The European hedgehog is a truly iconic British species and one that many people know and love. Unfortunately, our prickly little friends are suffering from a variety of different threats. These include:
- Road collisions.
- Loss of habitat and a reduced ability to find new habitat.
- Drowning in ponds.
- Burning to death in bonfires.
- Injuries caused by garden equipment.
- Poisoned by toxic pesticides such as slug pellets.
- Injury and/or suffocation from litter such as plastic bags and ring-pulls.
As you can see, hedgehogs are getting targeted from all angles, and don’t stand a chance if we do not change our behaviour. So, what can we do to save individuals and the species from becoming lost forever?
1. Hedgehogs are nocturnal and are most active at night, so drive slowly at night to avoid collisions.
2. Talk to your neighbours about cutting a CD sized hole in your garden fences. These holes will provide a corridor for hedgehogs to travel through which enables them to find new mates which facilitates breeding.
3. Ensure your garden pond has a gentle slope. This means that if a hedgehog falls in, it can climb back out again.
4. Before performing garden chores, take a rummage through the bushes to check for sleeping hedgehogs to avoid nasty injuries.
5. Boycott all chemical pesticides. If your garden is hedgehog friendly, they will eat slugs and other pests for you! Additionally, you can find non-toxic alternatives to replace generic pesticides.
6. Pick up litter! Whether you dropped it or someone else did, don’t just leave it. It belongs in the bin.
Furthermore, if you ever find an injured or sick hedgehog on your travels, ensure to have the number of your local hedgehog rescue centre saved in your phone so you can call them to help with the poorly hog.
If you’re local to the Torbay area, the ELM Wildlife Hedgehog Rescue & Rehabilitation do an amazing job so make sure to support them with donations! You can find them on Facebook @savinghedgehogs.
The hedgehog is an incredibly important species to the UK and there will be ecological breakdown without them snuffling through our gardens. Make sure to share any actions you take to protect and save hedgehogs in your area!