Hedgehogs are a real favourite with many people and it’s no surprise – they are captivating to watch and can readily be attracted to our own gardens for a close-up encounter. We are so lucky to have some in the Wantage area. But numbers are declining and Sustainable Wantage would love to help you do something to reverse that trend!
We appear to have lost over half our hedgehogs from our countryside since the millennium alone and have lost a third from our towns and cities. However, this decline in urban areas does appear to be slowing. Public efforts to improve garden habitats and connectivity, might be giving them a chance.
So what action can you take and how can Sustainable Wantage help?
Make a hedgehog hole
Hedgehogs need a large area to forage so making a small hole in or under your fence to connect your garden to other gardens or potential habitat is a simple measure that really helps. It reduces the need for them to cross busy roads where they risk getting run over and also increases the chance of you seeing hedgehogs in your garden!
Put out food or water
This will supplement their natural diet and is particularly helpful after and before hibernation as hedgehogs go hungry for many months. They love to drink from garden ponds and will drink from a saucer or bird bath if placed low on the ground.
Make a hedgehog home
Hedgehogs need somewhere safe and secure to rest overnight and to raise young. They often have several temporary homes so that they can seek refuge quickly. Many gardens are too tidy and have nowhere for a hedgehog to shelter – can you provide one?
Grow Your Own Hedgehog
Well, not really…. But you can “Garden for Hedgehogs” by leaving some areas of longer grass, create woodpiles and leaf piles that will in turn attract food for hedgehogs. Please don’t use slug pellets in your garden – these can poison hedgehogs and other wildlife (and pets). Encourage hedgehogs to your garden and they can take on the slug control for you – they’re a great natural pest controller!
Would you be up for acting as a local Hedgehog Champion?
Registering as a hedgehog champion on Hedgehogstreet.org gives you access to some great free resources that will help you engage with your neighbours and promote action for hedgehogs in your neighbourhood. It’s free and easy and is supported by British Hedgehog Preservation Society and Peoples Trust for Endangered Species. The website has loads of useful information.
Full details of how to carry out all these actions are on Hedgehogstreet.org but we are also here to help. We can let you know what is already happening in Wantage and co-ordinate activity and resources. We would also like to map the actions that people have taken and get an idea of where hedgehogs are doing well in Wantage – so please let us know if you regularly see hedgehogs or if you are taking action to help them. We look forward to hearing from you.
Mark Bradfield, Sustainable Wantage Biodiversity Project Lead.
Contact me on: WildWantage@gmail.com
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Wild Wantage images ©Mark Bradfield / Lucy Duerdoth