Saturday, 9 April 2016

Hedgehogs in April by Kay Bullen (BHPS)

Can be lethal to our wildlife
Many hedgehogs will be out and about now, while a few may be having a lie in.

The winter has been milder and shorter this year although the wet weather may have affected some of the winter nests (hibernaculum).

Even now hedgehogs will be looking for dry bedding. The males, with their nomadic lifestyle at this time of year, may make do with some overhanging twigs and a few leaves seeing as they will not be staying around. However the females need a good dry nest for their nursery. A dry patch under some conifers or similar dense undergrowth would be an ideal place for a nest. Under sheds is another favourite place although often prone to disturbance when sheds are pulled down.

Wound caused by an elastic band
The current “Clean for the Queen” project can only benefit hedgehogs. Litter can be death traps for them. The plastic drink cups, yogurt and ice-cream cartons, crisp packets indeed anything smelling of something edible will all attract hedgehogs and encourage them to put their heads somewhere that they cannot get out of. Plastic multi can holders, the handles of plastic bags, elastic bands and any type of netting can also cause problems. So if there is a scheme near you removing litter (why not join TUBS in Bishop's Stortford on their next litter pick), may help save a hedgehog’s life or indeed any other unfortunate creature that might get tangled up. Or why not like The Litter Challenge Facebook page and pledge to pick up three pieces of litter per day - as they say every little helps.   

Having said that do not be too tidy in your garden, do leave piles of leaves and small twigs in a pile for any local visiting hedgehog. Of course if a blackbird gets there first it will soon spread a pile of leaves over the garden in its search for food.

If you need advice or find a sick or injured hedgehog contact the British Hedgehog Preservation Society they can give general advice and perhaps details of a local hedgehog rehabilitator that you can contact.  Contact them on 01584 890801 or for general advice visit their web site alternately (to contact us visit our website for details.

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