Hedgehog Awareness Week runs from 2 – 8 May this year and it aims to raise the profile of Britain’s only spiny mammal. Here are some interesting facts about these wonderful creatures:
- Hedgehogs are one of only three mammals in the UK that hibernate.
- They are nocturnal…the elusive hedgehog only comes out at night!
- Hedgehogs are lactose intolerant! Contrary to popular belief, milk should never be left out for them.
- There are 15 species of hedgehog in the world! Although we have just the one in the UK – the European hedgehog.
- It’s thought hedgehogs have between 5,000 – 7,000 spikes! Each one lasts a year before falling out and being replaced.
- A group of hedgehogs is called an array! Although it’s very rare to see more than one as they are solitary creatures.
Sadly though hedgehogs are in decline in Britain and are now listed as “Vulnerable” on Britain’s red list of mammals. The latest State of Britain’s hedgehogs report shows that numbers of hedgehogs have fallen by up to 30% in urban areas and 50% in rural areas since 2000. According to the Surrey Wildlife Trust, there’s thought to be fewer than 1 million hedgehogs left in the UK!
However, there’s lots we can do to help out our hedgehogs, as suggested by British Hedgehog Preservation Society. Perhaps you could turn your garden into a hedgehog haven by trying out some of the Society’s tips such as:
- Creating a hedgehog highway. Hedgehogs can travel up to 2 miles as they forage for food. By creating a 5” x 5” (13 x 13cm) square gap in the bottom of fences or walls, this can help them on their journey!
- A log pile in your garden can offer a hedgehog shelter and food.
- Checking carefully before mowing or strimming.
- Ensuring there is an easy route out of ponds.
Hooked on hedgehogs? Maybe you’d like to become a Hedgehog Champion? No special skills required – simply a love for hedgehogs!
And if you’re a land manager, this handy guide created by the British Hedgehog Society and Peoples Trust for Endangered Species, has lots of advice on how you can incorporate hedgehog friendly measures.
We love seeing your photos of local wildlife and your efforts to give it that helping hand. If you’re lucky enough to photograph a hedgehog or perhaps you’ve created a hedgehog haven in your garden, drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org
Keen to find out more? Check out these resources: