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Hedgehogs could give climate clues

Hedgehogs don’t get much attention – they’re small, prickly animals that are awake at night and like to feed on insects. But their seasonal habits are gaining interest among scientists everywhere as a possible insight into climate change. Why?

Hedgehogs hibernate in the winter and usually emerge back into the world in March. But scientists say if the little creatures come out earlier or later, it could be an indicator of climate change. And on top of that, the number of hedgehogs has been declining quickly. Research reports show the population has plummeted from around 30 million in the 1950’s to just 1.5 million in 1995.

That’s why a few wildlife charities in the UK – including the The People’s Trust for Endangered Species and the British Hedgehog Preservation Society – want a special study to be conducted that would look into both the population decline and the hibernation patterns of hedgehogs. They say that a previous study published in the 1970’s established a direct link between hedgehog hibernation and climate change patterns.


January 20, 2012



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