Saturday, 12 March 2016

Hedgehogs in March by Kay Bullen (BHPS)

The flowers are confused; the birds are confused so I guess the hedgehogs will be too. Is it time to get up yet? Well some of the male hedgehogs would normally be awake this month but some of the others might wait longer. So whenever it is that they appear, early or late, we must be ready for them.

Is our garden safe for any visiting hedgehogs we may ask – check the BHPS’s website.  The Gardening ‘with’ Hedgehogs leaflet will warn you about some of the dangers in the garden, so perhaps you can get those dangers sorted out before we hit hedgehog season!

Make sure there is plenty of water to drink – you would be thirsty if you had not had a drink for several month and hungry of course. Can the hedgehogs move freely from your garden to your neighbours, have any “hedgehog highways” become overgrown or blocked? Any nest boxes that were definitely unused over the winter could be readied for any new lodgers.

I would not recommend putting a feeding station too close to any nest boxes.  If a female has her hoglets in a nest box she would not be happy about other hedgehogs coming close to her new family.  Nor would she be happy about any cats that might try their luck at the feeding station.  A few dry biscuits could be scattered, initially nearby, or even in the entrance of, an empty nest box but once occupied feed elsewhere. Remember the tip to place a small screwed up piece of paper in an occupied nest box entrance, when it is pushed aside you know a hedgehog has left the nest – but it may also have returned so do not disturb the box. 

Also please take a look at the new ‘Hedgehog Petition’ calling for greater legal protection of our prickly friends.

If you need advice or find a sick or injured hedgehog contact the British Hedgehog Preservation Society they can give general advice and perhaps details of a local hedgehog rehabilitator that you can contact. If you are within 15 miles of Stansted Airport you can always contact us - details can be found on The Herts Hogline website.