It’s National Hedgehog Week and it’s got me thinking – when was the last time you saw a hedgehog?
When I was growing up, it wasn’t that rare to spot a little spikey friend scuttling around the garden of an evening. I didn’t even live in the countryside, just a quiet seaside town in Essex, and I have a few fond memories of my Dad leaving milk out several times (something that has been warned against these days, I know) and my sister and I watching out of the kitchen window trying to spot our new guest.
However, the fact of the matter is, I definitely saw more hedgehogs back then compared to now.
It’s no surprise then that a report shared last year from the PTES and BHPS revealed that the number of hedgehogs is on the decline, largely down to habitat loss, roads and insecticides. In fact, over the last decade as have lost over half of rural hedgehogs and a third from towns and cities.
So, what can we do to help?
Thankfully, it’s not too late for you to help. Check out these top tips on how to care for your local hedgehogs:
Build a Hogitat
Hogitats are an innovative and natural way to offer our garden friends a safe haven away from the dangers of modern life and are the perfect solution when implementing hedgehog safety measures. Even new home builders such as David Wilson Homes have been getting in on the act by installing Hogitats across their new developments!
Be a conscious gardener
Hedgehogs are nocturnal, and they love finding cosy corners to snuggle up in for their day-time snooze. Therefore, it’s vital to be on the look out for any hedgehog nests while tidying the garden be it when you are mowing the lawn or digging for compost.
Say goodbye to pesticides
Or at least reduce the amount you use. It goes without saying that pesticides will do harm to hedgehogs if they eat them. Anyway, Hedgehogs love eating slugs and snails – so there really is no need to use them!
Watch what you feed them
As mentioned before, my family were guilty of giving milk to hedgehogs as I’m sure many people were back in the 80s/90s. However, it’s been proven that hedgehogs are in fact lactose intolerant which can cause severe digestive issues and at its worst, kill them.
If you would like to feed your resident hedgehog, give them tinned cat or dog food as a treat and provide plain, fresh water in a bowl. Simple!