Andrew Marshall Wildlife Photography
Hedgehog ( Erinaceus europaeus)
The European hedgehog is becoming endangered to the point of extinction as a viable breeding population in the Uk. Due largely to habitat fragmentation and road kill, increasingly small populations become isolated and genetic diversity decreases. Coupled with added pressure from disease and problems overwintering there is a real danger of the species disappearing in the Uk. We can help hedgehog populations easily by increasing their habitat range, for example cutting holes in Close board fencing to allow movement through gardens, providing additional food in late summer, autumn. Leaving compost heaps and log piles in quiet corners of the garden unsdisturbed all helps. Do not use slug pellets to control slugs and snails. In late autumn, small hedgehogs which are underweight may not have sufficient fat reserves to survive the winter and can be taken to a local wildlife rescue centre where they will be overwintered and returnned to the wild in spring. People who tell you that increased badger populations are impacting on hedgehog populations are probably trying to promote badger culling which is an unscientific, cruel and illogicall attempt to control TB in cattle. Badger and hedgehog populations can and do coexist in the wild and have done so for millenia. Whilst badgers do predate hedgehogs this is a very small part of a very wide diet. As with any predator prey relationship numbers fluctuate and populations change but human impact is the main reason for hedgehogs disappearing in the Uk and this is something we can help to do something about.
If you want to help feed a hedgehog in your garden use moist cat food, earthworms, eggs or proprietary hedgehog food from the garden centre / pet shop. Milk and bread is not recommended!
Cut a small hole in the bottom of your fences so hedgehogs can wander freely, they need a big area to roam.
Hedgehogs have a great sense of smell!