Look out for our spiky friends in Hedgehog Awareness Week

ROTHERHAM residents are being urged to make their streets and gardens hedgehog friendly.
SPIKY FRIENDS: Help them out in Hedgehog Awareness WeekSPIKY FRIENDS: Help them out in Hedgehog Awareness Week
SPIKY FRIENDS: Help them out in Hedgehog Awareness Week

Hedgehogs are a great indicator species – they don’t need an awful lot to survive, so if they are not coping well, it means the habitat is deficient and should ring alarm bells for other species, including humans – says the British Hedgehog Preservation Society.

The BHPS is asking people to ‘Welcome Wildlife!’ by creating a space for wildlife in their gardens or green spaces and encouraging landowners such as schools and councils to do the same.

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Fay Vass, chief executive of the BHPS, said: “These small actions to ‘Welcome Wildlife’ during #HedgehogWeek can help create and link fantastic habitats 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.”

The BHPS says there are lots of wildlife-friendly features that can be added (and hazards that can be avoided) during Hedgehog Awareness Week (May 5-11) to make an area more welcoming to hedgehogs:

  • Hedgehog highways allow vital access to more habitat; These 13cm x 13cm square gaps in the bottom of boundary walls and fences ensure hedgehogs can get in and out easily – and once these Hedgehog Highways are made you can log them at www.bighedgehogmap.org.
  • Log piles, leaf piles, wild corners and edges will attract natural food and offer shelter for hedgehogs.
  • Water is vital for all wildlife and can be scarce, especially during hot spells. Make sure there are always several clean shallow bowls of water in the garden for hedgehogs – pop a few pebbles in so that bees and butterflies can safely take a drink too.
  • 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.
  • Stop using poisons and pesticides that could directly harm wildlife and destroy the food chain.
  • Litter is a problem for wildlife and while this is (hopefully) not an issue in your own garden, it very likely is in the wider environment. Contact local landowners where litter is an issue to see if they 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 raised 30cm off the ground so hedgehogs can safely pass under. Always carefully check for wildlife before mowing, strimming or lighting a bonfire pile.

    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. Sign up for free to join over 126,000 Champions at www.hedgehogstreet.org

    Help BHPS raise £2,000 during Hedgehog Awareness Week 2024 by donating to the 2024 appeal at www.justgiving.com/campaign/haw24

    You can join BHPS as a supporter from just £7.50 a year for an individual (or £12.50 for a family) at www.britishhedgehogs.org.uk/join-us/ or by phone on 01584 890 801.