Sunday 3rd May marks the start of National Hedgehog Week. The British Hedgehog Preservation Society works hard to ensure our hedgehog populations are safe by highlighting the major problems that face British hedgehogs and how we can all help.
There are lots of ways we can all get involved and so much any avid gardeners among us can do to help our local hedgehogs. With species numbers in decline it is now more important than ever to get involved and spread the word around the dangers surrounding British Hedgehogs.
Hedgehogs are nocturnal animals and usually only come out at night having spent all days sleeping in nests, bushes and other foliage. The hedgehog has a thick spine coat which they can arm to protect them by curling up into a ball. This coat provides an impressive defense mechanism against predators. Each hedgehog has around 5000 spines. Each year the spine coat is replaced with a new one. Each spine will drop off and a new one will grow in its place.
Hedgehogs have very weak eye sight and largely rely on their sense of smell and hearing to hunt for food and find shelter. A hedgehog has an unusually long nose which helps them sniff out any sources of food when foraging. Hedgehogs are usually solitary creatures and pair up only to mate. The male will separate from his new family afterward and will have no part in rearing the young.
So how friendly is your garden to hedghogs? Do you use pesticides for your plants? We can all do our bit to help visiting hedgehogs avoid man made hazards. We have created a few easy to follow guidelines to help make your garden more hedgehog friendly:
Make sure you leave a small gap in the surrounding of your garden. This will allow a hedgehog entry and exit into your garden.
Small pools and garden ponds can be deadly to hedgehogs. Slipways are a quick and easy way to ensure any hedgehog that falls into the pool or pond and escape. Try adding half submerged rocks around the edges.
Hedgehogs can easily become tangled in leisure items such as tennis nets. This can cause starvation as the hedgehog is unable to escape to find food. Simply rolling up the net after use can benefit. Keeping netting 20-30cm off the ground when in use will allow a hedgehog to pass underneath with ease.
Ensure any rubbish bag is left off the ground. Hedgehogs can tear them and climb into searching for food. They can then become trapped.
Reduce the amount of pesticides and poisons used. The British Hedgehog has come to be known as the gardeners friend as their diet mainly consists of slugs, snails, caterpillars and beetles.
How else can I get involved?
There are other ways you can get involved in National Hedgehog Week! Why not organise a local event and help raise funds for the British Hedgehog Preservation Society? Display information and spread the word. Let others know about the dangers facing our hedgehogs and how they can help.
You can also text HHAW50 £5 to 70070 to donate £5 to the appeal. The British Hedgehog Preservation Society aims to raise £1000 in order to spread the word on the dangers facing hedgehogs in Britain.