This week is Hedgehog Awareness Week (4-10 May) with ‘hedgehoggy’ events being held around the country, it is organised by the British Hedgehog Preservation Society and aims to highlight the problems that Hedgehogs face and how we can help them.
Hedgehogs are secretive, beautiful and fascinating creatures they are especially loved by children and welcomed by gardeners yet there has been a sharp decline in their numbers. Throughout Spring, Summer and Autumn they will eat many of our unwanted garden pests, including slugs (up to 80 a night), snails, beetles and caterpillars, in a totally environmentally friendly way.
During May female Hedgehogs will be pregnant with their young due to be born in June/July there are usually 4-5 in a litter but unfortunately only 2 or 3 survive, the babies (Hoglets) are born blind, pale pink and spineless but after only 2-3 minutes their spines begin to appear, the young stay in the nest and feed on their mother’s milk, after 3-4 weeks they will leave their warm and safe home and go foraging for food with their mother. If you find a hedgehog nest do not disturb it or handle the young as the mother may abandon them.
How can we help?
Provide a safe home for female hedgehogs to rear their young, there are various types of Hedgehog Houses available, place them in a quiet part of the garden preferably against a bank, wall or fence and to avoid cold winds make sure that the entrance does not face North or North East. Make your hedgehog house more welcoming by placing twigs, leaves and short grass on top and around the house and some dry leaves and grass inside.
It would be such a shame to lose these delightful creatures if you see one enjoy watching it quietly from a short distance, they should not be touched or picked up unless absolutely necessary.
If you want to know more about Hedgehogs why not treat yourself to a Hedgehog Field Guide this four page guide includes lots of facts and information on feeding and encouraging hedgehogs into your garden.
Love your environment