Hedgehogs are a delight to see. So rarely do we spot them wandering about in the garden, looking for food. There has been a noticeable decline in hedgehog sightings in the UK. But, some places are taking care of rescue hedgehogs and encouraging the protection of their habitat.
Meet Sonic. He is a young hedgehog, brought in to Prickly Ball Farm from South Devon. Many hedgehogs are found with injuries due to garden strimmers and mowers. It’s important to garden mindfully and keep an eye out for wildlife that might be living in your garden.
Prickly Ball Farm take in injured or sick hedgehogs, nurse them back to health, and release them back into gardens and the wild. Sonic is being cared for, fed and nourished. And I think he’s enjoying his stay!
A few facts about hedgehogs. They eat caterpillars, snails, slugs, raisins, nuts, birds’ eggs (if they drop from the nest) and frogs and lizards, if they can catch them. Hedgehogs also like dog and cat food.
They are nocturnal animals, hibernating through the winter, usually between the months of November and March, but can come out if the weather warms up or they are particularly hungry or thirsty.
Their spines are made of keratin (the same stuff our hair and nails are made of). Hedgehogs are born without spines, they are bald. Their foreheads are often baggy and sag over their eyes! How funny. A baby hedgehog (a hoglet) grows approximately ten spines per hour – you can watch them grow. The spines are white when they start growing.
What can we do to help encourage hedgehogs in our garden?
- Having access to the garden is good, so that hedgehogs can pass through gardens.
- Wild gardens are great – growing wild flowers and plants. This encourages wildlife to breed and flourish.
- Create a hedgehog den with suitable food.
- Be mindful of your pets.
- Be mindful of strimming and gardening – keep an eye out for hedgehogs and other wild animals.
- Night wildlife cameras can detect movement in the dark! A great way to see what animals live in your garden.