November always sees a surge in interest in hedgehogs. The British Hedgehog Preservation Society, and many others, put a lot of effort into reminding people to check bonfires before lighting them. It is a shame that building the perfect hedgehog home and building a bonfire are so very similar … and poor hedgehogs are unable to predict the outcome.
But avoiding burning hedgehogs is just one part of the effort we need to put into their protection. The campaign Hedgehog Street has collected some top-tips – so have a look now and see what else you can do to help the nation’s favourite animal (that is no hyperbole!)
- Link your garden. Hedgehogs may seem small, but can easily cover 1-2km a night. Make sure they can get into your garden; make a small hole (13x13cm will do) … but talk to your neighbours first!
- Make your pond safe. Hedgehogs can swim, but not for ever, so need help getting out of steep sided ponds. Make sure there is a ‘beach’ or a ramp.
- Create a wild corner. Leave a patch of your garden to become self-willed – see what happens. The hedgehogs will love it.
- Dismantle industrial capitalism. Seems like a big ask, but if we are to return hedgehog populations to what they once were, we need to do something radical. Start by reducing the amount of meat you eat – then stopping eating it before becoming a vegan. This will liberate vast areas of the countryside from mono-cultures of animal-feed if enough people join in. We will be healthier, animals happier and wildlife will have a chance to thrive. As for the rest of the monolith of industrial capitalism – I am up for hearing ideas!!
- Litter and netting. Tidy up litter that can catch and kill – and make sure garden netting is not touching the ground. Hedgehogs, once caught, will roll up and become further entangled. If not found quickly, they will die.
- Food and water. These carnivores need meat. You can supplement their diet with meaty pet food. Water is also crucial.
- Stop using agro-chemicals in your garden. Not only do they directly impact on the ability of hedgehogs to live, or thrive, they also wipe out hedgehog food.
- Strimmers. Amazing weapons against weeds, but because the hedgehog has no fight or flight response (thanks to evolving their wonderful coat of spines) they do not move when the roaring threat approaches. Check before you flay.
- Bonfires. Just repeating what I have already said. Don’t burn a hedgehog. Unless it is roadkill you intend to eat.
- Logpile. Build one in your garden. They are brilliant shelter. They attract hedgehog food. They serve so much other wildlife too.
- Become a Hedgehog Champion. Simple. Join the nearly 50,000 households who have committed to helping hedgehogs through the Hedgehog Street campaign.(Yes, I know it is out in daylight. This is a rescued hedgehog performing for me at a wildlife hospital. Hedgehogs are, of course nocturnal and that, on the whole, if out in the day, not well and in need of care. Contact your local rescue if you find one … after you have secured it … details on BHPS website)Much of this information is directly from the Hedgehog Street and the website has loads more top tips on how to help the nation’s favourite animal.