Hedgehogs by nature are timid little mammals and will curl into a ball at the slightest noise. However, they are also very inquisitive and manage to find themselves in all sorts of predicaments and difficulties. Most of these occur as the hedgehog tries to find a dry place to sleep or is foraging for food to eat. With a little forethought and support many of the hazards the hedgehog encounters can be reduced by our actions.
Helping them cross the road.
Many hedgehogs become road traffic casualties and if you happen to see one near a road or trying to climb up onto a pavement, gently lift it up out of harms way so it can continue on its travels.
The use of harmful pesticides not only poisons hedgehogs but has a detrimental effect on all of our wildlife. It is very distressing seeing any animal that has been poisoned and quite often it is too late to save them. It is fortunate that there are many organic peats controls on the market that don’t carry the substance that causes harm.
While it doesn’t pay to have a very tidy garden as hedgehogs enjoy sleeping under log piles, in long grass and under big shrubs it is worth mentioning that hedgehogs suffer the most horrific injuries from garden netting and goal post netting that has been left in the garden. They are unable to break free due to the position of their spines and as they struggle to free themselves the netting becomes so tight and tangled that it breaks into the skin like a tourniquet. Just lift the netting off the ground to allow them to come and go freely.
Hedgehogs can and will swim but they often fall into ponds where there is no escape. It is worth positioning rocks or a wooden ramp so that if a hedgehog falls into a pond it can easily get out.
Slug pellets are a great danger to hedgehogs, they are poisonous, they digest them from a slug who has already eaten them or by the pellet being on the ground as the hedgehog forages. There are many alternatives on the market which are safe for all wildlife including our birds.
Hedgehogs have been known to hibernate in compost bins and during the summer months a female may well choose this as her ideal place to have her hoglets. Please be extra careful when emptying or turning compost heaps.
Strimmers can and do mutilate. At Prickles we have seen some horrific injuries caused through strimmers please do not use them.
This is very harmful to hedgehogs, either as a result of them drinking or licking from the road or by licking it from their feet if they have walked through it.
Hedgehogs spend most of the night foraging for food, if they come across empty food or drink containers they will attempt to eat or lick any remaining contents. They can get into difficulty by becoming trapped in cans, in handles of plastic bags and cartons.
During the summer they have been known to nest and raise young in rubbish bags and even watering cans! Please check any rubbish bags that have been lying around before throwing them away.
Walls and fences
Hedgehogs travel from garden to garden; if possible please make a small hole, about 12cm, under your fences to make this easier for them.
Never try and keep a wild hedgehog in an enclosed garden as they will quickly become stressed and their natural instinct is to travel