It's Hedgehog Awareness Week!
This year the British Hedgehog Preservation Society is asking people to ‘Think Hedgehog’. Look at your garden or greenspace (or local park, school grounds, etc) and imagine how useful or dangerous it might be if you were a hedgehog – is it a hedgehog disaster or a des-res?
There are lots of hazards that can be removed or improved such as:
- Poisons and pesticides that could directly harm hedgehogs and destroy their food chain.
- Uncovered drains – hedgehogs can fall into these and become stuck so make sure yours are covered up.
- Litter is a problem for all wildlife and while this is (hopefully) not an issue in your own garden, it very likely is in the wider environment. Contacting local landowners where litter is an issue can help; remember to point out the danger to wildlife.
- Netting can become entangled in hedgehog spines: make sure sports nets are put away and garden netting is at a height that hedgehogs can safely pass under.
- Always carefully check for hedgehogs before mowing, strimming or lighting a bonfire pile that they might have made a nest in.
There are also lots of lovely hedgehog-friendly features that can be added to make the area more welcoming to hedgehogs:
- Hedgehog highways are really important to allow access to more habitat; they are just 13cm x 13cm square gaps in the bottom of boundary walls and fences to ensure hedgehogs can get in and out easily; once these are made you can log your Hedgehog Highway at www.bighedgehogmap.org.
- Feeding stations – offer water and meaty cat or dog food for hedgehogs in a feeding station to help keep the food safe for hedgehogs (see plans for a feeding station on BHPS website or contact BHPS for a paper copy).
- Log piles, leaf piles or wild corners and edges will attract natural food and offer shelter for hedgehogs.
- Ponds or pools are great for wildlife but do ensure there are escape routes – a sloping edge, ramp or half-submerged rock for hedgehogs to scramble out on.
- Hedgehog homes – make or buy a hedgehog home (plans for building homes can be found on the BHPS website or contact BHPS for a paper copy).
The University is part of the Hedgehog Friendly Campus initiative which aims to support hedgehogs on their path to recovery. We have a core working group with representatives from Communications, Grounds and Sustainability as well as staff and student members. However, in order to have the biggest impact we need to recruit a team of volunteers to support us at events, get involved in litter picks, develop fundraising initiatives and lots more. If you would like to get involved email Katherine Mayfield, Sustainability Champion (firstname.lastname@example.org).