Spring is here! As the days gradually get longer and the temperature rises, warmth will be creeping into the hidden nests of hedgehogs across the country, letting them know it’s time to stir from their long hibernation...
The British Hedgehog Preservation Society (BHPS) has come up with a 5-point plan to help our prickly friends this spring:
- Offer meaty cat or dog food and water – they will be extremely hungry and thirsty after hibernation.
- Create a log pile – this will provide natural shelter and food in the form of bugs and grubs, Bed & Breakfast!
- Check before strimming – a quick check in long grasses or under hedges is vital to avoid killing or causing horrific injuries to hedgehogs.
- Provide a hedgehog home – this could be used as a nursery in summer! Plans on building a home can be found on the charity’s website www.britishhedgehogs.org.uk
- Join up your gardens! Talk to neighbours about adding a hedgehog highway in fences and walls; they only need to be 13cm x 13cm square and will link up vital habitat for ‘hogs!
Fay Vass, Chief Executive of BHPS said “Hedgehogs are struggling and mostly that’s due to human activity, these small actions can help a great deal, a little effort from each of us could make life a lot easier for hedgehogs!”
Other advice includes ditching pesticides, keeping netting off the ground, leaving a wild corner in the garden and making sure there is an escape route from ponds. Fay explains “Hedgehogs are good swimmers but struggle to get out of steep, slippery sided ponds and pools, so please do make sure they have an escape route.”
The State of Britain’s Hedgehogs 2022 Report released last month by BHPS and People’s Trust for Endangered Species, explained that hedgehog numbers have declined by 30-75% in rural areas since the turn of the century and are continuing to plummet. Their urban cousins are faring slightly better, with numbers stabilising or possibly even beginning to increase. Fay continues “We think this slight uptick is thanks to people taking actions, just like those in our plan, to help hedgehogs. That said, the picture is still far from rosy; having been in decline for many years, they are starting from a very low base.”
Armed with this guide, you can make a difference to hedgehogs as they reappear in our gardens. For more advice on helping hedgehogs, getting involved and for the hedgehog house plan see www.britishhedgehogs.org.uk or call the Charity on 01584 890 801.