On Friday 19th September a lady came into the Reg Driver Centre holding a shoe box with a baby Hedgehog inside. She had found it on Bolton Lane and said it was about to wonder out onto the road. After much discussion and deliberation she finally decided it was best to leave Spike, as we’d now named him, with us (he was rather cute and adorable). I promptly marched over to Bolton Lane Stores to buy some meat based dog food and hot dog sausages (what we use for our hedgehog survey tunnels, speak to me if you would like a kit for your garden).
I phoned Suffolk Wildlife Trust to ask for contact details for somebody to take him off our hands but was promptly told all local sanctuaries were full. I took this a good news, hedgehogs have become quite rare and the fact the
sanctuaries are full indicates that they’ve had a good breeding season which is excellent news. Anyway, because of his small size of around 400g we are feeding him up to increase his survival chances. We are however keeping him outside in a garden so not to denaturalize him.
Below are a few bullet points to summarise what you should and shouldn’t do if you have hedgehogs in your garden or find yourself with a Spike.
In order to make your garden hedgehog friendly
Leave a compost heap in your garden. Hedgehogs like vegetation heaps and these can be augmented with the insertion of an open tube or a box such as a hedge hog house.
Leave anentrance gap under a fence or other boundary to let hedgehogs move around different gardens. These animals have a large home range and connectivity between habitats is important. A male hedgehog can travel 3km in an evening and your garden is safer than the local road!
Put a ramp in your pond if you have one. Although hedgehogs can swim they are unable to climb steep pond walls. Alternatively a good cover of marginal vegetation will allow the animal access to and from the water.
Allow more wild areas in your garden. Although Hedgehogs will feed on short lawns at night cover such as hedges and trees are important places for hedgehogs to seek refuge and allow them to travel unseen by potential predators.
Check Heaps of garden waste before starting bonfires as hedgehogs will often use these to hide in
Try not to use slug pellets
If you find a hedgehog it may need your help if
It appears injured in any way, shape or form
It is out in the open during the day. (hedgehogs should be tucked away undercover when it is light otherwise they are vulnerable to predators)
It is under 600grams. Adult hedgehogs may have a second brood later in the year, these are considerably smaller with a substantially higher mortality rate.
If any of the above apply it may be best to contact a wildlife sanctuary but if you are able to look after it yourself
Give your hedgehog water
Feed them meat based dog food or hot dog sausages (High protein for fast growth)
Unless still really small in November time, try to keep your hedgehog outside, so as not to denaturalize it.
Give your hedgehog bread or milk
Release a hedgehog too close to any main roads or Badger setts.
Remove a hedgehog from a nest
Further information can be found using the links below or you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org