Spike in hedgehog sightings at annual Dutch count

Young hedgehog in natural habitat

Hedgehog numbers have increased significantly according to the annual count at the weekend but this could be down to an equally dramatic increase in the number of spotters, organisers have said.

Some 9,400 hedgehogs were counted in Dutch gardens and hedgerows last year compared to 12,888 last weekend and into Monday morning.

The annual count appeared to be heading for a fall in numbers on Saturday when only 2,400 sightings were reported.

On Sunday, the count accelerated when the number of people keeping an eye out for hedgehogs in their gardens rose from 1,000 to over 5,000, boosting the number of reported sightings.

Zuid-Holland garden owners spotted the most hedgehogs with 1,022 while in Flevoland just 159 sightings were reported. Some 325 dead hedgehogs were found as well.

People who are lucky enough to have hedgehogs in their garden are advised to help them prepare for their imminent hibernation by putting out water and dried cat food, which is easiest to digest, organisers said.

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