Hedgehogs - Wild About Gardens Week

Tuesday 20th October 2015

Hedgehog (c) Tom MarshallHedgehog (c) Tom Marshall

More than 300 sightings of hedgehogs across Worcestershire have been submitted to Worcestershire Wildlife Trust following a plea last month.

Hedgehog (c) Tom MarshallThe local conservation charity asked residents across the county to let them know when they last saw a hedgehog – and have been overwhelmed by the response. The news comes just in time for the national hedgehog-themed Wild About Gardens Week (26th Oct – 1st Nov), the annual celebration of garden wildlife organised by The Wildlife Trusts and Royal Horticultural Society.

Wendy Carter, the Trust’s Communications Manager, explained “We’ve been really pleased with the response to our appeal for sightings of hedgehogs in September - it just goes to show how popular these spiny mammals are – and we like to thank everyone who has submitted their information so far.

“Research by the People’s Trust for Endangered Species shows that hedgehogs have declined by 30% in the last ten years alone; we think there are fewer than one million left in the entire UK.

“It’s coming up to hibernation time for our hedgehogs so this is a timely reminder to check under bonfires before lighting them, look out for underweight hedgehogs and report your sightings of hedgehogs via our online form.”

Help the humble hedgehog

This year’s Wild About Gardens Week is a celebration of and call to action for the humble hedgehog. The week is packed with events, competitions and opportunities to get stuck in.

The Trust is running two events during the week themed around hedgehogs, hibernating and Hallowe’en.

Drop-in activities at Wild about Worcester Woods take place between 11am and 3pm on Tuesday 27th October. Activities are free but donations are welcome.

On Wednesday 28th October there’s a chance to focus in on how wildlife makes it through the winter with Wild About Hibernation at the Trusts’s HQ of Lower Smite Farm between Worcester and Droitwich Spa. Booking is essential on 01905 754919 and costs just £3.50 per child.

Hedgehog in garden (c) Tom MarshallThrough the wildaboutgardensweek.org.uk website, people can download a 13cm x 13cm template to create holes for hedgehogs in fences and gates. There are also details of a design a home for a hedgehog competition in order to win a trail camera or a visit from a hedgehog expert.

A downloadable booklet full of advice on how to help hedgehogs is also available from the website.

Wendy added “We’re delighted that Wild About Gardens Week this year celebrates hedgehogs because they really need our help. As well as the main Wild About Gardens Week website, there is advice on our own website as well as the opportunity to let us know about any local hedgehog sightings.

“Of course, at this time of year it’s really important that hedgehogs eat enough food to make it through the winter. If you’re able to put out cat or dog food along with some water it can really help.

“If anyone sees a small hedgehog as it gets colder, it’s worth contacting one of our local rescue centres – Vale Wildlife at Beckford, Malvern Hedgehog Rescue or Willows Hedgehog Rescue in Bromsgrove.”

Seen a hedgehog?

The Trust website has a simple form for people to submit details of hedgehog sightings. The form also offers the opportunity to submit negative records if a hedgehog hasn’t been seen for several years.

Bill Oddie (c) Anna GuthrieBill Oddie, The Wildlife Trusts’ Vice President, said “I can honestly say that I have not come across a wild hedgehog anywhere – whether in the woods or countryside or garden or my garden – for something like three or four years. That is really sad because, let’s face it, they’re one of these little creatures which everyone knows – Mrs Tiggywinkle. It’s an animal that everybody loves. Nobody’s frightened of them.

“Hedgehogs do a fantastic job in your garden munching up worms in particular, the odd slug occasionally and, I dare say, they’ve been known to crunch open a few snails. Basically the hedgehog is the gardener’s friend. There’s no two ways about that. But not just that they are a delightful addition to your garden fauna –the birds, the animals, the insects - the hedgehogs, they belong there. We need them. They should be part of it.

“But if you are lucky enough to have them, you’ve got to make it possible for them to get in and to get out. Think of it as the hedgehog door – to food, to adventure and the way back home.”

Tagged with: Wild about Gardens Week