It's hedgehog awareness week, and we've been looking carefully at how Husqvarna Automower® affects hedgehog populations in the UK.
A recent article published by Rasmussen et al. (Animals 2021, 11(5), 1191) has looked into key differences in robotic lawnmowers and how this affects detection and avoidance of hedgehogs.
Dr Rasmussen (also known as Dr Hedgehog) and colleagues tested 18 different robotic lawnmowers from 12 brands to see how different features of the mowers affected injury levels when colliding with hedgehogs. They used different weight classes of hedgehog to represent different stages of development (dependent juvenile, independent juvenile, adult and large adult). These hedgehogs died naturally at rehabilitation centres in Denmark prior to the study.
They found that there are three key features of robotic mowers that can aide hedgehog safety:
1. Pivoting blades that fold back when they come into contact with objects
2. Skid plates that protect the blades and anything beneath the mower
3. Front wheel drive
Watch Dr Hedgehog talking about the study:
The use of pivoting blades on Husqvarna Automower® means that if your mower collided with a hedgehog, the blades would tuck in under the skid plate to avoid causing damage to the hedgehog. As you can see from the study results, these are significantly safer than heavy-duty fixed blades. The collision sensors on all Automower® models mean that the mower stops mowing immediately when it collides with an obstacle, an important feature in improving the safety of the mowers and protecting wildlife.
One way that you can improve hedgehog safety in your garden is to only run your mower during the day. Since hedgehogs are nocturnal, they are far less likely to be roaming around the garden in daylight hours, so risk of collision is reduced. It is also important to be vigilant for wildlife in your garden where possible, especially if you commonly have hedgehogs or other animals in the area.
There are still steps to take to further protect hedgehogs, but we're glad to see all of the Husqvarna Automower® models included in the study ranked in the top 50% for hedgehog safety.
You can read the study in its entirety here.