According to a survey completed by the British Hedgehog Preservation Society (BHPS) and People’s Trust for Endangered Species, the population of wild hedgehogs has halved in the last decade, with less than a million hedgehogs existing in the UK today.
Why is this happening?
There are multiple contributing factors as to why our spiky friends are in decline in the UK. Some of these include:
- Destruction of habitat – Hedgehogs thrive in hedgerows, and as we growingly use land for human resource, i.e. housing, farmland, roads, more and more disruption occurs to wildlife and in particular, hedgehogs.
- Excessive use of pesticides – These are very harmful to invertebrates which provide a valuable food source for hedgehogs.
- Garden fences – Hogs need to have access to gardens to look for food. However, many of us now have fences in place which stop hogs from entering our gardens completely, therefore they have no option but to navigate the roads.
- Busy roads – Sadly, a lot of our hedgehogs are suffering fatalities as a result of our busy, intrusive roads.
How can we help?
In order to help our native hogs thrive again, the best place to start is in your own garden. By completing the steps below, you can ensure that you are doing your bit to secure the future of these iconic creatures:
- Cultivate a wild corner in your garden to make your hedgehog feel at home. It will love to hide and also to look for wild food sources.
- Avoid using slug pellets and other strong pesticides if possible. These are extremely harmful to hedgehogs.
- Leave a ramp or slope out of your pond so hogs can climb out
- Avoid handling baby hogs unless orphaned, as the mother will abandon them. If you do have to handle a sick or injured hedgehog, ensure you are wearing protective gloves i.e. gardening gloves or thick plastic ones
- Hogs seen in daylight are usually hungry, thirsty or ill. When in doubt, contact your local hedgehog hospital
- Leave food and water out in shallow dishes each evening at dusk
- If you have a fully fenced garden, ensure that you create a ‘hedgehog highway’ by cutting a small hole in the bottom of your fence so that hedgehogs can come and go as they please.
Further advice and info on hedgehogs
If you would like any further information on how you can help our UK hogs, or you have found a hedgehog in your garden which you suspect needs your assistance, contact the British Hedgehog Preservation Society on 01584 890801.