Hedgehog Awareness Week is organised by the British Hedgehog Preservation Society and takes place every year. It aims to highlight the problems hedgehogs face and how you can help them.
This year the charity is asking people to ‘Think Hedgehog!’ Look at your garden or greenspace (or local park, school grounds, etc) and imagine how useful or dangerous it might be if you were a hedgehog – is it a hedgehog disaster or a des-res?
There are lots of hazards that can be removed or improved such as:
- Poisons and pesticides that could directly harm hedgehogs and destroy their food chain.
- Uncovered drains – hedgehogs can fall into these and become stuck so make sure yours are covered up.
- Litter is a problem for all wildlife and while this is (hopefully) not an issue in your own garden, it very likely is in the wider environment. Contacting local landowners where litter is an issue can help; remember to point out the danger to wildlife.
- Netting can become entangled in hedgehog spines: make sure sports nets are put away and garden netting is at a height that hedgehogs can safely pass under.
- Always carefully check for hedgehogs before mowing, strimming or lighting a bonfire pile that they might have made a nest in.
There are also lots of lovely hedgehog-friendly features that can be added to make the area more welcoming to hedgehogs:
- Hedgehog highways are really important to allow access to more habitat; they are just 13cm x 13cm square gaps in the bottom of boundary walls and fences to ensure hedgehogs can get in and out easily; once these are made you can log your Hedgehog Highway at www.bighedgehogmap.org.
- Feeding stations – offer water and meaty cat or dog food for hedgehogs in a feeding station to help keep the food safe for hedgehogs (see plans for a feeding station on this website or contact BHPS for a paper copy).
- Log piles, leaf piles or wild corners and edges will attract natural food and offer shelter for hedgehogs.
- Ponds or pools are great for wildlife but do ensure there are escape routes – a sloping edge, ramp or half-submerged rock for hedgehogs to scramble out on.
- Hedgehog homes – make or buy a hedgehog home (plans for building homes can be found on the this website or contact BHPS for a paper copy).
BHPS Chief Executive, Fay Vass, said: “These small actions can help create and link fantastic habitat for hedgehogs; just a little effort from each of us could make life a lot easier for them! If you don’t have a garden yourself, you can still help by contacting public space managers, neighbours, family and friends to ensure they are all doing their bit.”
BHPS is urging everyone to become a Hedgehog Champion for their area at Hedgehog Street – a project run by BHPS and People’s Trust for Endangered Species. Join over 120,000 Champions by signing up for free at www.hedgehogstreet.org – you will get an email each month with top tips on how you can help hedgehogs and there’s even a Hedgehog Street app you can download from The App Store or Google Play!
BHPS is hoping to raise £2,000 during Hedgehog Awareness Week 2023; you can donate to the 2023 #hedgehogweek appeal at: www.justgiving.com/campaign/HAW23
To join BHPS as a supporter costs just £7.50 a year for an individual in the UK (or £12.50 for a family). Costs are kept low to encourage more people to sign up and learn all about helping hedgehogs – for an application form please see here or call BHPS on 01584 890 801 with a credit or debit card to join.
Leaflets and posters are available on this website under ‘information’ or paper copies can be posted out on request. A downloadable copy of the Hedgehog Awareness Week (HAW) poster is available by clicking below.