Make your garden fit for a hedgehog this winter
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.”