Hedgehog Awareness Week 30th April – 6th May

As part of the Parish Council’s Space for Nature campaign we are keen to help our hedgehogs which have suffered a massive decline and are now listed as “Vulnerable” on Britain’s red list of mammals. According to the latest State of Britain’s hedgehogs report, numbers have fallen by 50% in rural areas since the Millennium.

We do know that we have hedgehogs locally so if you’d like to get involved in this work please read on or contact us. Please let us know what you are doing to help.

Check out the interactive map at Hedgehog Street to see where local sightings have been. Please update this site if you see one!

What’s causing the problem?

It’s complicated but, according to Wildlife Trusts, the main issues are:

Habitat Loss
Loss of nesting and foraging habitat through development (urban) and hedgerow removal (rural) reduces the carrying capacity of the landscape. Hedgehogs may struggle to find somewhere to breed and hibernate, and to find enough food to survive.

Habitat Fragmentation
Lack of connectivity through hedgerow loss and degradation limits movement of rural ‘hogs because they use these ‘edges’, where they are less exposed to danger, to navigate the rural landscape. Hedgehog populations can become isolated, which can have genetic effects, and eventually the isolated
hedgehog populations may become unviable and locally extinct.

Up to 335,000 hedgehogs are estimated to die on British roads annually. Habitat suitability modelling suggests that suburbs and villages are hotspots, with 9% of Britain’s road network potentially
dangerous for ‘hogs. Roadkill peaks in the summer months when they are most active, particularly July.

Chemical treatment of land (e.g. pesticides, molluscicides, fertilizers) can cause poisoning, but largely reduces invertebrate diversity and adundance. This can increase hedgehog mortality rates and impact fertility.

Hedgehogs are also brought to rescue centres with garden injuries (e.g. from strimmers, netting, dog bites).

What can we do to help?

According to advice from the Hedgehog Awareness Society

  • Avoid using pesticides and slug pellets in your garden. Use organic methods instead.
  • Make sure hedgehogs have easy access to your garden. Ensure boundary fences or walls have a 13cm x 13cm gap in the bottom to allow hedgehogs to pass through.
  • Keep a corner of your garden wild to offer shelter, protection and natural food for hedgehogs and other wildlife.
  • Provide a shallow dish of fresh water for all wildlife, and food such as meaty hedgehog food, meaty cat or dog food or cat biscuits for hedgehogs, especially during long dry spells.
  • Make a hedgehog home.
  • Check areas thoroughly for hedgehogs and other wildlife before strimming or mowing.
  • Keep netting 22-30cms (9 – 12 inches) off the ground so that hedgehogs can pass safely under.
  • Dispose of litter responsibly. Hedgehogs are injured by litter and starve to death by getting trapped in discarded rubbish.
  • Bonfires offer a tempting home for a hedgehog. Ideally, collected materials should be re-sited just before the fire is to be lit, if this is not possible, the base should be lifted up with poles or broom handles (not a fork!) and a torch shone in to look (and listen).
  • Hedgehogs are good swimmers but can become trapped in ponds or pools with sheer sides. Provide a gently sloping edge if possible or place half submerged rocks in the water as an escape for them.
  • Take care on the roads, hedgehogs are nocturnal so are out at night. A hedgehog’s natural defence mechanism is to roll into a ball – this is no match for a vehicle.

Want to dig deeper into this? Check out all about hedgehogs here.

Want to get involved?

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