Got exceptionally lucky the other night and spotted this wee hedgehog on its rounds. It brazenly crossed two bridges and, as I was lying down to take this photo, it strolled right past my ear about two inches away. Not a care in the world!
The hedgehog is endangered
Hedgehogs seem like a staple of UK wildlife but they are now endangered in the UK – their population has dropped from an estimated 30,000,000 in the 1950s to somewhere around 1,000,000 in 2019. Loss of habitat and prey sources (primarily insects) are key drivers of this population crash.
How to help them!
Here are three suggestions for ways we can help hedgehogs:-
(1) Stop using harmful insecticides in gardens – including slug pellets. As a keen gardener, slugs are about my least favourite beastie – but pellets can poison hedgehogs (and frogs etc. too). Instead, why not try copper wire around pots and planters (it gives slugs an electric shock) or use beer traps sunk into the soil. Put a couple of inches of beer in a jar and bury this in the soil. Leave an inch or so of jar above the surface to avoid drowning any beetles etc. by accident. The slug will smell the beer, slither into the jar and drown in the drink… And a handy hint – cheap Asda value beer has been my most successful lure to date! Save the good IPA for yourself!
(2) Provide an easy way for hedgehogs to get between gardens – a small hole the size of a CD in the bottom of your fence would do the trick. Chat to the neighbours and see if they would mind doing the same!
(3) Leave an area of your garden ‘wild’ – let an area of grass grow long to encourage insects and, if you have space, a pile of logs and sticks will be a haven for many species. By encouraging hedgehog prey you might get a spiny visitor and, if the pile is big enough, one might take up residence! Water can be left out, as well as cat / dog food (as long as it isn’t fish-based).