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
Hellesdon Hogwatch Project
Gold and silver stars – hedgehogs, feeding stations and homes.
Green for 2016 sightings. Blue for 2015 sightings.
Please let us know of all your sightings, so we can get this map filled – then we can see where we need to do some more work to make it more hedgehog friendly.
More sightings coming now – little hoggies now being reported.
Getting everyone in Hellesdon involved in making our area a hedgehog friendly neighbourhood.
Working with HEDGEHOG STREET, Peoples Trust for Endangered Species and British Hedgehog Preservation Society.
Mapping all the hedgehogs in the area and trying to make the whole neighbourhood hedgehog friendly to encourage these fast disappearing creatures to thrive in our area.
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 throughout Hellesdon 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
We are trying to build up a picture of how hedgehog friendly Hellesdon is now, so we can see where/what we need to improve.
We are now mapping all hedgehog sightings, hedgehog homes and feeding stations in Hellesdon, so if you see a hedgehog or you have already got a feeding station or home in your garden, please let us know so we can add this to our records.
If anyone needs any help in providing any of these things, please contact me.
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.
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…
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.
Hellesdon Hedgehog Rehab
I received dozens of calls for poorly, little hedgehogs this Autumn and winter – far too many for me to take and with lots of other rescues full or closed I had to send lots to Hallswood Animal Sanctuary for the lovely Lyz to care for. I’m sure i sent over 30 her way!! She now has over 140 hedgehogs under her care this winter – amazing – but hard work and very expensive, on the food and medical bill!!
With so much more hedgehog awareness now there seemed to be so many people finding little ones but not being able to find carers for them – so I have set up Hodmedods Hedgehog Support – a non profit organisation to help raise awareness and raise funds for the carers and rescuers or Norfolk hedgehogs. We have been raising funds to help several hedgehog rescue centres and carers this winter – with out first big event in October at Fairhaven Gardens (which is now becoming an annual event). We are now embarking on a 2017 project to raise the funds to build a Hedgehog Hospital at Hallswood Animal Sanctuary – ready for the next winter influx!!! Please see our Facebook page and web page – there is so much you could do to help/support us.
Funds successfully raised by September 2017 and HOGSPITAL built December 2017.
We are also selling hedgehog food and mealworms, which are supplied by Natures Grub, with each bag sold we get a bag for a rescue centre – so 2 good deeds, your hedgehogs get fed and so do rescued ones!!
Lots of hedgehog calls this year so far – far too many for me, so most have been directed to Lyz At Hallswood Animal Sanctuary.
A few I have taken in:
Cookie and Titch – siblings, wandering out in the garden during daytime – never good. Little ones weighing in at 117g and 125g – popped on medication and soon responding and gaining weight – now both topping 400g – so will be off, back to their hedgehog friendly garden, and siblings soon. Released successfully.
Another litter of siblings – out in daytime again, very poorly, came to me on different days. All weighing around the 125g mark, but covered in fleas and ticks and with a very heavy worm burden!! Unfortunately 2 have passed, but the other 2, Fleabag and Norma, have just started to respond to treatments and started gaining weight after days, even weeks of struggling to keep these going. Both now up to the 180g and finishing the anti biotic course, but still on medication for the worms/fluke. Released successfully.
Another little baby came in – thought to be dead already – had spent the day tangled in netting, so tight she couldn’t move. Upon getting a tiny drop of fluid on her gums we saw a twitch! Hours later, after carefully removing all the netting, fly strike and maggots she tucked into a meal and drink. A few sore patches around her legs, where the netting had tangled so tight, but responding well to treatment and hopefully will be fine to go back to the wild soon too. Released successfully.
I am currently overwintering 10 hedgehogs, from various places. All came to me during October – December. All very small and not large enough to successfully hibernate. All have had medication for various parasites/worms, but all doing well now. One lady brought me 5 siblings! She first brought one little one, only just nearing 200g, so I asked her to keep a look out for any siblings. Next day she arrived with another……. when she then asked me how many they usually have in a litter, I replied with between 2 -5 – see you tomorrow then!! True to form, over the next 2 weeks 5 siblings arrived. All do very well. One, was a bit of a bully and kept pushing and biting the others so he went into a separate cage, but the other 4 are still together and cuddle up together in their little igloo house every day – but be warned 4 hedgehogs in a cage together STINK, even when they are cleaned out everyday.
Always looking for any donations of food or help for the rescued hedgehogs. Thank you.
- 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.