Hedgehogs in rural areas are dying out: since the millennium we have lost three quarters of these lovely animals, which I often saw as a child. This is tragic: they have lived in England for at least half a million years. And they are valuable in many ways: they eat pests such as slugs. The decline is caused partly by the loss of places for
them to live, hibernate and forage: they like to live in gardens, hedgerows, verges. And partly by loss of their food: small invertebrates. The dying out of these invertebrates not only affects hedgehogs, but humans and other animals in many significant ways.
What can we do about this? How can we help hedgehogs to thrive
Hedgehogs travel distances to feed, but cant get through many garden fences or walls: 1. we can make hedgehog holes for them to allow them through (for how-to advice: www.britishhedgehogs.org.uk <http://www.britishhedgehogs.org.uk/>). 2. We can make hedgehog feeding stations and put out good quality meat dog or cat food for them and fresh drinking water (not bread & milk) (full instructions:www.britishhedgehogs.org.uk
<http://www.britishhedgehogs.org.uk/>). 3. You could make a hibernation place by piling up dead leaves in a garden corner instead of removing them. 4. When you pass a cattle grid, stop to see if any hedgehogs are trapped underneath: you’ll need thick gardening gloves to pick them up!
Hedgehogs travel and feed at night. If you find one in daylight, or babies (hoglets) on their own, they’re possibly in trouble, especially if they are surrounded by flies. Pick it/them up wearing strong gardening gloves; put in a safe warm quiet box. Offer good quality meaty dog/cat food and fresh water, and telephone British Hedgehog Preservation Society (BHPS) (01584 890 801) for advice and contacts of local hedgehog hospitals.
BHPS website (www.britishhedgehogs.org.uk) is packed with info and wonderful photos. Find out what you and your children can do, and get involved with Hathersage Rewilding Group of Hope Valley Climate Action (email@example.com) We can give you info leaflets and offer practical advice about hedgehogs and other creatures and plants.
Hathersage Rewilding Group of Hope Valley Climate Action