02 May 2022
Recording of the week: Have you heard a hedgehog huff?
This week's selection comes from Dr Madeline White, Curator of Oral History.
We all know what a hedgehog looks like: small, brown, covered in prickly spines, adorable by any measure. Few of us have seen one in the wild though, much less heard the noises they make. As nocturnal creatures who like to hide in the undergrowth they are already hard to spot, but their habitats are at risk from urbanisation and their numbers in the UK are in jeopardy.
I took this photo outside my house in 2017. It was my third encounter with a hedgehog in the middle of the road in as many weeks. Each time I dutifully donned some gardening gloves and moved them out of the road into a bushy area close by. As delightful as the opportunity to see a hedgehog up close was, it was worrying that I was seeing them with such frequency in the middle of the road. A hedgehog can travel around a mile a night to find food and a mate. But as more people build walls and fences on the boundaries of their homes and gardens, the pathways that hedgehogs take between them are closed off, forcing them out of the safety of the garden and into the danger of the road.
This week is Hedgehog Awareness Week, a campaign run by the British Hedgehog Preservation Society that highlights the problems hedgehogs face and what the public can do to help. One of the simplest actions we can take is to make ‘hedgehog highways’ in our fences to give hedgehogs like Hugo safe routes between gardens.
So have you ever heard a hedgehog huff? Perhaps not, but courtesy of the British Library Sound Archive, you can now. As you listen, I encourage you to think of ways you can help the hedgehogs where you live: