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Open AccessArticle

Effects of Artificial Light at Night (ALAN) on European Hedgehog Activity at Supplementary Feeding Stations

1
School of Life Sciences, University of Sussex, Falmer BN1 9QG, UK
2
Mammal Society, London E9 6EJ, UK
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Animals 2020, 10(5), 768; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10050768
Received: 23 March 2020 / Revised: 14 April 2020 / Accepted: 14 April 2020 / Published: 28 April 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Anthropogenic Impacts on Urban Mammals)
Owing to the rapid expansion of urbanisation, light pollution has increased dramatically in the natural environment causing significant negative effects on species fitness, abundance, foraging and roosting behaviours. However, very little research has examined the impacts of artificial light at night (ALAN) on mammal species other than bats. Using a large-scale citizen science project, we examined the potential impact of ALAN on European hedgehogs (Erinaceus europaeus) at supplementary feeding stations. Our results show that there were no significant effects of ALAN on the presence, feeding activity or activity patterns of hedgehogs throughout the experiment, although some variations in individual hedgehogs were observed. This suggests that while there was no significant impact of ALAN found at supplementary feeding stations, there could be other costs associated with lighting, e.g., reproductive success, territory maintenance and natural prey availability, which need to be considered.
Artificial light at night (ALAN) can have negative consequences for a wide range of taxa. However, the effects on nocturnal mammals other than bats are poorly understood. A citizen science camera trapping experiment was therefore used to assess the effect of ALAN on the activity of European hedgehogs (Erinaceus europaeus) at supplementary feeding stations in UK gardens. A crossover design was implemented at 33 gardens with two treatments—artificial light and darkness—each of which lasted for one week. The order of treatment depended on the existing lighting regime at the feeding station: dark treatments were applied first at dark feeding stations, whereas light treatments were used first where the station was already illuminated. Although temporal changes in activity patterns in response to the treatments were noted in some individuals, the direction of the effects was not consistent. Similarly, there was no overall impact of ALAN on the presence or feeding activities of hedgehogs in gardens where supplementary feeding stations were present. These findings are somewhat reassuring insofar as they demonstrate no net negative effect on a species thought to be in decline, in scenarios where the animals are already habituated to supplementary feeding. However, further research is needed to examine long-term effects and the effects of lighting on hedgehog prey, reproductive success and predation risk. View Full-Text
Keywords: activity pattern; ALAN; camera trap; citizen science; fragmentation; hedgehogs; Erinaceus europaeus; light pollution; lightscape; urbanisation activity pattern; ALAN; camera trap; citizen science; fragmentation; hedgehogs; Erinaceus europaeus; light pollution; lightscape; urbanisation
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MDPI and ACS Style

Finch, D.; Smith, B.R.; Marshall, C.; Coomber, F.G.; Kubasiewicz, L.M.; Anderson, M.; Wright, P.G.R.; Mathews, F. Effects of Artificial Light at Night (ALAN) on European Hedgehog Activity at Supplementary Feeding Stations. Animals 2020, 10, 768. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10050768

AMA Style

Finch D, Smith BR, Marshall C, Coomber FG, Kubasiewicz LM, Anderson M, Wright PGR, Mathews F. Effects of Artificial Light at Night (ALAN) on European Hedgehog Activity at Supplementary Feeding Stations. Animals. 2020; 10(5):768. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10050768

Chicago/Turabian Style

Finch, Domhnall; Smith, Bethany R.; Marshall, Charlotte; Coomber, Frazer G.; Kubasiewicz, Laura M.; Anderson, Max; Wright, Patrick G.R.; Mathews, Fiona. 2020. "Effects of Artificial Light at Night (ALAN) on European Hedgehog Activity at Supplementary Feeding Stations" Animals 10, no. 5: 768. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10050768

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