Coming up in May is: Hedgehog Awareness Week: 6 – 12 May 2018:
Hedgehogs are under threat: Numbers have fallen sharply in the last ten years and there are thought to be fewer than one million Hedgehogs left in the UK.
So how can we help our local hedgehogs?
On the roads: Slow down where hedgehogs might cross: near hedges or grass at dusk and after dark.
Last year several hedgehogs were killed in Hursley Road and North Millers Dale. If safe, stop and help them to get across. Hedgehogs natural defence mechanism is to roll up into a ball – no protection against Road Traffic.
On pathways & shared spaces we can pick up rubbish: plastic bags; Plastic beer can rings; rubber bands & hair bands are the most dangerous for Hedgehogs as their spines get trapped in them.
Make our gardens more accessible for Hedgehogs
North Millers Dale is already a good place for hedgehogs as we have pathways where cars can’t go.
Adult hedgehogs travel over a mile at night ranging over entire neighbourhoods looking for food.
We can help them by providing more gaps under fences and gates:
A 13 cm x 13cm hole is all they need: See: hedgehogstreet.org.
By giving Hedgehogs better access to our gardens we can provide the safe habitat and food source that they desperately need – giving Hedgehogs a better chance of survival in North Millers Dale. Hedgehogs are good for the garden and with extra encouragement we might be lucky enough to see more of them.
Make our gardens safer for Hedgehogs
- Store garden netting indoors. It is dangerous for hedgehogs as they get their
spines caught and become trapped.
- Ponds: Hedgehogs can swim but they need an escape route [like a plank] to climb back out
- Cover drains and gullies: Hedgehogs have poor eyesight but are curious – they fall into holes and get stuck
- Say no to slug pellets and weedkillers: common sources of poisoning for Hedgehogs and pets. Insect-rich lawns and flowerbeds make excellent feeding grounds at dusk.Hedgehogs hoover up over 100 invertebrates: snails, slugs & beetles every night.
- Check for Hedgehogs in long grass before strimming and mowing or better still, leave some grass long for the insects.
- Check compost heaps and bonfires for hedgehogs before digging in a fork or setting alight.
Make our gardens more Hedgehog friendly:
- Provide shallow bowls of fresh water – not milk as Hedgehogs are lactose intolerant.
- Attract natural hedgehog food. Hedgehogs particularly like big, crunchy beetles, earthworms and slugs, making them a gardener’s best friend. Leaf piles will encourage earthworms & create better soil. Wood piles provide good habitats for beetles and insects.
- Hedgehogs are creatures of habit so if you see hedgehogs in your garden the chances are you will see them the same time the next evening.
- Hedgehog food: Offer cat or dog meat but not fish based. Put it out at dusk & take in the excess.
Pets Corner near Waitrose sell Hedgehog food. If you are worried about rats, don’t put out grain-based foods.
What to do if you find a sick or injured hedgehog: If you see a Hedgehog out during the day they are probably unwell or underweight, offer food and water. Hedgehogs need to weigh 600grams to hibernate safely. Contact your local Vet or Rescue Centre for advice before intervening or The British Hedgehog Preservation Society: Telephone: 01584 890 801 Website: https://www.britishhedgehogs.org.uk
No single garden is large enough for a hedgehog population, and no single garden can offer everything they need. Think of your garden as part of a local network: https://www.hedgehogstreet.org/about-our-hedgehog-street-campaign/
Wildlife Trusts: Helping hedgehogs around the UK:
Small, round, brown and famously covered in spines, the hedgehog was one of the most familiar of Britain’s wild mammals. http://www.wildlifetrusts.org/hedgehogs
Order a hedgehog crossing from the British Hedgehog Association.
It is 14 inches across the diagonal