The nation’s favourite prickly mammal is in decline. Hedgehogs are nocturnal creatures, so there’s a chance that you haven’t noticed how much trouble they’re in – having one in your garden is rarer now than several years ago (and definitely something to get excited about when you do).
These wondrously unique creatures have a lot to avoid; whether it’s roads, litter or gardening incidents, there are a lot of dangers for hedgehogs to navigate. Here are some small things that you can do to help.
You might not know…
- Hedgehogs have no fight or flight response, so if you do come across one in the wild, there’s a good chance that you’ll be able to get a good look at them!
- A hedgehogs hibernation nest is called a hibernaculum.
- Whilst the UK only has one native species of hedgehog, the European Hedgehog, there are 15 different species of hedgehog in the world.
- A group of hedgehogs is called an array – although you’re unlikely to see many at once!
- Hedgehogs are nocturnal! Please help them if you see them in the daytime.
If you do come across a prickly pal in need, contact the British Hedgehog Preservation Society.
A new home makes a happy hog!
There’s a really easy way to make hedgehogs feel welcome in your garden or allotment. Why not create a “hogitat”? These are areas which you can donate to your local hogs. They could be an intentional log pile, a hedgehog house, a pile of Autumn leaves or the brambly corner of your yard.
We decided to make four log piles in quiet areas of our campus; in gardens and behind buildings alongside vegetation. We chose to do this to encourage lots of insects – vital food for hedgehogs – and to ensure that our resident wildlife had a safe place to hide.
What you’ll need:
- A quiet area to set up in
- Small logs, twigs and sticks – we collected ours from our other campus which had a fallen tree after a recent storm, but you could keep cuttings from your garden or ask around your community
- Leaves that you can tuck in around the logs, make sure you create spaces within your piles for burrowing!
- Gardening gloves
Check out some photos of our hogitats on campus on our projects page: Hedgehog Friendly Campus Lincoln
Create a feeding station!
Know you have hedgehogs in your garden? Now’s the perfect time for you to create a safe space for them to feed. You can create a really simple feeding station using a large plastic box and some bricks. There’s a brilliant tutorial in the resource pack by Hedgehog Friendly Campus at the end of this post!
When feeding hedgehogs…
Remember to avoid feeding them milk. Hedgehogs are lactose intolerant. A shallow dish of water and one of meaty dog or cat food or cat biscuits is a better alternative for them.
And please don’t use slug pellets in your garden, try to use a natural deterrent instead. Slug pellets are poisonous to hedgehogs and other wildlife!
Support & campaign for hedgehogs
Why not organise a hedgehog themed bake sale and raise money in support of hedgehogs?
We’ve organised two hoggy bake-offs so far and are hoping to host our next one soon, in the meantime, we’re encouraging you to create and share your hedgehog themed bakes online! Our most successful creations this year have been chocolate crispy cakes with button hedgehog faces (pictured left). Candy eyes are a brilliant addition! These are super easy and fun to make. We’ll be publishing a how-to guide on making these soon.
If baking isn’t your forte, please share information online about how people can help hedgehogs.
You can donate to the British Hedgehog Preservation Society for #HedgehogWeek here: Hedgehog Awareness Week 2020
On Thursday we’re hosting our first online Hedgehog First Aid Webinar with Jo Wilkinson, please do join us if you can! Details are on our Facebook event page: University of Lincoln Sustainability Events
Want to find out if you’ve got hedgehogs at home? We’re looking for volunteers to help survey in Lincoln for hedgehogs in their gardens and have an online workshop booked in for 28th May at 16:00. If you’re interested in our future Hedgehog Surveys at Home workshop, drop an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Keep up to date with the University of Lincoln’s Hogfriendly team on Twitter: @UoLHedgie
Free Activity Pack
Hedgehog Friendly Campus has released some fantastic activities that you can download for free! The pack includes the following:
- Colouring in sheet
- Pub Quiz Sheet
- Feeding station guide
All that’s asked is that you consider donating to the Hedgehog Awareness Week fund.
Download it from Google Drive: Hedgehog Activity Pack
Make a donation to the Hedgehog Awareness Week Fund.