New research has found that British hedgehogs are now officially vulnerable to extinction! The Red List conservation report, which was conducted by The Mammal Society, has categorised hedgehogs as vulnerable and explains that our spiky friends could be at risk of dying out completely if we don’t take drastic action to prevent numbers from dropping.
The British Hedgehog Preservation Society (BHPS) has said that the recognition of hedgehogs’ vulnerable status is an opportunity. It will raise awareness of the importance of maintaining the habitats that hedgehogs need to thrive. Here at Spike’s we know just how much everyone does to help their local hedgehogs, but we need to encourage the Government to enforce wildlife friendly practices to ensure their long-term survival.
Hedgehogs experience a lot of day to day threats. Sadly, the biggest threat to hedgehogs is losing their habitat due to changes in farming methods. We can also see the threat of pesticides used in intensive farming and gardening which can kill the creature’s need for food and can also poison them directly. Our gardens too have become dangerous places for hedgehogs as strimmer’s cut back the areas that they hibernate in which can cause serious wounds. Garden netting is also dangerous unless lifted high above the ground. Busier roads and new developments often leave no connectivity between gardens which can disrupt dispersal routes for hedgehogs and there is also an increasing number of badgers which are their main natural predator!
What you can do to help?
The good news is that the lack of cars on the road in lockdown has allowed hedgehogs to move freely which has caused experts to predict a ‘Hoglet Baby Boom’! Here are our top tips to help keep hedgehogs healthy and happy:
- Create a hedgehog highway in your garden! We’d recommend making a 15cm hole in your fence so that hedgehogs can pass through safely and easily on their journey to other gardens as well as yours.
- Leave out a nutritious bowl of food and remember to put out plenty of fresh water every night. You can check out our range of specialist Hedgehog Food here.
- Create a wild corner by leaving an area of your garden naturally unkempt. Hedgehogs can use the fallen leaves, and dead vegetation to build their nests and it also provides a home for insects that hedgehogs can feed on.
- Make your garden hedgehog friendly by avoiding using pesticides, hedgehogs can help and eat the bugs instead! Ensure any drains are covered as it’s easy for hedgehogs to fall in and get trapped. Although hedgehogs are good swimmers, they can also get stuck in ponds so be sure to make a little ramp out for them.
- Build a hedgehog house! Shelter is essential for a hedgehog’s survival during the winter so choose a quiet spot that is unlikely to be disturbed.
Once you have made your garden hedgehog-friendly and you do see a hedgehog, we encourage you to record your sighting in our online, which will help us track population levels of hedgehogs moving forward.