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A Prickly Subject? - Hedgehogs in decline.


  • Author: Ali Blyth
  • Published: 2nd June 2017
  • Categories: Blog, Clanfield, Advice

A Prickly Subject? - Hedgehogs in decline.


 
Seen a hedgehog recently?  The cute mammal, which has consistently featured in the top 10 of Britains’ Favourite Mammals and topped the poll on more than one occasion, is in big trouble.  Numbers are declining at a rapid rate and these garden friendly creatures need our help if they are going to rebuild their numbers and become a regular night time visitor to gardens up and down the county. 

As a village it would be great if we could work together to make the lives of the hedgehogs who make Clanfield their home, that bit easier. We have a great environment for them to thrive in, but it needs a bit of tweaking.

There are 5 easy steps to take to help slow down, or even hopefully reverse, the decline in numbers.

Link your garden

Hedgehogs roam between 1-2km each night.  Therefore it is critical that they can access a lot of gardens. Work with your neighbours to link your gardens together by making a small hole in boundary fences.  The hole should be around the size of a CD case. Your fence will not fall down, but hedgehogs will be very grateful for being able to wander freely.  Hedgehogs and roads are not a good combination.  The easier it is for the hedgehogs to move through our gardens, will mean they do not have to go anywhere near a road.  It would be great if Clanfield could have as many gardens as possible linked together.  

Put out food and water

Meaty cat or dog food is perfect, and if you are worried about attracting cats and other animals then place the food under a shelter, which can be as simple as a paving slab placed on top of some bricks.

 A quick internet search will throw up many ideas about how to build a hedgehog feeding station. Mine is a plastic box, far too tatty to be photographed!

Just putting out water will be enough, placed in a shallow bowl.  Never give a hedgehog milk – it makes them very ill!

Provide nesting sites


Build a log pile, or  in the Autumn gather piles of leaves together and place in a quiet corner of the garden.  Let part of the garden go wild – let the plants go mad in a corner of your garden, and don’t cut them back in winter and hedgehogs might nest here.

 

Say no to slug pellets

Hedgehogs will eat the slugs, which is great, but if we have poisoned the slug first, then the hedgehog will suffer too.  If you can attract the hedgehog, they will take care of the slugs for you!

Check your pond.

Take care with litter and netting and make sure your pond is safe.  The hedgehog will be tempted to take a dip in your pond,  but if they can’t climb out of steep-sided ponds or pools they will drown. Use a pile of stones, a piece of wood or some chicken wire to create a simple ramp.

 

If you only do one thing, from the above, make it to link your gardens.  The hogs can feed themselves, but not if they cannot move around!

Some useful sites

Hedgehog Street.    https://www.hedgehogstreet.org/

Hedgehog Preservation Society   http://www.britishhedgehogs.org.uk/

This is a great clip https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=1ozSXdYrd8k, which uses animation to demonstrate the above ideas.

 

 


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