I care intensely about hedgehogs and am deeply troubled that they may be extinct in the UK within ten years. How can we live with ourselves if we allow this tragedy to happen?
But there are simple things we can all do to help, which really will make a difference. So please, take this seriously and do something:
- Make sure there is access in and out of your garden. If you are fenced all around, put in one or two holes underneath.
- Plant a native hedgerow to border your garden rather than a fence. This provides both freedom of access and food.
- Leave areas of your garden messy (it’s a good excuse!). Leave piles of leaves and logs in a corner for a hedgehog to make into a home.
- Ask your neighbours to do the same. Hedgehogs need larger areas than most of us can provide with just one garden.
- If you have a bonfire, check to make sure there is no hedgehog inside.
- Don’t use slug pellets. If they are poisonous to slugs, they’ll be poisonous to hedgehogs too.
- Garden organically so you don’t kill all the natural things that hedgehogs eat.
- If you have a pond, make sure it has sloping sides and ways that a hedgehog can get out if it falls in.
- In cold periods, leave out a shallow dish of fresh water and some food (you can buy special hedgehog food or give them meat-based pet food or mealworms).
- Drive slowly at night, keeping a look-out for any hedgehogs wandering on the road.
Finally, remember: any action you take on climate change is positive action for hedgehogs since it appears that our changing climate is disrupting both hibernation and birthing patterns.
Really glad to see this post Ruth as hedgehogs are in such trouble and so important for our gardens, (as well as being very cute!). Could I also put in a plea particularly at this time of year for hedgehogs seen in the daytime. If you see one out in the day, it’s in trouble and needs taking to a wildlife rescue centre. It may be sick or an Autumn baby too small to survive hibernation – they need to be around 650gms to hibernate safely. It’s one more thing we can do to prevent their extinction in the UK.
Thanks Jan, good point.