Helping hedgehogs hibernate
Emily Wilson tells Hannah Stephenson the dos and don’ts of giving our prickly friends a helping hand
Emily Wilson, hedgehog officer at Hedgehog Street, a joint campaign by the People’s Trust for Endangered Species (PTES) and the British Hedgehog Preservation Society (BHPS) explains: “Hedgehogs usually hibernate from October/ November to March/ April, though this year the weather has been particularly unusual — snow in March and a heatwave in July — so this may well have an effect on when hedgehogs go into hibernation.”
DO... 1. Create a hedgehog highway
Put a hole in or under your fence and ask your neighbours to do the same to create a hedgehog highway. It means the creatures will be able to roam further to forage for food, water and shelter.
2. Make sure they have plenty of food and water
Put out supplementary food to help recovering mothers and underweight yearlings fatten up. You could try using hedgehog food, or a meaty dog/cat food and a bowl of water.
3. Ensure they have a nesting place
Create a hedgehog house or leave part of your garden wild as a nesting area (with leaf piles, etc.)
DON’T... 1. Start a bonfire without checking
Piles of leaves and sticks offer a perfect nest for hedgehogs, so have a good rummage under your debris for your prickly friends before lighting a bonfire.
2. Use slug pellets
Try to use a natural alternative instead of pesticides in your garden as not only will they reduce the number of insects available for hedgehogs to eat, they might make hedgehogs very ill, or even kill them.
3. Tidy up too much
Brambles, log piles, and leafs are all perfect places for hedgehogs to make cosy a hibernation nest. Avoid using a strimmer unless you have to. Check long grass or vegetation before mowing or strimming.