Remember Remember Hedgehogs this November!

Monday 31st October 2016

Hedgehog - Tom Marshall

With fireworks night looming, we're appealing to all bonfire builders to think about hibernating hedgehogs when constructing and lighting their wood piles. Unfortunately bonfire night on November 5th coincides with the season when many small mammals are looking for cosy places to hide, which can be disastrous for wildlife.

“A stack of dry wood and leaves piled up for a bonfire might look to a hedgehog like the perfect place to overwinter and sadly we fear many animals do perish in fires every year,” said Dawn Fielding, the Trust’s Wildlife Gardening Officer.

“Gardeners love these adorable prickly creatures, as they eat bugs and slugs and are great for natural pest control. But hedgehogs are already in trouble - they’re disappearing from our landscape as fast as tigers are worldwide. 

“In the last 10 years hedgehog numbers have fallen by 30% and there are thought to be fewer than a million left in the UK – so looking out for hedgehogs on bonfire night is vital if they are to live and thrive in our county.”


We want bonfire night to be a safe night for all concerned – but especially hedgehogs. So the Trust has put together these top tips:

• Consider piling material near the site of your fire and building your bonfire just before lighting. This will give small creatures less chance to move in.

• Check your bonfire carefully before setting it on fire and remove any small inhabitants - rehome in a safe area away from dogs or cats, such as under a hedge or large bush and well away from your bonfire.

• If you do have to build your bonfire beforehand, consider constructing a fence around it made of chicken wire, to help deter any mammals looking for a cosy home. 


The declining quality of hedgerows, over-management of parks and the loss of gardens to paving and decking have been partly to blame for the hedgehog’s decline. The increased use of chemicals in gardening and farming means there are fewer insects, slugs and snails for hedgehogs to eat. 

Adult hedgehogs travel up to two kilometres a night hunting for food and they need to be able to move between gardens and green spaces. You can help them by cutting a hedgehog-sized hole in your garden fence, to allow these prickly visitors to come and go.

Or why not build your own hedgehog house out of a wooden box or pile of logs or sticks with some warm dry straw or leaves inside? This will provide a safe home for any small mammals in your garden.

Download helping hedgehogs booklet >>


The Trust is working to conserve and create habitat for hedgehogs with its new ‘Hedgerow Heroes’ project. We need volunteers to help survey, monitor, conserve and plant hedgerows across the county. To get involved visit: surreywildlifetrust.org/hedgerowheroes
 

Tagged with: Living Landscapes, Species, Wildlife gardening, Wildlife Watch