Have you seen my new Hedgehog “Watch and Feed” station? See video taken in my garden! Does it work? Beautifully! As do all of my products! I will donate £2 donated to hedgehog trusts/societies in the UK for each box sold.
Hedgehogs in decline
Many people love hedgehogs, yet surprisingly many people I speak to have never seen a living hedgehog as it trundles along going about its business. Sadly they have seen only dead ones on roads. Indeed the number of dead “Mammals on Roads” survey, which included dead hedgehogs, has been used in the past to give us an idea as to their numbers. What is revealing to me, is that I have seen far fewer dead hedgehogs on roads over the past few years. Our hedgehogs are in massive decline. That is why many people do not even see as many dead hedgehogs in roads anymore, quite simply there are less of them to kill. It appears that my observations have also been noticed by individuals taking part in wildlife surveys such as the British Trust for Ornithology’s Garden Bird Watch scheme.
http://www.bto.org/volunteer-surveys/gbw who amongst other organisations, confirm that hedgehogs are declining. Hedgehogs can roam 1-2 miles a night in search for food. What can restrict their movement to search for food is the likes of walls, fences and other difficult obstacles for them to climb. This time of the year, they will be searching for suitable places to hibernate. Twice I have been fortunate enough to attract a hedgehog to hibernate in places of my choice and designed for that very purpose, one being my garden and another on a wildlife garden I was creating. Many years ago, I remember sitting crouched up in one of the ‘little tikes’ outdoor playhouse waiting for ‘our’ hedgehog to appear and filming it as it wandered along the lawn!
In our quests to have our garden fences looking nice and lasting longer, many of us buy our wooden panels and sit them on top of these concrete slabs. Quite simply this is a hedgehog ‘no go’ area. Recently I met an old lady who said that for many years she put out cat food every night for ‘her’ hedgehog and every night she was happy to watch it devour this easy fast food. This year, she had not had any hedgehogs even though she continued to put out the cat food. I asked her if she had recently had her fence renewed and yes she had! Exactly as the ones I describe!
Hedgehogs regularly use garden to feed. It offers them a sheltered place of safety away from cars and predatory foxes. It offers them a new foraging ground and new pickings for them to eat. They will search and visit many gardens in one night. They will consume slugs and snails which would otherwise consume your plants, flowers and vegetables. Ideally they would like to forage from one garden to the next. Fences can block their paths and can make them deviate some considerable distances to get around as they travel from one garden to another.
There is a woodland on this side of the fence. Note the large gap underneath the door. Easy for hedgehogs, newts, frogs, toads and other wildlife to find sanctuary and food in this garden.
By removing barriers we can help our hedgehogs travel easier in the quest to find food, nest sites, hibernation sites and mates. This gate leads out from a garden to a cul de sac, directly from the road.
Nice gaps for hedgehogs to easily pass unhindered in and out of this garden, as long as they keep to the pavement once leaving!!
I’m sure it can’t be difficult for manufacturers of concrete panels to leave a 15cm diameter hole in the bottom of a panel? I would imagine that they pour the concrete into a mould. Surely a piece of wood or something similar could be placed in the mould, which could be easily removed leaving a wildlife friendly hole for their passage from one garden to the next?
The missing link?
If you have wooden fence cut a 15cm hole, dig a channel underneath the fence panel, wall or gate, perhaps slip a brick underneath the panel when it is first put into place or a piece of drainage pipe would make an ideal ‘tunnel’. Then you would link your garden to your neighbours for the benefit of wildlife and your enjoyment! I am working on this very subject and will write an article for this site when I have it sorted!!
Go to Hedgehog Street http://www.hedgehogstreet.org/
and read lots more information about hedgehogs and how to help them, become a ‘hedgehog champion’, make your fences hedgehog friendly or get a free information pack.
“All my articles and videos, available free, are funded by my teaching and sales of award winning bumblebee nest boxes, solitary bee boxes, and wormeries. Please help by spreading the word and forwarding this link to your friends and colleagues. http://nurturing-nature.co.uk Thank you” George Pilkington