To the editor:
Contrary to what is stated in Sunday’s newspaper story about legalizing the keep of hedgehogs within the city limits, hedgehogs are not native to New Zealand. They were introduced to New Zealand in the 19th century, presumably for the same reason many European birds were: to make this colony of Britain seem more like “home.”
Like most (or all?) of the introductions into New Zealand, hedgehogs have had adverse impacts on the native flora and fauna. Hedgehogs eat eggs of indigenous birds (many of which are not threatened or extinct). They are liked by gardeners because they eat snails and other pests, but presumably the hedgehogs do not discriminate between native and introduced snails. So, the real threat posed to hedgehogs — like that of any introduced plant or animal — is their escaping and altering the native habitat.
Daphne G. Fautin,