Hedgehogs spotted in a quarter of UK gardens says RSPB

Hedgehog in a garden
Image caption Hedgehogs visit a third of town gardens, the charity's survey found

Hedgehogs regularly visit almost 25% of UK gardens according to a survey published by bird charity, the RSPB.

More than 90,000 volunteers took part in the survey which counted the number of birds and mammals in nearly 70,000 gardens in June.

The count was one of the first since winter and it reported on sightings of moles and roe deer for the first time.

The figures also showed that blackbirds are still the most frequent visitor to UK gardens.

The RSPB says the Make Your Nature Count Survey, which was carried out in June, has come up with some surprising results.

Organiser Richard Bashford says that for some species the survey is the only way of counting them.

"Lots of people see hedgehogs, moles and deer in their gardens which you may only expect to see in the wider countryside," he said.

Getting "nose-to-nose"

In urban areas, 30% of those taking part had seen hedgehogs in their gardens before and more than one in seven sees them regularly.

In rural areas, hedgehogs were reported in almost half of gardens where more than a quarter of people see them monthly.

Hedgehog expert Hugh Warwick says the findings highlight the importance of garden habitats.

"We should treasure the fact that they live comfortably in our gardens and so many people can get nose-to-nose with them," he said.

This year's survey was the first to ask for sightings of moles and roe deer with 14% recording mole sightings, including molehills.

Roe deer were spotted in 5% of gardens, with most sightings in Scotland.

Volunteers were also asked to record sightings of common birds - the blackbird came top followed by the wood pigeon.

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