Hedgehogs

The day our camera trap picked up our first hedgehog, I cried tears of joy. Why? Because hedgehog numbers are in decline – we have lost a third of our hedgehogs since the year 2000. So I was a little scared that we would find no hedgehogs in our area and each year the wait to see whether they have safely made it through the winter brings the fresh joy of seeing them return to the garden. Gardens are a key habitat for hedgehogs. There is so much we can do to help them!

Here’s a list of a few things and the beauty is that by helping hedgehogs you will often help other species too:

  • don’t use harmful chemicals in your garden (no pesticides or weedkillers – these poison hedgehogs and take away their food source)
  • hedgehogs can roam up to 3 km in a night, searching for food. So leave or cut a hole in your fence to create a hedgehog highway (Even better if your boundary is a hedge rather than a fence as this will provide habitat and much more for wildlife)
  • leave a patch for hedgehogs – leaf piles, open compost heaps etc. or failing that an artificial hedgehog home
  • check bonfires for hedgehogs before lighting
  • lots of hedgehogs get wounded by strimmers so check first
  • hedgehogs can swim but have a ramp or gentle slope if you have a pond so they can get out
  •  have a shallow dish of water for them to drink
  • a hedgehog feeding station can help provide food away from cats and foxes but stick to dog and cat food or specialist hedgehog food (e.g. from the RSPB) – not mealworms or milk – more tips here
  • if you find a sick or injured hedgehog, head here for advice (residents near Barnes, SW London can also look here)
  • log your sightings 
  • get your neighbours involved
  • get involved in calling for help for hedgehogs – from ensuring that the ban on slug pellets stays in place to encouraging new developments to include hedgehog highways and green spaces
  • share your love of hedgehogs and how you are helping with others – on social media and with family/friends

Here’s a video we made about hedgehogs

Check out these fantastic resources too:

Barnes Hedgehogs – for residents near Barnes, SW London – you can get help to create a hedgehog highway

Hedgehog Street has an absolute wealth of information and resources, including a map of hedgehog sightings and flyers and slides that you can use to get your neighbours involved

The British Hedgehog Preservation Society also has lots of resources 

Tiggywinkles also has great information, particularly around poorly hedgehogs

 

 

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