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© 2019 by MyNatureGarden.

Hedgehogs

A page dedicated to our spikey chums!

Back in 2015 I had a lovely surprise. A hedgehog started to visit our patch! I hadn't seen one of these spiky chaps since I was a young lad. Sadly, hedgehogs are going through a terrible time. PTES states that "in the past decade we have lost over a half of rural hedgehogs and a third from towns and cities. 

 

Discovering this made me determined to do as much as I could in my backyard to make them as hog friendly as possible. Firstly, I signed up to become a 'Hedgehog Champion' with the wonderful Hedgehog Street! Hedgehog Street is a campaign aimed at ensuring the hedgehog, the UK's only spiny mammal, remains a common and familiar part of British life. We know hedgehogs are in trouble. We've lost a third of all our hedgehogs in ten years.

Fortunately, hedgehogs love gardens, and there are around half a million hectares of garden in the UK. We know what hedgehogs need to survive in gardens.

Hedgehogs need access to lots and lots of different gardens to survive, so this campaign is as much about getting people to cooperate as it is about gardening for wildlife. 

 

Below are some top tips to make your patch hedgehog friendly!

What We Can Do To Help!

Advice from Hedgehog Street

Spiky Facts

Common Name  Hedgehog

Scientif Name  Erinaceus europaeus

Description  22-28cm long, covered on back and flanks by around 6000 banded spines; face and underside with coarse greyish brown fur.

 

Habitat Wide range of habitats, in both urban and rural situations. Absent from large conifer plantations, marshes & moorlands. Suburban and urban gardens increasingly important.

 

Diet  Ground-dwelling invertebrates especially worms, beetles, slugs, caterpillars, millipedes and earwigs. Readily eat meaty cat food or dog food provided by people too!

Habits  Generally solitary, non-territorial, nocturnal. Mobile and wide-ranging. Travel 1-2km a night, with urban range sizes involving many different gardens. Hibernate in winter. Tend to follow linear features when foraging. Rolls into a ball when threatened.

 

Breeding Breed between April and September, with peak activity in May and June. Courtship involves lots of snorting, barging from the female and perseverance from the male. Mothers may desert of eat young if disturbed while nesting. Hoglets emerge from end of June onwards, are weaned at around five weeks and independent from then on. Females can attempt two litters in a year, but cannot rear more than one successfully.

 

Distribution   Hedgehogs are found throughout western Europe, including mainland Britain and Ireland, but are absent from some Scottish Islands and have been introduced to others.

 

Conservation Status   Although still relatively common and widespread, there is now considerable evidence for a dramatic decline in recent years, with around a third of the national population lost since the millennium. Declining in both rural and urban habitats, due to a range of factors. The hedgehog is legally protected from trapping or intentional harm, but none of the legislation deals with the drivers of the decline. Hedgehog Street is the only national conservation project and focuses on making gardens hedgehog-friendly.

My Nature Garden

The Nature Lover's Blog