I’ve always had a passion for helping others and a talent for fixing things. When I was young, I used to help maintain my family’s nest, ensuring it was always warm, cosy and prepared for hibernation.
As I grew up, I earned the reputation as the best handy hedgehog in the neighbourhood. Always on the go, always busy helping others to maintain their nests – especially in emergencies. I guess that’s why they call me Dash!
If you’re in need of a skilled tradesperson get in touch
Help us to support Britain’s hedgehogs
Sadly, hedgehogs are in decline in Britain and are now listed as ‘vulnerable’ on the red list of mammals. Over the past 20 years the number of hedgehogs has fallen by up to 50%. This is through loss of habitat, lack of food through the use of pesticides which kill off the insects and worms they love to eat, and competition from other species such as badgers.
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Did you know…
There are many ways in which you can encourage hedgehogs to take up residence in your garden and to protect them once they are there:
- Try to leave an overgrown area in your garden, as this will encourage more insects, which are a key food source for hedgehogs. Hedgehogs love snuffling for food in areas of long grass and amongst overgrown shrubs.
- Regularly leave out water for drinking.
- You can also leave out a bowl of meaty dog or cat food (but not fish flavoured) around dusk.
- Install a hedgehog house in a quiet area of your garden
To safely handle an injured hedgehog, put on thick gardening gloves and gently pick it up by cupping it with both hands around its middle. Place the hedgehog in a cardboard box lined with newspaper and provide a small towel or tea towel for it to hide under.
If the hedgehog is cold or in poor condition, you can also offer a warm water bottle or drinks bottle wrapped in a tea towel for it to snuggle with.
If you need to keep the hedgehog for any period of time before taking it to a rescue centre, provide a shallow bowl of dog or cat food and a non-tip dish of fresh water.
Hedgehogs are insectivores and thrive on the bugs, insects and worms found in gardens. To encourage hedgehogs to your garden, create an environment that attracts insects such as leaving some areas wild, planting native plants, creating log piles, and providing fresh water, ideally in a pond with a ramp.
A ‘top-up’ meal of a meat-based dog or cat food, and a handful of dog or cat biscuits, can also be offered as supplement to their diet, especially during the harder winter months, but should not be offered in excess. Also, hedgehogs are lactose intolerant so avoid giving them milk.
The best time to put out food is after dusk, when they are starting to search for food. It is particularly important to ensure food availability in the autumn and winter months before hibernation.
There are several things that you shouldn’t do if you think you have a hedgehog in your garden:
- Don’t leave our bread or milk.
- Don’t leave black sacks lying around.
- Don’t use slug pellets or other pesticides or chemicals, they may poison hedgehogs or other wildlife.
- Don’t light a bonfire without checking to see if a hedgehog (or other wild animal) has taken up residence.
- Don’t fork over compost heaps. Hedgehogs and other animals may have taken refuge within it.
In some places hedgehogs are facing decline due to habitat loss, pesticide use, and predation by from other animals.
Hedgehogs require safe sleeping spots during the day and tend to build a warmer nest called a hibernacula for hibernation during the winter.
Summer nests are made of loosely packed grass and leaves and are less insulated than winter ones (called hibernacula) which are tightly woven, waterproof and well insulated, composed of leaves, twigs, grass and other plant materials, they can measure up to 2 ft in diameter.
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