Dutch hedgehogs Erinaceus europaeus are nowadays mainly found in urban areas, possibly due to the negative Effects of badgers Meles meles

Poel, J. van de; Dekker, J.J.A.; Langevelde, F. van


In several west European countries, the distribution of hedgehogs Erinaceus europaeus is declining. In the UK, predation by the European badger Meles meles is considered to be the main death cause of hedgehogs. In the Netherlands, badger density is rising, which suggests the same cause for the decline. As landscape and land use largely diff er between the UK and the Netherlands, we investigated the relationship between the distribution of badgers and hedgehogs in the Netherlands. Th erefore, we used the presence of badgers and hedgehogs recorded in the period 2007 – 2010 in grid cells of 1 km 2 , together with environmental variables, i.e. land-use types and soil types, to describe the habitat of both species. Although the distribution of badgers in the Netherlands is still limited, we found indeed a negative eff ect of badger presence on hedgehog presence. We also found a positive eff ect of urban area, recreational land use and roads on hedgehog presence, whereas these types had a negative eff ect on badger presence. Our study suggests that hedgehogs in the Netherlands are nowadays found close to human occupation, possibly due to the negative eff ect of badgers. Th ese results contribute to understanding of the declining distribution of hedgehogs in western Europe.