interested in having their garden surveyed, they can sign up when they do the online survey.

Many people are surprised to learn that hedgehogs are found in cities and towns, but urban gardens and parks are very important habitats for these mammals and a whole host of other wildlife.

There have been reports from England and other countries warning of dramatic reductions of hedgehog populations in rural areas over the last couple of decades. However, the decline is much slower in urban areas, as gardens and green areas act as a refuge for the animals.

To access the survey, visit and click on the ‘Hedgehogs in the City’ section.


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