There are many dangers hedgehogs face in their little lives such has roads, predators and illnesses but they can also get into big trouble in our very own gardens.
Hedgehogs appear to be able to get themselves into all kinds of accidents, if there's a danger a hedgehog seems to find it.
In our gardens we need to "think hedgehog" and look around with hedgehogs in mind and try to minimise any dangers present.
These dangers can include:
- holes and open drains to fall into........check around and cover anything open.
- ponds with sheer sides that are difficult to climb out of........a few bricks or stones to help create areas to climb out easily but bare in mind a hedgehog won't know where this is if you have a large pond so a few areas like this will be needed
- pesticides and chemicals we use......with hedgehogs around there is little need for this or use more natural methods. It's not just hedgehogs that are affected by pesticides birds and other wildlife are poisoned regularly too and die a very painful slow death.
- strimmers and lawn mowers.......encounters with these can cause massive injuries but are all to often fatal. A quick check before any work in long grass or weeds is a sure way to save lives.
- some dogs dislike hedgehogs and attacks can be fatal......if you have dogs that really don't like hedgehogs it's best not to encourage hedgehogs in, but if they are around and you want them to stay unharmed managing your dog and supervising it in your garden after dark works very well. Some dogs do get on well with hedgehogs and pose no threat to them.
- gardening with tools such as forks and spades.......hedgehogs love hanging around and in compost heaps, possibly due to the amount of insects they attract or the warmth the give off. When working either on compost heaps or any overgrown area with tools a quick check and then working carefully could spare a hedgehog being skewered with a fork.
- rubbish or plastic bags/tarpaulin.......
hedgehogs are very good at getting into things they can't get back out of again. A tidy garden is a safer garden.
- netting, either garden or children's toys......hedgehogs are very good at getting caught up in netting and can sometimes be there days before been discovered. Netting also gets caught around little legs and can easily cause enough damage for a leg to be lost if they are found in time to save their life. ...
- bonfires are ideal nest sites, move and check the bonfire before lighting or only light one side. This will allow any sleeping hedgehogs time to escape."
Most of the dangers in our gardens can be minimised with a little thought about our prickly visitors.
You can also make your garden a paradise for hedgehogs:
- leave areas to grow wild, this will encourage bugs and allow hedgehogs to forage and hide.
- leave leaves that have fallen, hedgehogs will use these for nesting material and for foraging.
- make a hedgehog highway, this will allow access into your garden. A gap 13cm x 13cm will be big enough. These can be made in fences or a gap may already be here under gate
A safe garden is paradise to a hedgehog