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Mrs Tiggy-Winkle

It’s ‘Hedgehog Awareness Week’ 2nd – 8th May 2021 and there is a great article about these beautiful little animals in the spring special issue of BBC Wildlife.

For those of you who do not have access to the magazine, here’s a few snippets of what it is saying:

The hedgehog is consistently voted the UK’s favourite mammal and yet it is now on the red list of British mammals, i.e. vulnerable to extinction in the next 20 years.  The number of animals in the UK has fallen from 1.5m in 1995 to around 500,000 now and one of the major problems is habitat loss.

Research has found that each animal needs about 90ha (around 1 square kilometre) to forage for food.  Interestingly, rural hedgehogs have declined more than urban hogs and the urban landscape is pretty much ideal for their needs.  Unfortunately, the average garden is only around 0.0188ha (188 square metres) so to help our prickly friends, we need to allow them access to many gardens.  We can do this by creating a 13cm square hole in our garden fences, (around the size of a CD case), so they can forage far and wide.

If you have a hedgehog in your garden or you want to attract one, there are a couple of things you can do:

  1. ‘Give a hog a home’ – you can buy or build a hedgehog house so they can safely sleep and raise a family
  2. Put down a meaty dog or cat food for them with some water

To keep them safe, make sure there is a ramp out of your pond just in case they fall in, remove any rubbish, litter or netting that might catch on their spikes, be careful about using chemicals on the lawn which will kill their food source, and always check bonfires before you light them.  Hedgehogs have no fight or flight response.  If they feel threatened they simply curl up into a ball.

Finally, if you’re reading this, please spread the word and, maybe, in Kirkheaton, we’ll be able to turn around their misfortunes and get them increasing in numbers again.

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