Seeing a hedgehog is a magical experience, but like many, I haven’t come across one in almost 18 years, except for a road fatality, and worse still, my children are beginning to think they’re fictional!
Sadly, hedgehogs are in trouble and have declined by a shocking 30% in the last 10 years alone. There are now in a worse state of decline than tigers are worldwide. The main drivers are thought to be loss of green space in towns and gardens, intensification of farming, reduced insect prey from chemical use and isolation by fences and roads.
But before we all retreat to the garden shed in depression, there’s so much we can do to help these wonderful creatures.
Hedgehogs will be getting ready to hibernate soon (usually between October/November through to mid-March) and need to feed intensively, weighing at least 600gms if they’re going to have enough reserves to last the winter. If you’re lucky to have one visit your garden, you could provide meat-based cat food and freshwater. Remember: it is important not to leave bread and milk out for hedgehogs as it can cause diarrhoea. It is unusual to see a hedgehog staggering around during winter or in daylight, so if you do see one and it looks unwell, it might need a helping hand – contact an animal rescuer for advice.