The second of February is National Hedgehog Day and was created to raise awareness for our little spikey friends. Sadly, the number of these adorable animals is declining slowly but surely within the wild, but there are ways we can help them in an attempt to increase their population. Today we shall be going over the decline of Hedgehogs as well as how we can help these little guys out!
The loss of habitat and food has now put our spikey friends under a lot of threat, which means there will be a lack of reproduction which lands Hedgehogs on the endangered species lists. The main drive for the decline appears to be due to the agricultural industry like large-scale farming. This has sadly stolen the Hedgehog’s natural habitat away from them. Another reason for the decline is due to the increasing use of pesticides to get rid of insects, which is killing the Hedgehog’s food resources. Other threats include road construction, as well as walls and fences that limit their ability to migrate. It is estimated that the number of hedgehogs in the UK has dropped from 30 million in the 1950s to 1 million in 2019. It estimates that the population has plummeted by half since the year 2000.
Time to take action!
Here are 4 ways to give a helping hand to your local hedgehogs:
1. Hedgehog access holes
One of the kindest things you could do is allow them access to your gardens by creating a Hedgehog hole! Simply cut out a 12cm-by-12cm hole in the bottom of your fence. If you get together with your neighbours, you can create ‘hedgehog highways’, allowing hedgehogs to roam greater distances.
2. Plant a hedge
A hedge is a perfect garden habitat. Where hedgehogs can forage, hibernate and raise their young.
3. Say no to slug pellets
Slug pellets contain metaldehyde, which is lethal to hedgehogs. Hedgehogs are also slug predators so boosting the population of Hedgehogs in your garden will also keep the number of slugs down.
4. A home for a Hedgehog
A hedgehog house is a perfect place for them to keep dry and raise their young and hibernate. Cover the home with plastic sheeting and a layer of leaves on top and make an entrance tunnel to prevent predators from getting in.
There are thousands of people around the UK that devote their time to helping Hedgehogs. If you have found a sick or injured Hedgehog don’t fret there is help out there, there are many Hedgehog Hospitals around the UK ready to help you and your prickly friend, you are not on your own. You can find your nearby hedgehog hospitals on google or by reaching out in your local community groups.