Over the last twenty years this much loved species has been suffering a major population decline. It is generally acknowledged that since the Millennium the national hedgehog population has fallen by about 50%, with the most significant decrease in rural areas. Several causes for the decline have been identified. In the countryside hedgerows and field margins are being lost to intensive farming whilst in urban locations gardens are being fenced, tidied and pests controlled with poisons. In addition, all too often, we see the results of hedgehogs crossing roads.
In 2018 as part of our Biodiversity audit the Environment Group, with the help of Addingham 1st Brownies, launched the Addingham Hedgehog Audit.
Residents were asked to report hedgehog sightings giving, the date, time, number of hogs seen, approximate size (melon, grapefruit or apple) and what they were doing. As reports were received the Brownies recorded them on a large scale map.
Here is a photograph of the map that the Brownies completed each week
Well done Brownies, this gave us an excellent start to our hedgehog project. From the information we were able to establish the location of 10 village hedgehog hotspots. Once armed with that information we could alert and recruit residents to the cause.
Since 2018 we have continued to collect hedgehog sighting data which is added to our overall biodiversity audit. This is allowing us to monitor our village hedgehog population, promote its stability and hopefully to increase it.
AEG Ongoing Support
Capture on camera We offer the loan of a wildlife camera , this has captured many Addingham hedgehogs on their nightly journeys.
Support We can offer general advice, access to hedgehog health advice, assessment and emergency treatment, all courtesy of the Hedgehog Emergency Rescue in Bingley.
Housing for hogs We can offer hedgehog house flat packs or advice on making or building you own hedgehog house.
Emergency rescue We can collect and/or deliver poorly hedgehogs to the Rescue Centre.
Like this little chap
And, like these two, we bring them back to Addingham when they are fit and well.
Basic hedgehog facts
- Our hedgehogs are European Hedgehogs.
- They are mammals.
- They hibernate during the winter. It is thought that hibernation is triggered by a combination of temperature and food supply. Once the temperature drops to about +4 degrees C they will start going into hibernation. Hibernating hedgehogs do look as though they are dead. Don’t wake them. Just leave them well covered and hidden.
- When hedgehogs first come out of hibernation and before they go into hibernation they need to fatten up and benefit from lots of food.
- Hedgehogs are nocturnal. They sleep during the day and come out at dusk.
- They eat almost anything they can find at ground level, insect, slugs, ripe fruit, plant material, debris from bird tables etc.
- Their dropping are about the size of a little finger and are smooth and shiny, often dark in colour and deposited singly, not in heaps.
- Usually in May or June they have on average 5 babies, called hoglets.
- Hedgehogs can swim.
- During the summer hedgehogs may move round several temporary nests where they sleep during the day. These are likely to be in piles of leaves, under hedges or under garden sheds. In winter they hibernate in a more permanent nest.
- Generally hedgehogs are not out and about during the day. If you see one during the day it is almost certainly unwell. Please pick it up using rubber or garden gloves and put it in a cardboard box, keep it warm and….
- Call the Hedgehog Emergency Rescue Bingley 07787 314 590.
- Alternatively called the Environment Group on 01943 839792.
Access to habitat
Hedgehogs like to roam quite a long way every evening, up to a kilometre. So, they need to be able to move between gardens and along hedgerows. Please can you leave gaps (at least 13cm square) for them to go through (at least 13 cm square).
Providing a natural home
Please leave some nice untidy edges or corners in your garden. Hedgehogs find places that are protected from the elements for example, under a bush, a pile of logs or the garden shed. They then use piles of leaves to make their nests. They pull the leaves into a pile and turn round and round in the middle of the pile to make a circular hollow as a nest. The nest can be anything from 30cm to 60cm wide.
Alternatively you could make a home
Different types of materials are suitable such as wood or bricks. Basically it’s creating a waterproof box with an entrance tunnel. Here are the key features:
- Entrance tunnel about 13cm square – hedgehog can get in, predators stay out.
- Main chamber about 30 cm x 30 cm
- An air hole or tube high up on the side in case the box gets covered in snow.
- A nice pile of dry leaves inside and outside.
- We can provide flat pack hedgehog houses.
Supplementing their diet
✓ Wet or dry pet food (not fish flavoured).
✓ Bird food
✓ Ripe fruit
X Raw Meat
X Dried meal worms (hedgehogs love them but they cause bone disease)
If you put out food use a non-tip bowl. Hedgehogs are not very bright and will stand on the edge of a bowl and tip the contents onto the ground.
Disturbance/Keeping hedgehogs safe
When gardening, strimming or tidying please remember that hedgehogs rest during the day in piles of leaves, under bushes, hedges or woodpiles.
Always check out a bonfire pile before lighting, it’s a perfect place for a resting hedgehog. Better still place boards round the lower 30 cm to stop any prospective lodgers.
For more information check out these sites:
www.facebook.com Hedgehog Emergency Rescue, Bingley, Yorkshire, HERBY
The British Hedgehog Preservation Society
BBC Countryfile Hedgehogs
The Wildlife Trust