November and the winter are troubling times for Britain’s Hedgehogs. As it stands, Hedgehogs in Britain are on the decline, although there is no definite answer as to why, but there are likely things such as intensive agriculture and the removal of hedgerows and the lack of any wildlife in some gardens! Hedgehogs will go in search of good foraging habitats which means they are often found lifeless at the side of roads, they can coexist with Badgers should there be enough foraging for both species, but should there be no food then the Hedgehogs are on the menu. Hedgehogs are beautiful and adorable creatures and many people are now providing either Hog feeding stations in their gardens or Hedgehog homes which will be vital for the Winter months.
Hedgehogs, because of their size, do get injured quite a lot. Things as small and simple as a rubber band can really harm a ‘Hog but getting tangled, these creatures dart in and out of bushes and shrubs a lot so do often get tangled and trapped. Mankind has had a major impact on the Hog population, either by the removal of habitat or by machinery such as strimmers, it is vital to check the grass before cutting and strimming especially early hours or later in the evening. Compost heaps are becoming popular now as people are trying to be more green. This provides a perfect home for Hogs and pitch forks or spades to remove the compost materials can really harm Hogs! Also, should your home have a hedge or bushes around the outskirts, then leave your netting a meter off the ground to create a Hog tunnel for them to pass through, you can easily set up a camera trap and watch the little Hogs whilst they’re on their travels!
The other major issue and concerning matter for Hogs: Bonfire Night. Huge pile of sticks, dark spaces, sounds perfect for a Hog home right? Correct! Hogs love these types of places so be sure to check your bonfire BEFORE lighting it, also, should the council or a local event to you be advertising a bonfire then ask them to check it thoroughly first or ask if you can do it yourself. These nights, there are cruel people around who think it’s fun to harm these adorable creatures by either kicking them around or setting them alight. Why not create a Hog patrol whilst you’re out enjoying the night and just keep an eye out for any suspicious behaviour regarding Hogs.
What to do if you find a Hog or Hoglet:
If you’ve found either a Hog or Hoglet, then there is basic care you can do whilst you wait for someone to come collect. Use some thick gloves, gardening gloves are ideal for this. Carefully pick the little ‘un up and place it in a high sided box with an old towel for it to hide under and keep warm. Either use click-hand warmers or a hot water bottle and place under the towel/blanket on one side of the box, making sure it has room to get off should it wish and then place the box somewhere quiet so it can rest. Food and hydration wise: Cat or dog food that is meaty is perfectly fine and some fresh water is perfect for them. These are general guidelines and should only be done if the Hog/Hoglet weighs less than 500g, if it’s heavy then he’s just stocking up on food and should be left alone. If you do have to take the Hog into care, then immediately inform the British Hedgehog Preservation Society on 01584 890 801! If you are feeling generous, then a small donation to the BHPS will provide vital care for Hogs over the Winter months and they will help get the Hog population up and rising once again.
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