The greater the storm the brighter the rainbow. Amongst adversity there is always opportunity, as the British wildlife has been showing us. You have probably seen all the dramatic changes in the news with the drop in pollution revealing sky above cities i.e. Delhi in India or how the wildlife has taken back Venice and the canals are running clear without any boat traffic.
Here in England we’ve seen deer grazing in housing estates in London, mountain goats wondering into now quiet tourist towns and more locally deer have even been caught in the arc shopping centre right here in Bury St Edmunds.
One factor is the reduction in traffic on our roads which has seen a drop in hedgehog mortality, equally with an increase in gardening there are more risk of injuries such as strimmer accidents for our prickly friends. It is hedgehog awareness month in May so we thought we would offer a few tips if you see a prickly friend in the garden at this time of the year – courtesy of
- Do leave some areas of wilderness where the hedgehogs can snuffle for insects.
- Do put out water for drinking.
- Do put out a bowl of dog food or meaty cat food around dusk.
- Do install, in a quiet part of the garden, a hedgehog house.
- Do look to see if your hedgehog is limping or appears to be injured, or in late Autumn look out for underweight hedgehogs
- Don’t put out bread and milk
- Don’t pick up fit hedgehogs
- Don’t leave black sacks lying around.
- Don’t use slug pellets or other chemicals, they may poison hedgehogs and other animals.
- Don’t light a bonfire without checking to see if a hedgehog or other wild animal has moved in.
- Don’t fork over compost heaps in case hedgehogs or other animals have taken up residence.
- Don’t spray hedgehogs with dog or cat flea sprays. It will be detrimental to the hedgehog.
Here is a photo of a small Autumn juvenile last year who our vet Rachel treated for an injury to her head, likely caused by a strimmer. She was named red and was cared for over the winter by Rachel’s family who recently released her and she is doing so well.
There are many hedgehog houses available to buy or even during this lockdown period consider making your own. Give something back to your garden to allow any local hedgehogs to have a safe haven staying away from any potential bon fire stacks.
We are very lucky in our area to have some wonderful hedgehog rescuers who often look after sick and injured hedgehogs and nurse them back to health. Remember if you see healthy hedgehogs out and about in your garden watch them for a while please don’t pick them up unless they are in distress.
We hope this gives you a few tips for helping to look after your local hedgehog population!