a winter sleep Julia Crossland

Julia Crossland

Hedgehogs are one of our most ancient mammals, and as the name suggests, they are now rare as their main habitat is hedges (we’ve lost most of them due to urban development and modern farming). Never use slug pellets (use safe humane ways to prevent slugs/snails). For more information, read The Hedgehog Handbook. Learn more on what we can learn from hedgehogs.

  1. Nocturnal hedgehogs like log piles and leaf litter, so leave your garden a bit ‘messy’ for sleeping and hibernation spots (never knock down sheds/outbuildings until at least 8 weeks after  birth to ensure hoglets have left (any time from summer to autumn).
  2. Remove hazards from curious hogs (chemicals, plastic bags, open drains –  the only way to rescue them is to gently pull spines with two pairs of pliers and take to your local wildlife rescue.
  3. Use garden shears over strimmers (or at least use a broom to sweep areas beforehand, same for bonefires – ideally avoid or make new pile just before lighting).
  4. Ensure garden ponds have sloping sides for easy exit (avoid netting and use locked water barrels).
  5. Hedgehogs roam up to 2 miles each night, so many are injured/killed in traffic accidents. Read how to make roads safer for wildlife (including hedgehog crossings!)
  6. Although campaigners recommend fence holes for hedgehogs to roam at night, avoid this for areas near escapee terriers etc.

found an injured/stranded hedgehog?

over the rainbow Lucy Pittaway

Lucy Pittaway

Most hedgehogs found during the day are ill or stranded. Sometimes it could be a mother foraging for food or a youngster got lost. If injured or distress, take to your nearest wildlife rescue or vet (treatment is free for wildlife). Hedgehog fleas are species-specific, but it’s best to wash clothes afterwards.

If unsure, British Hedgehog Preservation Society. Their staff know all things hog, and you’ll get expert advice on what to do (if line is closed, it redirects to emergency numbers. Never give hedgehogs milk and bread,  this could kill them. In emergencies, offer a little water and meat (not fish/gravy) tinned pet food. 

ask Royal Mail to stop using rubber bands

The Post Office can help by using paper belly bands for posties to hold letters together, as the red elastic bands (used in their millions) get wrapped around hedgehogs or ducks feed them to ducklings (thinking they are worms). One man found one in his cat litter tray and says the Post Office (like everyone else) should be fined for littering.

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