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Hedgehog Friendly Homes

This week (May 3-9) is Hedgehog Awareness Week.  The University has recently been awarded the Bronze level Hedgehog Friendly Campus accreditation, but there are actions that we can all take at home to help these prickly creatures.

Here are a number of ways that you can help, from the British Hedgehog Preservation Society.

Allow hedgehogs access:

Hedgehogs roam between 1-2km each night during their active season. It’s therefore critical that they can access a wide range of gardens. 13 x 13cm (5 x 5”) holes in walls or fences will let hedgehogs through but be too small for most pets. If you’ve made a hole in your garden wall or fence please visit http://www.hedgehogstreet.org to put it on our map.

Make your pond safe:

Hedgehogs are adept swimmers, but if they can’t climb out of steep-sided ponds or pools they will drown. Use a pile of stones, a piece of wood or some chicken wire to create a simple ramp.

Create a wild corner in your garden:

Let the plants go mad in a corner of your garden, and don’t cut them back in winter as hedgehogs might nest here. They’ll also benefit from the abundant insects. Use branches to add structure.

Deal with netting and litter:

Hedgehogs are prone to getting tangled. Polystyrene cups, plastic, and elastic bands are all common offenders. Replace netting with a rigid structure or use a thick cordage and keep taut. Sports and garden netting should be tied up or stored inside when not in use.

Put out food and water:

Hedgehogs really benefit from extra food, using it as a supplement to their natural diet. Meaty cat or dog food and hedgehog food are both suitable. Water can also be scarce at certain times of the year and is the only thing you should give them to drink.

Stop using chemicals:

Lawn treatments reduce worm populations. Pesticides, insecticides and slug pellets are toxic and reduce hedgehogs’ creepy crawly prey. They are all unnecessary in a healthy, well-managed garden.

Check for hedgehogs before strimming or mowing:

Hedgehogs will not run away from the sound of a mower or strimmer– check before you cut and avoid causing horrific injuries or death. Single hedgehogs are easily moved, but use gloves! Moving a hedgehog family is more complicated and ideally they should be left undisturbed – call BHPS for advice on 01584 890801.

Be careful with bonfires:

Piles of debris are irresistible to a hedgehog looking for somewhere to hibernate or nest – build it on the day of burning or move the pile on the day of burning to avoid a tragic end.

Make a home for hedgehogs:

A log pile is one of the best features for encouraging all kinds of wildlife – and so easy to make. It will encourage insects and provide nesting opportunities all year around. Alternatively, you can make your own DIY hedgehog house – you can download instructions from the BHPS website.

There are many simple things we can all do to help hedgehogs:

  • Create a log pile that will offer shelter and food
  • Offer supplementary food such as meaty pet food and a shallow dish of water
  • Create wild areas in your garden
  • Build a Hedgehog Home (see plans at https://www.britishhedgehogs.org.uk/hedgehog-homes/)
  • Move bonfires to a new site before burning it.
  • Check areas carefully before mowing or strimming.
  • Ensure netting is kept at a safe height.
  • Check compost heaps before digging the fork in.
  • Stop or reduce the amount of pesticides and poisons used.
  • Cover drains or deep holes.
  • Ensure there is an easy route out of ponds & pools.
  • Get involved in Hedgehog Friendly Campus

 

 

 

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