In the 1950s there were 30 million hedgehogs in the UK.
Now there are less than 1 million. By 2025 there will be possible urban extinction.
These beautiful creatures have been a quintessential part of our British wildlife and our storybooks, all our lives. Now, THEIR lives are in danger. We need to help them.
Once a common sight the length and breadth of the UK, this iconic British wildlife species is declining so rapidly that unless urgent action is taken by us to preserve them it is highly likely they will have disappeared completely from many parts of the country within the next few years.
The mild autumn has created an elongated breeding season for Britain’s iconic prickly mammals, which means those born late in autumn now face a race to put on enough weight to survive hibernation. Any below 600gms will be unlikely to have enough fat reserves to see them through the winter sleep.
We are launching a national awareness campaign, which aims to encourage people to look out for young hedgehogs, to monitor them through the rest of the autumn, to notify their nearest wildlife centre if they appear underweight and to donate to save the nation’s favourite wild animal.
Ideally, to survive hibernation, a hedgehog should be at least the size of a grapefruit.
Here’re a few tips on how to make your garden hedgehog friendly:
- Plant hedges in your garden; they are the perfect place for hedgehogs to forage and find nesting materials.
- Leave shallow dishes of water out; hogs get rather thirsty, especially in the hot months.
- Cut ‘CD’ sized holes at the bottom of your fence; hedgehogs can roam up to 1 mile at night and this will help them to explore freely – you may even be helping to increase the population.
- Make sure your pond has a sloping edge; this will help hedgehogs and other animals climb out if they fall in.
- Plant insect-friendly flowers & trees; snowdrops, heather, apple trees, bluebells.
- Keep part of your garden wild; leaf and log piles encourage worms and other insects, they also give hedgehogs somewhere cosy to hibernate!
- Refrain from putting out bread, milk or mealworms; wet & dry cat or dog food is the best thing. Hedgehogs cannot digest lactose!
- Never use pesticides of any sort; pesticides are a common cause of poisoning – this includes slug pellets!
- Always thoroughly check the bonfire before lighting it!
- Try not to use chain link fences, as hedgehogs and many other animals can become stuck and be unable to get free.
- Never mow or strim your garden without checking for wildlife, first; animals will nest everywhere and find nesting materials in places you would never think of.
- Please don’t leave litter lying on the ground; plastic rings, tin cans, plastic bottles and many other items can injure innocent animals.
If you’d like to help us care for our hedgehogs, this Christmas, please, visit our shop and see what great stocking-fillers you can find! Every penny from the items sold goes directly towards the care of our sick, injured and orphaned animals. Alternatively, if you’d like to help us look after this year’s group of hedgehogs, you can make a donation towards their care here.