Hedgehog Awareness Week starts on 30th April. It’s organised annually by the British Hedgehog Preservation Society (BHPS) to raise awareness of the problems hedgehogs face and what we can do to help them.
This year’s efforts are focussed on a strimmer campaign. The BHPS has produced water proof stickers that it’s sending to councils, tool hire companies, grounds maintenance teams, etc. free of charge on request via its website – www.britishhedgehogs.org.uk The stickers remind operatives to check areas for hedgehogs before using any machinery.
As well as checking areas before cutting there are other things we can do to help hedgehogs:
· Ensure there is hedgehog access in your garden – a 13cm x 13cm gap in boundary fences and walls.
· Move piles of garden rubbish to a new site before burning them.
· Ensure netting is kept at a safe height.
· Check compost heaps before digging with a fork.
· Stop or reduce the amount of pesticides and poisons used (eg. slug pellets)
· Cover drains or deep holes.
· Ensure there is an easy route out of ponds and pools.
Most hedgehogs have come out of hibernation now and if you’re lucky enough to have one in your garden it is more likely to stay if you feed it. Tinned dog or cat food (not the fish variety) is best, along with a fresh supply of water, but please remember that hedgehogs cannot digest milk and it is harmful to them.
The ManxSPCA works closely with several very dedicated hedgehog rehabilitators on the Island, and between us we are able to give sick or orphaned hedgehogs a second chance. If you are worried about the health of a hedgehog you should place it carefully (ideally using gardening gloves!) in a cardboard box and bring it either to Ard Jerkyll or to your nearest vet.