Save Britain’s Hedgehogs

Although the European hedgehog (Erinaceus europaeus) is stable in many other part Europe, it is in decline in Britain. What can you do to help our spikey little friends?

In the 1950’s the hedgehog population was estimated to be at around 30 million, by 1995 this was 1.5 million and since then there is believed to have been a rapid decline. Scientific surveys have suggested the rate of decline may be as high as 10% of the total population per year. Loss of natural habitat to development and agriculture are contributing; as is use of pesticides in farming –as the number of pests are reduced there is less food for hedgehogs to eat. New building sites can ‘carve up’ habitats and make it hard for local populations of hedgehogs to breed.

What can you do to help our spikey little friends?

1. Hedgehogs like to live in hedgerows, but will nest anywhere there is good cover. Provide rough areas for shelter. You can purchase, or make, hog houses and place them on your plot or in the surround hedgerows around the site.

2. Non-organic blue slug pellets can poison hedgehogs if they consume a high quantity of contaminated slugs so avoid these where possible, or reduce their usage. See here where we have discussed slug control.

3. Check areas before strimming.

4. Hedgehog are nocturnal and not usually out during the daytime. If you see a hog out in the day looking disorientated, or ill, see for advice

5. Avoid putting up fencing around the perimeter of your plot to keep it as open for access for hedgehogs. If this isn’t possible consider having a small gap at the bottom of the fence a hog could travel through.