THE team at Woodlands Animal Sanctuary are marking National Hedgehog Week with a homage to our spiky friends.
From fun facts, to hints and tips for you, so you can help to help them, follow their Facebook page ‘Woodlands Animal Sanctuary’ to see a themed post each day this week.
Hedgehogs are native to this country and have in fact been treading our soils since the last ice age! But, recently their numbers had dropped to a worrying low. With a lot of help, and a nationwide effort, however, their numbers have begun to increase.
A spokesperson for the sanctuary on Sandy Lane in Holmeswood said: “Hedgehogs, whilst not being hugely sociable themselves, certainly pose no threat to us or our environment.
“Interestingly, they don’t particularly have any natural predators either! So, you may wonder how they became so nearly endangered. Unfortunately, fundamentally this was down to us and a change in our lifestyles and environments. With reduced natural wild flowers and hedgerows, increased fencing of our properties and the use of pesticides, the hedgehogs’ environment has been dramatically reduced and their food sources seriously affected.
“Whilst they will trample across your lawn and scamper around your veg patch, they will also scoop up all the bugs you are trying so hard to eradicate, because they love slugs, beetles and caterpillars and these are all insects we would class as pests and that we can spend a lot of time and often money trying to get rid of!
“They may even take a dip in your pond, but, you will never know that they were there, because like Jack Frost they leave no footprints, and wish no harm to your decorative railings, expensive and highly pruned hedge, beautifully crafted flower beds or your lovingly painted fence. Their only request is an escape route out of your garden, which needs only be a 3cm squared space through which they can saunter. Contributing to these ‘hedgehog highways’, will mean that you are giving the one million hedgehogs that are left in this country - this has reduced by 30% in the last 10 years alone - a chance to survive.
“So while we are all spending more time at home, trying desperately to find a way to enjoy the space we have and spend time outside where possible, why not let these little mammals help you with your gardening and you will also be playing your part in supporting and helping to rejuvenate a native British wild species; one that has outlived the sabre toothed tiger, survived an ice age and lived alongside bears and wolves when they were living as wild animals on British soil!
“So, if you fancy seeing Mrs, or Mr, Tiggy-Winkle tip toeing across your lawn, gardening for you, free of charge, its actually surprisingly easy – hedgehogs are merely seeking food (insects as previously discussed, but dry cat food can also be a nutritious option, & is more easily to hand), safety; a pile of leaves and twigs or dense shrubbery will do, anywhere they can safely hide and sleep. Also the space to roam as they see fit; this is why ‘hedgehog highways’ are needed, hogs can travel up to 2km per night (similar to 20 small gardens linked together).
“Remember! Hedgehogs are nocturnal and so should only be seen out and about after dark and so, if you see a hog out in the day, It’s not OK. If so, Pick it up, in an old towel or thick gloves, place it in a box and give it a source of heat such as a hot water bottle. No further treatment can be given – it is almost certain that they will need further treatment, even if you cannot see any obvious wounds or injuries, if the hog’s temperature is not within the normal range. We take in hogs to rehabilitate and release 365 days a year – even in lockdown!”
For more information on the charity, call 01704 823293 or email: email@example.com