Our Hedgehog friends need protecting
These wonderful mammals naturally live in Africa and Southern Europe, they have been around for millions of years. There are 15 species of hedgehogs and our species in the UK is called the European Hedgehog.
These amazing nocturnal animals inhabit our gardens and eat a variety of different animal and plant matter. They are usually classed as omnivores as they eat things like insects, worms, and berries etc.
However, although they can eat a mix of things, sometimes they consume non-food things which can cause problems for their intestines and become fatal.
These precious animals are lactose intolerant so avoid giving them water only fresh water. Their stomachs are vulnerable and if they feel threatened by predators, they will curl up into a ball.
Their name originates from where they build their nests in hedges, shrubs, and bushes, and they make a gentle snorting and grunting noise, much like a pig does, hence where the word ‘hog’ comes from. They have distinctively long snouts which help them to hunt and forage for their food, and incredible they can travel up to 2 miles.
Interestingly, some common signs with our prickly friends are such things as self-anointing, which means if they smell or taste something strong they will attempt to cover themselves with foamy saliva. They can also foam at the mouth which is also triggered by unusual or strange smells as they chew something until it foams around the mouth.
Help our animal friends by making sure your garden is hedgehog friendly, here are a few handy tips:
Garden ponds – make sure there are easy routes available for them to climb out of the water if they fall in. Always check your ponds day and night. Watch out for our spiky pals under hedges, when lawnmowing/strimming always check first as they may be resting there. Drains can cause problems, as they can fall in and become trapped so always keep drains and holes covered well.
As with all wildlife, litter can be hazardous to them, tins, bottles and pots, bin bags etc can all be dangerous, always dispose of your rubbish and clear litter where possible.
For further reading about our wonderful hedgehog friends read this: Ultimate guide by Clive Harris