The breeding biology of introduced hedgehogs (Erinaceus europaeus) on a Scottish Island: lessons for population control and bird conservation

Publication Type:Journal Article
Year of Publication:2006
Authors:D. B. Jackson
Journal:J. Zool.
Keywords:Hedgehogs, Mammals

The breeding biology of a recently (1974) introduced hedgehog Erinaceus europaeus population was studied on a large Scottish island. These hedgehogs have caused serious declines in internationally important ground-nesting shorebirds, and population control is now being attempted. Sexual behaviour commenced in late April, a few days after the main emergence from hibernation. It peaked in mid- May and again in late June/early July, and ceased by mid-August. Females were promiscuous and were estimated to have sexual encounters (although not necessarily matings) with at least five males during the main mating period. Twothirds of females attempted to breed for the first time in their second calendar year (i.e. as sub-adults), and the rest in their third calendar year (i.e. as adults). At least 96{%} (n=27) of adult females attempted to breed in the early part of the season (litters born in June). The vast majority (81{%

Scratchpads developed and conceived by (alphabetical): Ed Baker, Katherine Bouton Alice Heaton Dimitris Koureas, Laurence Livermore, Dave Roberts, Simon Rycroft, Ben Scott, Vince Smith