A Review of the Occurrence of Metals and Xenobiotics in European Hedgehogs ( Erinaceus europaeus).

Publikation: Bidrag til tidsskriftReview (oversigtsartikel)peer review

1 Citationer (Scopus)


Monitoring data from several European countries indicate that European hedgehog ( Erinaceus europaeus) populations are declining, and research exploring the causes of the decline, including exposure to potentially harmful xenobiotics and metals, may inform conservation initiatives to protect this species in the wild. Hedgehogs are ground-dwelling mammals, feeding on a range of insects, slugs, snails, and earthworms, as well as eggs, live vertebrates, and carrion, including carcasses of apex predator species representing higher levels of the food chain. Consequently, hedgehogs come into close contact with contaminants present in their habitats and prey. This review investigated the studies available on the subject of the occurrence of metals and organic xenobiotics in hedgehogs. This study found that a vast range of different pesticides; persistent organic pollutants (POPs), including organochlorine compounds and brominated flame retardants (BFRs); as well as toxic heavy metals could be detected. Some compounds occurred in lethal concentrations, and some were associated with a potential adverse effect on hedgehog health and survival. Due to their ecology, combined with the opportunity to apply non-invasive sampling techniques using spines as sampling material, we suggest that the European hedgehog is a relevant bioindicator species for monitoring the exposure of terrestrial wildlife to potential toxicants in urban and rural environments.

Udgave nummer2
StatusUdgivet - 11 jan. 2024


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