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Day 20 of 30 Days Wild - Look for Hedgehogs!

Posted: Monday 20th June 2016 by Community

Despite their spiky exterior (around 5,000 spines!), hedgehogs are one of the UK’s most popular native species. But our nation's hedgehogs are under threat, and numbers are rapidly declining, with only 1 in 5 people having seen one in their garden.

“How can I help?” I hear you cry! Well there are some really simple things that you can do as part of your 30 Days Wild to help keep the hedgehogs happy and healthy.

The hedgehog's name derives from its foraging habits which involve snuffling and snorting much like a pig, through hedgerows and undergrowth, searching for creepy crawlies such as worms, centipedes and snails. With this in mind, add some variety to your garden! It doesn’t have to become a jungle, but lawns, compost heaps, wood piles, veggie beds and flower beds are all excellent hunting grounds for hedgehogs. Removing all pesticides from your gardening routine is also good for hedgehogs, as they are responsible for killing off their food sources, and directly poisoning them. 

Hedgehogs can travel up to a mile in a night, so maximising their pathways is important. Think about leaving a 5x5 inch gap in the bottom of your fence to let the neighbourhood hedgehogs through. Hedgehogs can also become dehydrated on their nightly excursions through the neighbourhood, especially in dry spells, so leaving out a bowl of water will help keep their thirst at bay! This is also good for other wildlife which might happen to visit your garden at night.

Keep Britain tidy! We’ve all heard the stories about rubbish harming ocean wildlife, but litter can also be harmful to animals such as the hedgehog. We heard a story of a hedgehog who had gotten their head stuck in an ice cream pot, blinding him and causing extreme distress. So perhaps as part of your 30 Days Wild you could clean up your wildlife spot of any litter.

With the hedgehog in such rapid decline, we are doing all we can at Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust to keep statistics up to date and as accurate as possible, and this much of this is done with the help of volunteers. If you see a hedgehog, please let us know! If you’ve seen a beloved hedgehog, DEAD OR ALIVE, please record it with us.

Thanks!
Joe
 

Image (c) Tom Marshall

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