Coastal Restoration Trust of New Zealand

Coastal Dune Ecosystem Reference Database

Sand country ecology: The hedgehog population and invertebrate fauna of the west coast sand dunes Journal Paper

Brockie, R.E.
Journal / Source
New Zealand Journal of Ecology
Ten stomachs and 90 droppings of hedgehogs mainly from the Wellington province have been examined; food items present in the stomach were also detected in the rectal faeces. The main food items in suburban areas are slugs and millipedes although snails are frequently eaten. The main items of food on pasture land are slugs and moth caterpillars while in the sand dunes north of Paekakariki snails, millipedes, and frogs are the main foods. Beetles and spiders are frequently eaten but seldom contribute much to the bulk of the diet. Other items, such as earthworms and cicada nymphs are less important although they may be taken in numbers during certain seasons. A substantial amount of plant matter is ingested with the food but it appears that small leaves and buds of clover are the only plant material intentionally sought after. Millipedes and slugs, are eaten throughout the year, snails most frequently during the spring and moth larvae most frequently during the autumn. Fragments of shell appear in faeces of captive animals fed on eggs, however, no egg' shell was found in the droppings of wild hedgehogs; the significance of hedgehogs as predators of ground nesting birds is discussed.
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