Hedgehogs making a comeback in annual BBC Gardeners’ World Magazine Survey

Thursday 22 February, 2024

Sightings increased by 2.7 percentage points in urban areas, after consecutive years of decline

BBC Gardeners’ World Magazine’s annual Wildlife Survey has revealed that hedgehog sightings in the UK increased by 2 percentage points after two consecutive years in decline.

The annual survey asked respondents whether they had seen a hedgehog in their garden in 2023:

  • In 2023, 33% of respondents reported seeing hedgehog in their garden, up from 31% in 2022.
  • When those who observed hedgehogs in their gardens this year were asked about hedgehog’s sightings change as compared to the previous year, 21% either saw them for the first time in 2023, or saw them more often as compared to 2022
  • 67% had not seen a hedgehog in their garden in last 12 months when surveyed.

The increase in sightings of hedgehogs was highest in urban and rural areas:

  • In urban areas, 18% of respondents saw hedgehogs in the last year, up 2.7 percentage points from 2022
  • In suburban areas, 31% of respondents spotted hedgehogs in 2023, up 1 percentage point from 2022
    In rural areas, 43% of respondents observed hedgehogs in the last year, up 1 percentage point from 2022

The State of Britain’s Hedgehogs 2022 report reveals hedgehogs have declined by between 30% – 75% across different areas of the countryside since 2000. However, numbers may be stabilising in urban areas.

Urban gardens are a lifeline for hedgehogs with 77% of respondents implementing steps to improve their garden for wildlife in 2023. Hedgehogs are an urban favourite with 62% respondents willing to more for them, including:

  • Avoiding the use of slug pellets
  • Maintaining natural and less tidy gardens
  • Thoroughly reviewing garden ahead of strimming

“Gardeners’ cherished friend, the humble hedgehog, has become one of the most endearing allies in our gardens. It’s wonderful to witness an increase in sightings. Our ongoing efforts to educate people about wildlife-friendly gardening, such as creating openings in fences and providing secluded spaces for nesting and hibernation, are helping turn our gardens into the havens that hedgehogs have long enjoyed. The recent surge in hedgehog sightings is a positive indication that we’re making progress in coexisting with nature, even in bustling urban areas. It serves as a reminder that each of us plays a crucial role in caring for our wildlife”

Kevin Smith, Editor, BBC Gardeners’ World Magazine

Headshot of Kevin Smith, Head of Content, BBC Gardeners' World, Immediate Media Co.