Hedgehogs are an intrinsic part of British wildlife but unfortunately their numbers are declining rapidly. There were an estimated 30million in Britain in the 1950s but today there are only around one million left.
Thousands are killed on our roads every year and intensive farming and loss of habitat have further reduced their numbers. So, hedgehogs desperately need your help.
Encourage them into your garden by leaving a small area to over-grow, with long grass, branches, twigs and leaves. You can put out tinned cat or dog food and some cat biscuits and a shallow dish of water (NOT milk).
Cover ponds and remove hazardous rubbish. Hedgehogs need to travel between gardens to find enough food, so make sure there are gaps in you fencing, or room underneath them. Hedgehogs sleep during the day and large numbers are killed or injured by strimmers and mowers so please check before starting work and carefully move them.
Weedkillers and pesticides are extremely dangerous for hedgehogs, so please try not to use them – this includes slug pellets. If you make hedgehogs welcome, they will eat the garden pests for you.
If you find a sick or injured hedgehog, please contact a vet or a hedgehog carer and if you see a hedgehog out during the day, then it will be unwell or starving and will need professional help.
You can get more information from The British Hedgehog Preservation Society – www.britishhedgehogs.org.uk or Lincolnshire’s Hedgehog Hospital – www.hedgehogcare.org.uk