Hogwatch

 Hogwatch

Hedgehogs need our help…….

Hedgehogs are disappearing fast – they could become extinct in the next 30 years and that’s due to US.

  • More intensive agriculture – larger fields, loss of hedgerows and grasslands  =  loss of habitat
  • Use of pesticides – reduces food supplies.
  • Smaller, tidier gardens with fencing to prevent hedgehogs moving between gardens
  • New buildings and roads – loss of habitat
  • Busier roads – more killed on roads
  • Use of slug pellets in garden – kills slugs – reduced food, also Hedgehogs eat pellets or poisoned slugs – thus die too

Our ideal…..

All gardens to have hedgehog gaps in fences- so they can travel from one garden to the next in their search for food. A hedgehog needs to be able to travel through  10 – 12 gardens  a night to find his/her food.

A good selection of gardens with hedgehog homes and feeding stations, so they can stop and rest and eat at a variety of places.

Residents to be aware of the needs of hedgehogs, maybe leaving leaf piles, log piles, wild areas for them to forage through.

Residents to be aware of the dangers facing hedgehogs – ponds with steep sides only need a little ramp for them to get out, leaf piles and bonfires to be checked for hedgehogs before burning. Compost heaps and long grass checked before putting the spade in or switching on the strimmer or lawn mower.

Stop the use of slug pellets and pesticides – let the hedgehogs eat the slugs, grubs and beetles! – not poison them.

Little things that could make all the difference to our little garden visitors


 

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Hedgehog homes can be made from any old untreated wood, or even cardboard. Just a box, with a tunnel entrance, to stop unwanted visitors, and a small piece of hose pipe into the box for a little bit of air for them. Plenty of different designs online to make, or plenty to purchase.

Feeding stations, a plastic box, with a hole and some kind of tunnel, to stop cats reaching in, (or even a bigger box with food at back). Add food and water and away you go.

Feeding Hedgehogs

If you have hedgehogs in your garden, please look after them well. You are one of the very few lucky ones to still enjoy the presence of these endangered animals

Hedgehogs are insectivores with over 70% of their natural diet being insects and beetles, some worms and a very tiny amount of slugs and snails.

**Do not give them bread and milk**. They cannot digest the bread and cows milk gives hedgehogs very bad diarrhoea. Many hedgehogs die because of this wrong diet.

What to feed them on…

Mealworms
Tinned Cat, Dog, Puppy or Kitten food. They prefer Chicken flavours best. Do not give Fish flavours
Cat or Kitten Biscuits. Only give meat flavoured biscuits. Do not give Fish flavours. The premium brands like Royal Canin, Burns, Hills, James Wellbeloved or Arden Grange are much better for them (The “cheaper” common brands contain much more cereal and are not so nutritious)
Spike’s Dinner hedgehog food either tinned or dry which is also available from good pet shops
Garden Bird Hedgehog food
Wildthings Hedgehog Food
Ark Wildlife Hedgehog food
Any cooked meat leftovers like chicken or mince. Chop all meat in very small pieces. Hedgehogs only have tiny teeth and cannot chew or tear big pieces.
Small pieces of chopped mild or medium cheddar cheese
Chopped Peanuts ( the same peanuts you feed the birds on. NOT SALTED NUTS)
Sultanas & Raisins
Lots of Water, especially in hot weather. Hedgehogs drink a lot of water.
DO NOT give salty foods like bacon and corned beef
In winter or cold weather use biscuits, peanuts, cheese etc instead of tinned meat which freezes quickly.

 

Hoggies in trouble.

Some hedgehogs, not all, due to unpredictable weather, are hibernating now. I still have some visiting my feeding station, so please keep feeding, as when they are awake and searching for food there is very little natural food for them to find now – and please make sure there is some fresh water too (not frozen)

Check compost piles and shrubs before clearing, or putting your spade/fork in, as this may be a lovely hedgehog house!

Check long grass and undergrowth before strimming or mowing as he may be hiding in there too.

If you see a hoggie out in daylight then he/she’s in trouble and needs help.

He needs help

Please don’t leave him to see – he needs help now.

Pop him into a box, keep him warm and get him to a Rescue centre or vets asap.

British Hedgehog Preservation Society (BHPS) 01584 890801 will give advice and a local rescue contact.

If you have trouble finding a centre give me a call and I can advice you or help you get him the help he needs.

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Hedgehog Facts.

  • They have about 5000 spines. Each spine lasts about a year then drops out and a replacement grows.
  • The hedgehog got its name because of its peculiar foraging habits. They root through hedges and undergrowth in search of food – small creatures such as insects, worms, centipedes, snails, mice, frogs and snakes. As it moves through the hedges it emits pig-like grunts – thus, the name hedgehog.
  • The hedgehog is nocturnal, coming out at night and spending the day asleep in a nest under a bush or shrubs.
  • Their coats are thick and spiny, providing them with a formidable defence against predators such as the fox. When they feel threatened they will curl up into a spiny ball to protect their vulnerable stomach.
  • There may be up to 500 fleas on one hedgehog but the specific hedgehog flea (Archaepsylla erinacei ) rarely bites humans and can only live on hedgehogs.
  • While hunting for food, they rely primarily upon their senses of hearing and smell because their eyesight is weak though their eyes are adapted for night-time vision.
  • The diet of a hedgehog is claimed to be ‘gardener friendly’ as it includes so many pests. Frequently food put out for dogs and cats also provides a meal for them and is a good way to encourage them into your garden.
  • Hedgehogs are usually solitary,  pairing up only to mate. When they mate they often make loud snuffling noises. The male circles the female, sometimes for hours, to persuade her to mate. They will separate thereafter and the male takes no part in rearing the family.
  • The young are born in litters of one to eleven. They remain with their mother for only four to seven weeks before heading out on their own.  Among the predators the females must guard against during this period are other male hedgehogs, which will sometimes prey upon the young of their species. hedgehogs mothers have been known to also eat their young if the nest is disturbed, although they sometimes simply move them to a new nest.
  • Baby hedgehogs are born blind after 32 days and their spines are soft. However a litter born in September seldom survive their first winter. The young are suckled by their mother until they are able to hunt for themselves. After about four weeks the mother will take the young out on their first foraging trip and after ten days the family will separate.
  • Hedgehogs in the UK hibernate throughout winter. They feed as much as possible during autumn and around October build a nest of leaves and grass in which to hibernate.