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Hedgehog Hints-June 2013

Hedgehog-June-2013The summer months are very busy times for our wild hedgehogs, not only will a large proportion of female hogs have had a litter of hoglets by now but they will also be seeking out potential winter homes, and starting to build fat reserves for winter. Sadly many of the hedgehogs and hoglets do not survive due to hazards such as cars, foxes, badgers, slug pellets, garden netting, and ponds with no escape routes, these are a few of the many reasons why hedgehog numbers continue to be in decline.

But some do survive and it will be most likely around dusk when you may hear a rustling in your back garden. As the night settles in, hedgehogs young and old will merge from their day hiding places, snuffling and searching for food. Hedgehogs literally follow their nose as they meander along and often will stay along the perimeter of a fence searching for food. They have such a strong sense of smell, they can smell food (beetles, worms, grubs) that are up to one inch underground! Hedgehogs get to this food by digging with their large front feet and have an extra long middle nail which is used as their primary digger claw. As the hoglets feet at this time will be small they will also use their snout to help with the digging.

Historically hedgehogs were thought of as being solitary creatures, but this isn’t the case. I have rescued and released several hedgehogs, and many of them tend to stay together even out in the wild. You may have a family of hedgehogs living in your garden this summer, you can help them by ensuring there is water available and an area where they can hide.

Hedgehogs will travel through approx ten gardens a night from 10pm till 3am. As creatures of habit, they will follow the same tracks they have used before, and tend to move between the five houses that they make. Remember if you see a hedgehog out during the day it is in trouble, and needs help.

The summer months are vital to a hedgehog.   Unless it can find enough food to start to build up fat reserves it will not make it through the winter hibernation. Please take ten minutes out of your day and help make your garden hedgehog friendly this summer. You can do this by: ensuring access into other gardens, making an exit ramp out of a pond, leaving a wild overgrown area, putting a ceramic water bowl out, feeding dry meat cat food, creating a waterproof house, keeping netting off the ground and keeping rubbish in closed bins.

www.britishhedgehogs.org.uk for more information or contact Rachel Begley 07810 004 371 if you find a poorly hedgehog.