‘The Ultimate Guide to Looking After Hedgehogs’ Clive Harris tells us how
Here at best4hedging, one of our passions is wildlife and we pride ourselves on providing wildlife friendly hedging and advice on what you can do in your gardens to help our furry friends. We follow a lot of Charites and organisations on social media and we constantly see the work they are doing to help. But it isn’t just organisations that are doing their bit, the response from the general public recently on the need to help hedgehogs has been astounding. Many people are turning their gardens and sheds into hedgehog hospitals, using all the resources they have available to nurse these little guys back to health.
The mild Octobers over the past couple of years have meant rising numbers of hedgehogs that need caring over the winter. Hedgehog hospitals around the country have been feeling the effect this has had with the rising number of patients that need caring for. Baby hedgehogs born too late in the season are underweight and needing medical care. Breeding usually comes to and end mid-October, but with the oddly mild weather and delayed winters, this is causing this period to run on longer than it should. This Winter in particular is seeing a vast amount of wildlife shelters struggling to cope with the demand and cost of looking after the underweight and vulnerable hedgehogs, it costs roughly £5 a week to care for a hedgehog, not a lot of money but with the numbers rapidly increasing, shelters receive little or no funding and are seeking support for resources.
“The RSPCA East Winch Wildlife Centre has looked after 4,376 animals between January and November this year, which is the largest number of animals they have had to care for since 2007.” eastern daily press
“Experts have warned that Britain’s hedgehog population is decreasing so rapidly that they are being driven towards extinction. The species is one of those in decline, with numbers thought to have dropped by 30 per cent since 2003 to less than a million in the UK – down from estimated populations of 36 million in the 1950s.” AOL
We have recently been in touch with garden writer and environmentalist Clive Harris, who himself nursed a sick hedgehog back to health last summer. From this, Clive then took the time to write a A-Z map on understanding hedgehogs with facts and tips on what they need to survive- please read the blog here. It certainly is a fascinating read covering what hedgehogs eat, where they live, do they have any predators and what they do for our gardens. It also list’s the do’s and don’ts! It is widely thought to give hedgehogs milk, but this is extremely bad for them. Clive also tells us how to handle a hedgehog- don’t be scared of the spikes and don’t drop them (they aren’t bouncy)!
Clive also shared his knowledge to the Ecologist, speaking on how education is vital in helping hedgehogs over the next decades. “The reasons for hedgehog decline are complex and research is underway to identify why this is the case. Badger predation and food source competition, climate change and human activities may all have an effect. The PTES regularly commissions research that helps understand why hedgehogs are in such trouble, and how we can best help them.” Read the full interview here.
‘About Clive: Having loved the great outdoors since he was a kid, Clive has always enjoyed being creative in the garden. This and a passion for writing helped bring DIY Garden to life; his own personal gardening blog to share ideas and inspire others.’
We would like to personally thank Clive for sharing this blog with us and we hope it brings you some clarity on what to do if you come across a hedgehog in need. If you want to help and haven’t physically seen a hedgehog, wildlife rescue shelters desperately need resources and they receive little or no funding. So if you have some newspaper, old towels, spare cat biscuits, plastic boxes sitting in the garage just taking up space- google your local shelter and see if they need any help, they may even need volunteers and what a way to spend a day off work helping and learning about these little creatures.
These shelters are doing a wonderful job and helping as many as they can- this little guy is back to health and even having a go at a rubix cube puzzle! Image from AOL
For further information on how to help hedgehogs, please read some of our other blog posts: