If you are very lucky (and very quiet), at this time of year you may spot some little visitors to your garden during the evening. We are now in the height of the breeding season for hedgehogs who are, sadly, a declining population. During the 1950’s there were said to be around 30 million hedgehogs, whereas a more recent survey, based on limited data available, estimates there to be around 1,5550.00.
Here at Johnson’s we are passionate about all creatures great and small, one of the charities we support is the Warwickshire Hedgehog Rescue, a registered local charity who do some amazing work rescuing and rehabilitating injured or abandoned hedgehogs. www.warwickshirehedgehogrescue.org.
Hedgehogs are nocturnal creatures – you shouldn’t see them out and about during the daytime – if you do, they could be injured or need help. Generally, a mother will venture out in the evening, foraging for food, before heading back to feed her babies (hoglets). A hedgehog can have around 4-5 in a litter but it could be more!
There are some basic things we can do to help these delightful creatures so that, hopefully, we will see them in greater numbers for many years to come.
- Try to give them access to gardens – some websites suggest leaving holes in garden fences so that they can wander between households, a hedgehog will, on average, visit around 5 gardens per night gathering food.
- During their active times (March – October), leave them a little food. There are lots of hedgehog specific foods available but they are also partial to a little cat or dog food!
- Make sure there is water readily available. This should be in a shallow dish so they can access it easily. Milk is not recommended; hedgehogs are lactose intolerant!
- Lastly, they need peace and quiet, somewhere to build a nest and raise their young. Should you find a hedgehog nest, do not touch it, a hedgehog will abandon her babies if disturbed.
There are several places you can go for help and advice should you find an abandoned or injured hedgehog – www.warwickshirehedgehogrescue.org and www.britishhedgehogs.org.uk.