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Introducing our first Hedgehog Heroes- Justine & Fay Dixon

12, November, 2020

Here at Spike’s, hedgehogs are very close to our hearts. We love speaking to our community and finding out the things they’re doing to promote hedgehog welfare, going out of their way to help each little hog they come across. They truly are our hedgehog heroes! 

We sat down with Justine Dixon, and her 84-year-old mother Fay, to find out more about their efforts and their love of hedgehogs. Together they help fundraise for local rescue centre, Pricklington Palace, by creating useful packs that include: helpful guides on hedgehog care, hedgehog food and adorable knitted hedgehogs (knitted by Fay herself!).

When did your love of hedgehogs begin?

Justine: I’ve loved hedgehogs for as long as I can remember. When I was a child there were so many more about than there are today and I always enjoyed seeing them! In the last five years, they’ve needed a lot of help from us, so I’ve become heavily involved in fundraising for local rescue centres. 

What is your favourite thing about hedgehogs?

Justine & Fay: We really love the way hedgehogs snuffle around the garden, foraging for food. They’re the cutest little animals, with so many interesting quirks. 

How did you get the idea to start knitting hedgehogs?

Fay: I’ve always knitted for our local church and so I offered to knit some hedgehogs to help with the fundraising efforts. My daughter Googled some hedgehog patterns and the rest is history! People seem to really like them and I’m very pleased about that.

What areas of hedgehog care do you focus on in your useful guides?

Justine: All our guidance is based on the information provided by the British Hedgehog Preservation Society and our local rescue centre. The information includes: what you should and shouldn’t feed a hedgehog, how to make them a feeding station, how to make your garden hedgehog friendly, and more. 

How should the public approach a hedgehog?

Justine & Fay: It’s important to keep in mind that hedgehogs are wild animals and need to be respected as such. Even though we have a lot of experience dealing with hedgehogs, we don’t handle them unless it’s absolutely necessary. Make sure you respect a hedgehog’s boundaries as they aren’t used to humans. 

How did you come into contact with Pricklington Palace?

Justine: Pricklington Palace opened its doors roughly four years ago near Howden (East Yorkshire). There previously wasn’t a rescue centre in the area so both my mother and I were really pleased about this. It’s entirely funded by donations so we were determined to do our part to help out. I personally run Hook Gardening Club, so I used this platform to collect donations from the local community. Pricklington Palace is run by a lovely lady called Gill Dixon (no relation!) and we invited Gill to our club to give a talk on hedgehog welfare. We have been donating ever since and have developed a strong working relationship over the years. 

What advice would you give to those that wish to promote hedgehog welfare?

Fay & Justine: It’s important not to over-tidy your garden! Hedgehogs love overgrown shrubs and bushes as it provides them a safe place to hide from predators or to nest. Make sure you avoid all pesticides (as these can kill hedgehogs) and make an effort to regularly provide fresh food and water. You can also create a hedgehog highway in the gaps of your fences to provide a route for hedgehogs to get in and out of your garden.

What steps can the general public make to promote hedgehog welfare?

Fay & Justine: If you see a hedgehog out and about during the day this is not a good sign and the hedgehog probably needs help. Ring your local rescue centre or vet to ask for advice on what to do next.

In your opinion what does the future look like for hedgehogs? 

Justine: Sadly, hedgehogs have become endangered due to loss of habitat and food over the years. That is exactly why it’s so important to protect the hedgehogs we have left in the UK and do our bit to promote their welfare! We can all make a difference in a small way while they’re still snuffling around our gardens.

What do you like about Spike’s as a brand?

Justine & Fay: We like Spike’s as it’s high in quality and hedgehogs seem to love it. Cats don’t seem to be interested in eating it so hedgehogs don’t need to worry about battling it out for their dinner!

Want to be featured in our Hedgehog Heroes series? Connect with us on social media and tell us your hedgehog stories!

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