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Jan Harris
Deputy Group Editor
12:00 AM 4th May 2024
nature

Hedgehog Awareness Week: 'Welcome Wildlife'

 
Image by Ralph from Pixabay
Image by Ralph from Pixabay
Hedgehog Awareness Week is organised by the British Hedgehog Preservation Society and takes place every year. It aims to highlight the problems hedgehogs face and how you can help them. Hedgehog Awareness Week in 2024 is 5th - 11th May.

Hedgehogs are a great indicator species – they don’t need an awful lot to survive, so if they are not coping well, it means the habitat is deficient – and should ring alarm bells for other species, including humans!

This year the charity are asking people to ‘Welcome Wildlife!’ by creating a space for wildlife in your own gardens or green spaces and encouraging landowners such as schools and councils to do the same.

Fay Vass, Chief Executive for BHPS, said:
“These small actions to ‘Welcome Wildlife’ during #HedgehogWeek can help create and link fantastic habitats for hedgehogs; just a little effort from each of us could make life a lot easier for them! If you don’t have a garden yourself, you can still help by contacting public space managers, neighbours, family and friends to ensure they are all doing their bit.”


There are lots of hazards that can be removed or improved such as:

Poisons and pesticides that could directly harm hedgehogs and destroy their food chain.
Uncovered drains - hedgehogs can fall into these and become stuck so make sure yours are covered up.
Litter is a problem for all wildlife and while this is (hopefully) not an issue in your own garden, it very likely is in the wider environment. Contacting local landowners where litter is an issue can help; remember to point out the danger to wildlife.
Netting can become entangled in hedgehog spines: make sure sports nets are put away and garden netting is at a height that hedgehogs can safely pass under.
Always carefully check for hedgehogs before mowing, strimming or lighting a bonfire pile that they might have made a nest in.


BHPS is urging everyone to become a Hedgehog Champion for their area at Hedgehog Street – a project run by BHPS and People’s Trust for Endangered Species. Sign up for free to join over 126,000 Champions at www.hedgehogstreet.org


There are also lots of lovely hedgehog-friendly features that can be added to make the area more welcoming to hedgehogs:

Hedgehog highways are really important to allow access to more habitat. Did you know that hedgehogs roam between 1 - 2km every night during their active season? Hedgehog highways are just 13cm x 13cm square gaps in the bottom of boundary walls and fences to ensure hedgehogs can get in and out easily; once these are made you can log your Hedgehog Highway at www.bighedgehogmap.org.
Feeding stations - offer water and meaty cat or dog food for hedgehogs in a feeding station to help keep the food safe for hedgehogs (see plans for a feeding station on the BHPS website or contact BHPS for a paper copy).
Log piles, leaf piles or wild corners and edges will attract natural food and offer shelter for hedgehogs.
Ponds or pools are great for wildlife but do ensure there are escape routes – a sloping edge, ramp or half-submerged rock for hedgehogs to scramble out on.
Hedgehog homes – make or buy a hedgehog home (plans for building homes can be found on the BHPS website or contact BHPS for a paper copy).


Help BHPS raise £2,000 during Hedgehog Awareness Week 2024 by donating to the 2024 appeal at www.justgiving.com/campaign/haw24

You can join BHPS as a supporter from just £7.50 a year for an individual in the UK (or £12.50 for a family). Join at www.britishhedgehogs.org.uk/join-us/ or by phone on 01584 890 801.