Saturday, 16 February 2013

Hedgehogs in March

Spring is here and hedgehogs are starting to wake from hibernation. They will be sleepy and very thirsty and will head for the nearest water.  Although good swimmers many die in ponds because there is no way out for them.  By putting some green plastic coated wire netting down into (not across) the pond you can provide a ladder for them to use should they fall in. 

It's not only hedgehogs that are out and about but gardeners as well. Whilst the hedgehog is the gardeners' friend the gardener is not always the hedgehogs' friend. Many of the jobs we do in our gardens can affect and even harm hedgehogs.  So please take care when tidying up, pulling down sheds (a favourite nesting site) and strimming long grass and brambles. 

Hedgehogs are not territorial; they tend to have home patches. A females’ home patch will be just big enough to support her and her hoglets. A males’ patch will be much larger in the breeding season as they wander long distances searching for females. Once the autumn comes their home patches will become smaller.  So if you see a hedgehog on a regular basis in the springtime it is more likely to be a female.  If you are able to leave food out each night then this will encourage any females to stay around and eat your slugs and snails. However males, will have other priorities and will have a nomadic lifestyle at this time of year.

The following are a few suggestions for feeding stations that can keep the food dry and deter cats from stealing the food.  
  • Try a paving slab on bricks (leave a gap between 2 of the bricks as an entrance hole)
  • A box with a small hole cut into it 
  • A large box upside down with a brick propping up one end 
  • A rabbit hutch with its door wedged partly open 
  • An upside down pet basket 
  • An upside down toy box with the hand holds cut away  

As a final suggestion try to get one of those blue plastic mushroom boxes. Cut a 12.5cm x 12.5 cm (5" x 5") hole in one of the short sides so when the box is upside down the hole becomes an entrance.  Put the food at the far end and weigh the box down with a stone. Sometimes a brick needs to be placed 10cm - 12.5cm (4 - 5”) away from the entrance, so if a cat has tried to reach in with a paw the brick should make it more difficult.

Finally do remember hedgehogs are nocturnal and usually only come out in the day when they are in serious trouble.

The above was kindly supplied by the British Hedgehog Preservation Society who can be contacted for help and advice on 01584 890801. 

Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Let's Talk

Herts Hogline has two aims:

  • Rescue sick, injured and orphaned hedgehogs and return to the wild whenever possible
  • Educate people in all things hoggie

The second is achieved by giving talks to local groups (WI's, Gardening Clubs, Brownies, Rainbows, Cubs etc.). Giving these talks helps raise much needed funds, as a donation is asked for.

Normally I give one talk per month, however recently I gave two in one evening. My first talk was with a Brownie group in Buntingford. The group were very generous, they not only paid a donation but also gave a huge pile of dog and cat food.

The pile of food Buntingford Brownie pack donated
What stars!

The girls were a fantastic audience and asked some really fab questions. As I packed away one of the Brownies gave me a picture she'd drawn. This picture is now in pride of place on the hedgehog shed wall.

The lovely hedgehog drawing I received
Thank you Ella  

The drive to my second talk was an adventure. Narrow, bendy, unlit roads I didn't know. Then my Sat Nav told me I was there, when I clearly wasn't and wildlife darting in front of me. When I finally arrived I was greeted by a lovely group of ladies, who also asked some really great questions. After the talk I was also treated to a yummy brownie cake.

I'd like to thank both groups for the invite, it's much appreciated. I'm hoping they gained an insight into the work we do and now know how they can help support our dwindling hedgehog population.

If you know a group within a 20-mile radius of Stansted Airport who'd like a hog talk please do pass on our details. They can email for information at