Make your gar­den fit for a hedge­hog this win­ter

Ormskirk Advertiser - - News -

PEO­PLE in West Lan­cashire are be­ing urged to do all they can to help hedge­hogs dur­ing hi­ber­na­tion.

Staff at Wood­lands An­i­mal Sanc­tu­ary in Sandy Lane, Holmeswood, want peo­ple to cre­ate small gaps in their fences so the hogs can roam – and to make their gar­dens as hog-friendly as pos­si­ble.

Sally McDerby, from the char­ity, said: “Au­tumn for us can mean a whole range of things, from beau­ti­ful colours as na­ture wraps it­self up for win­ter, to cosy nights in watch­ing your favourite TV pro­gramme to those hearty, warm­ing meals of com­fort food we all seem to crave as the weather get colder.

“For a hedge­hog there are some sim­i­lar­i­ties; eat­ing also fac­tors highly on their agenda as they need to build up enough body mass for hi­ber­na­tion.

“For a suc­cess­ful hi­ber­na­tion a hedge­hog needs to weigh around 750g (1½lb). This means any hogs that are poorly or young or baby hoglets that are born in this pe­riod will find it hard to sur­vive be­cause they are un­able to ac­crue enough body mass in time.

“Hedge­hogs gen­er­ally only hi­ber­nate for around 10 days at a time, it is, there­fore, es­sen­tial that they are able to find enough food through­out the whole win­ter so that they can eat enough in be­tween to main­tain their weight for another suc­cess­ful 10 days’ hi­ber­na­tion. “How can you help? “Well, quite sim­ply by help­ing to pro­vide a hogfriendly habi­tat and suit­able en­vi­ron­ment where they are safe, can find suf­fi­cient food and have enough space – hedge­hogs are not par­tic­u­larly so­cial crea­tures – to get away from each other when needed but to also find a suit­able mate dur­ing mat­ing sea­son.

“Hedge­hogs are one of mother na­ture’s gar­den­ers and pest con­trollers feast­ing on many of the crea­tures we fight so hard to keep away.

“These in­clude in­sects, worms, cen­tipedes, snails and slugs.

“Hedge­hogs have also been known to eat mice, frogs and even snakes.

“Just think how much money you could save on pes­ti­cides, not to men­tion how you could be help­ing an en­dan­gered species thrive again in the UK, sim­ply by mak­ing your gar­den hog-friendly.

“Hedge­hogs can roam up to two miles in a sin­gle night, so if you could make just a small hole in your gar­den fence (around 13cm – 5in – square) this will en­able them to travel from gar­den to gar­den, avoid­ing busy roads.

“If you could also en­cour­age your neigh­bours to do the same we would be able to cre­ate a safe hedge­hog high­way.

“Hedge­hogs are noc­tur­nal animals, which means they are awake and ac­tive dur­ing the night and sleep dur­ing the day.

“There­fore, if you see a hedge­hog out dur­ing the day (day­light hours) it is most likely to be poorly (of­ten in­clud­ing hy­pother­mia) which puts it in dan­ger and re­duces its chance of sur­vival dra­mat­i­cally.

“So, if you should find a hog out dur­ing the day, would like to find out more about these quirky lit­tle crit­ters or would like to do your bit to help their num­bers in­crease again, visit Wood­lands An­i­mal Sanc­tu­ary web­site for all the in­for­ma­tion you need about these quirky lit­tle mam­mals – www.wood land­san­i­mal­sanc­tu­ary. org.uk/hedge­hogs.”

A hedge­hog in au­tumn leaves, and right, a hog in bed pre­par­ing for hi­ber­na­tion

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