Hedgehogs

HH No7

Hedgehog “No.7” Photo credit: Andrew Chan (taken from video)

If you see a Hedgehog in the day time that looks small, weak, and wobbly, please see the British Hedgehog Preservation Society Website and if necessary call their Help Line on: 01584 890 801 and inform opwildlife@gmail.com

This sick hedgehog in the photo was found just outside the Wildlife Area a few weeks ago. She was taken to the vets for medical attention, and then to a carer, Kathleen, who identified her as No.7. She’s been fed and looked after for over a month and is finally healthy enough to be released back where she was found in our Wildlife Area. At first she wasn’t putting on enough weight to release her safely.

Now she’s bigger and healthy, and the weather is warming up, she can have a ‘soft release’ see: Hedgehog Bottom for details. She can use the hutch provided and we will feed her and provide water until there is no sign she needs it. If you see one out and about at dusk or in darkness (when they’re supposed to be out), please give it space.

We’ll be giving updates over the next few days.

What you can do to help

Hedgehogs are declining and could be extinct in England in a few decades. Every one is precious. 

It is now well known that the population of hedgehogs in Britain is suffering from a serious decline. The most recent analysis of the research done through the combined work of the British Hedgehog Preservation Society and the People’s Trust for Endangered Species indicates that urban populations have fallen by up to 30% and rural populations by at least 50% since the turn of the century (Source: BPHA 2018).

how well do you know pages 2 and 3

Wild About Gardens Week – focussing on Hedgehogs

Hedgehog Gardens: Histon, Impington and Orchard Park launched on Saturday

Hedgehog Awareness Week

Autumn and all things hedgehog

For other OPWP blog posts on hedgehogs see: OPWP hedgehogs

British Hedgehog Preservation Society FAQs 

Please feel free to copy and distribute or display to educate others about hedgehogs and how we can help them.

What food should I offer to my hedgehog visitors?

The best things to offer are Hedgehog food, meaty cat or dog food or complete cat biscuits. The only drink that should be offered is water (especially in dry weather and when offering dry food).

There’s a hedgehog in my garden sunbathing, is that ok?

No, it isn’t. Hedgehogs’ shouldn’t sunbathe and if you see one doing this it is in urgent need of help. Please use gardening gloves or a folded towel to pick it up, pop it into a high sided box with a towel or fleece in the bottom, keep it warm on a covered warm hot water bottle (even in hot weather), offer suitable food and water (see above) and then call BHPS on 01584 890 801 for further advice as soon as possible.

I’ve seen a hedgehog that looks ‘drunk’, is that ok?

Again, no, it isn’t ok. Hedgehogs in this state are actually hypothermic and in urgent need of help. Please offer the first aid described above and call us as soon as possible.

Do all hedgehogs have fleas and do they need them?

Not all hedgehogs have fleas; many of those rescued have none. However, hedgehogs do not NEED their fleas to survive, that’s an old wives tale. Hedgehog fleas are host specific so while they may jump onto a cat or dog, they won’t infest them.

Help! I’ve harmed a hedgehog whilst strimming.

Undoubtedly one of the most worrying calls we receive. PLEASE check areas thoroughly before strimming or mowing. These injuries are usually horrific and the hedgehog often has to be put to sleep, of course many are killed instantly with this kind of accident. Do check for hoglets as the nest you have strimmed could be a nursery nest.

Are Hedgehogs meant to be out in the daylight?

Not usually no. Hedgehogs are nocturnal, which means they shouldn’t really be seen out in daylight hours. Some of the exceptions to this are pregnant females gathering nesting materials just before she gives birth, or a new ‘Mum’ taking a break from the nest to get food and water while her young sleep. Sometimes, when the nights are short, a hungry hedgehog may forage around dusk and dawn. However, these hedgehogs would move quickly with purpose. If a hedgehog is lethargic, lay out, has flies around it, is wobbly, or gives you any other cause for concern, please call us for advice ASAP on 01584 890 801.

My dog doesn’t like hedgehogs in the garden, can you move it?

The answer is that unless you are prepared to hedgehog proof the entire garden, there is no point in moving the resident hedgehogs as others from the local population will very likely move into the vacated area. If you are prepared to do this work, the best thing is to contact a local carer to see if they can safely relocate the hedgehog (avoiding baby season). Otherwise, training the dog to leave hedgehogs alone is the ideal solution, taking the dog out for its ‘after dark’ run in the garden on a lead, using a muzzle and making lots of noise before the dog goes out to warn the hedgehog something is happening can help. Hedgehogs often have a routine so if you see a hedgehog about at a certain time it is likely to be around near that time the next night – avoid letting the dog out at those times.

I want a hedgehog for my garden; can I just take one from the wild?

No! Please don’t do this. It’s great that you want to encourage hedgehogs into your garden, but taking one from an area where it knows food and water sources to an unknown area isn’t fair. More worryingly, it could have dependent young in a nest, without its return, the nest will fail and the young won’t survive. Finally, if hedgehogs aren’t already in your garden, there might be a good reason for this. We have a leaflet available on this subject on here , or contact us for paper copy.

Hedgehog Research – why do we do it and what are the rules?

It is now well known that the population of hedgehogs in Britain is suffering from a serious decline. The most recent analysis of the research done through the combined work of the British Hedgehog Preservation Society and the People’s Trust for Endangered Species indicates that urban populations have fallen by up to 30% and rural populations by at least 50% since the turn of the century.

At the heart of our response to this knowledge has to be rigorous science. The only way we will be able to convince those responsible for changes to conservation policy on a national level will be to present a case that is backed up with robust evidence.

Collection of this evidence requires further research. And the main supporters and instigators of research to benefit hedgehogs in Britain are the BHPS and the PTES.

All research projects have to meet a series of demanding tests before they are allowed to be undertaken. There are legal requirements, along with ethical and practical considerations.

Legal

Hedgehogs are protected, in England, Scotland and Wales, under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, Schedule 6 and in Northern Ireland under the Wildlife (NI) Order 1985, Schedules 6&7. What this means is they are

protected from being killed or taken by certain methods under Section 11(1) of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981. The methods listed are: self-locking snares, bows, crossbows, explosives (other than ammunition for a firearm), or live decoys. The species listed are also protected from the following activities: trap, snare or net, electrical device for killing or stunning, poisonous, poisoned or stupefying substances or any other gas or smoke, automatic or semi-automatic weapon, device for illuminating a target or sighting device for night shooting, artificial light, mirror or other dazzling device, sound recording, and mechanically propelled vehicle in immediate pursuit.”

 

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