Hedgehog Awareness Week 2nd – 8th May 2021
jeanniejeanniejeannie.co.uk BLOG Saturday 8th May 2021
THOUGHT FOR THE DAY
HAPPY 5th BIRTHDAY GRANDSON GEORGE!!!
Hedgehog Awareness Week 2nd – 8th May 2021
Sorry I’m a little late on this one, should have informed you last Sunday. Better late than never though.
Hedgehog Awareness Week is organised by the British Hedgehog Preservation Society with the aim of raising the profile of the small garden visitor, the hedgehog.
Hedgehogs are in trouble. It’s estimated that the UK population has declined by a third in ten years. There are practical ways that we can all help these endearing creatures, such as leaving leaf piles in gardens, fitting escape ramps to cattle grids and steep-sided ponds, providing 13cm x 13cm (compact disc-sized) access holes in fences to connect gardens, and giving them a safe haven for hibernation and nursing females.
Hedgehog houses should be placed in a quiet part of the garden with some weather protection, avoiding areas that flood, such as against a wall or under an outbuilding, and will offer a refuge for hibernation and may also be used as a nursery area in the spring or summer.
Hedgehog houses need to have lots of internal space for the hedgehogs to build warm hibernation nests, provide a snug, secure space for females to give birth and nurse their young.
Hedgehogs are insectivores and their preferred diet includes beetles, slugs, caterpillars and earthworms. Hedgehog Food can be bought that is an excellent substitute should supplies of these insects be insufficient. They can also be tempted by saucers of meat-based cat or dog food, but at all times of the year, particularly during the summer, it is important to ensure a bowl of clean water is available. A hedgehog feeding house will let them feed undisturbed and keep the food away from cats, dogs and foxes.
Encourage hedgehogs into your garden.
There are lots of different ways that hedgehogs can be helped, and if you’re already gardening with wildlife in mind you are probably doing most of them.
A “wild area” is a good start. This needn’t be rank dereliction and nettles – some unmown grass, a nice selection of native plants and shrubs, perhaps a wildlife pond with sloping sides to allow creatures in and out will all help to encourage any passing hedgehog to stake a claim to your garden. Discrete piles of leaves, prunings and general garden refuse can help to provide nest materials or even nest and hibernation sites.
A lot of hedgehog casualties occur because our gardens can, despite the best intentions, be quite hostile places. Steep sided ponds or cattle grids can literally be death traps for any hedgehog that falls in, unless there is some form of escape route such as a gently sloping plank. Soft netting around fruit can entangle hedgehogs, sometimes causing horrible injuries, while the dangers posed by machinery such as strimmers is obvious.
A lot of hedgehog casualties are caused by grass cutting, particularly when people trim back areas of long grass with a strimmer. Be extremely careful when strimming long grass and, if you can, give it a “top cut” first to reduce the height, then rake up the mowings and return later for a second cut down to the desired height.
Hedgehogs don’t appreciate the distinction between a pile of hedgehog-friendly prunings and a bonfire so it’s good practice to move any combustible materials to one side before you reach for the matches, just in case. Obviously if you do find a ball of leaves in the base, replace some of the materials over the hedgehog’s winter nest and leave it in peace until the spring.
Providing food is an obvious way to welcome guests, with the added bonus in this case that hedgehogs love to eat pests such as slugs and snails. You don’t need to encourage these (there should be plenty in your garden already!) but avoid using slug pellets if at all possible to avoid the chances of hedgehogs eating poisoned molluscs.
Avoid putting out saucers of milk for your hedgehogs as most experts agree that this does more harm than good.
In the 1950s it was estimated there were 36.5 million hedgehogs in Britain, but this was based on limited data and was probably an overestimate.
A more recent estimate, of 1,550,000 in Great Britain (England 1,100,000, Scotland 310,000, Wales 140,000), is more reliable. There is now evidence that numbers are declining even more.
Click on the HEDGEHOG HOUSE picture to ordered products to help hedgehogs in your garden.
TOP TEN OF THE DAY
TOP TEN MONTHS IN A
- January and February
Over winter, most hedgehogs will be hibernating. They may wake a little during their hibernation, but will remain inactive unless disturbed or when the weather has turned extremely mild.
Hedgehogs will begin to emerge from hibernation, having potentially lost 1/3 of their body weight during their rest. This is the perfect time to start putting out supplementary food and water as they will be extremely thirsty and hungry.
Most hedgehogs will be active and building up the body fat lost over the winter. At the same time, they will be scouting for suitable nesting sites – so it’s well worth building log piles or building/buying a hedgehog house if no natural materials are available.
And so begins the mating season. Keep an ear out for loud snuffling and grunting noises at night, it may be hedgehogs mating! Males will circle around the female, sometimes for hours, trying to persuade her to mate. After mating, the male leaves, taking no part in rearing the young.
The female will be pregnant for around four weeks and normally births a litter of up to 6 or 7 hoglets. The mother will forage and return to feed her young while they are are too small to leave the nest.
After three or four weeks the hoglets will join their mother on her foraging trips, quickly learning what is good to eat but still returning to the nest to take their mother’s milk as well.
Soon the hoglets will become independent of their mother and start to explore alone. These animals will live solitary lives without encountering their siblings.
Some mature females may have mated for a second time and thus repeating the events of the last couple of months, however, with their natural diet becoming scarcer in the autumn, late litters will struggle to gain the fat reserves necessary for hibernation and need our help.
As the weather begins to get colder, adult hedgehogs will continue to eat as much as possible and begin building their nests ready for hibernation.
- November – December
Most hedgehogs will have begun to hibernate during November and will normally remain in this state until March of the following year..
SPECIAL DAYS CELEBRATED ON 8th May
No Socks Day
Mother Ocean Day
Free Trade Day
International Migratory Bird Day
World Red Cross Day
Free Trade Day
World Belly Dance Day
Mini Golf Day
Stay Up All Night Day
DON’T FORGET TO LAUGH EVERYDAY
INSPIRATIONAL QUOTE FOR THE DAY
The biggest adventure you can ever take is to live the life of your dreams. Oprah Winfrey
Happiness is…a hedgehog friendly garden.
GRANDAD’S ONE LINER JOKE OF THE DAY
Love is…just going with the flow.
A time to encourage hedgehogs into your garden…A time to read Mrs Tiggywinkle by Beatrix Potter.
1886 Jacob’s Pharmacy in Atlanta sells the first Coca-Cola (contained cocaine).
1348 Ship from Bordeaux carrying the plague, lands in Melcombe Regis (now Weymouth), Dorset.
1989 Paul McCartney releases remake of “Ferry Cross the Mersey” in aid of those affected by the Hillsborough disaster, which claimed the lives of 96 Liverpool football fans.
LITTLE NUMBERS: SOME HORRBLE SOME NICE
©2021 Phil M Robinson