New Zealand Journal of Ecology (2009) 33(2): 205- 207

Skink predation by hedgehogs at Macraes Flat, Otago, New Zealand

Short Communication
A. M. Spitzen – van der Sluijs 1*
J. Spitzen 2
D. Houston 3
A. H. P. Stumpel 4
  1. Reptile, Amphibian & Fish Conservation Netherlands (RAVON), PO Box 1413, 6501 BK Nijmegen, The Netherlands
  2. Laboratory of Entomology, Department of Plant Sciences, Wageningen University, PO Box 8031, 6700 EH Wageningen, The Netherlands
  3. Wellington Conservancy, Department of Conservation, PO Box 5086, Wellington, New Zealand
  4. Alterra, Wageningen University and Research Centre, PO Box 47, 6700 AA Wageningen, The Netherlands
*  Corresponding author

The stomach contents of 158 hedgehogs captured at Macraes Flat, Otago, New Zealand, over two summers in 2000 and 2001 were examined for the occurrence of lizards. The remains of at least 43 skinks (both Oligosoma nigriplantare polychroma and O. maccanni) and one gecko (Hoplodactylus sp.) were found. Twenty-one percent (n = 33; 8 males and 25 females) of the examined hedgehogs had fed on skinks. Female hedgehogs ate significantly more skinks than did males. Our results suggest that the presence of large numbers of hedgehogs can have a high impact on native reptile populations in New Zealand and therefore they should be targeted in future trapping programmes.