Fresh out of hibernation, lovable Hedley the Hedgehog is wide awake and ready to start exploring the neighborhood. It’s a bit early in the year for most hedgehogs to be out and about, but Hedley knows how to dress for the cold weather and always wears his signature scarf when he’s taking a stroll through the hedgerows and fields. There’s no chance of getting spiked by Hedley, he’s a very hug-friendly kind of guy and one of the cuddliest hedgehogs you’re ever going to meet.
Recently, voters in a poll ran by BBC Wildlife Magazine named the hedgehog as Britain’s National Species. Badgers, otters and oak trees were among other popular choices but with 42% of the votes going to our prickly native, hedgehogs won,
hands paws down! Hedley was delighted when I told him and decided to do a victory parade. Here he is raising the flag for Great Britain.
Hedley would like you all to know that although hedgehogs are not considered to be endangered as such, their numbers are declining because of natural habitat loss. So he’s put together his top 5 tips on how to show him and his kin some love by making your garden more hedgehog friendly.
1. Be scruffy (Hooray! I don’t need too much encouragement there!) – Have a few untidy areas in your garden where leaves and woodpiles are undisturbed so hedgehogs can find shelter and forage for food. You could also help a hedgehog take up residence by leaning a piece of wood against a wall or try building (or buying) a hibernation box. A compost heap will also provide warmth, security and food. Here’s Hedley about to try out a couple of new homes to see which he likes best.
2. Don’t use pesticides – These aggressive chemicals eliminate natural hedgehog prey and even hedgehogs themselves as they can be killed by eating poisoned slugs.
3. Be vigilant – Watch out for nesting hedgehogs when using lawnmowers and strimmers and please only build your bonfires on the day you plan to light them. Bonfire stacks will encourage hedgehogs to take up residence, with obvious disastrous consequences when they’re lit.
4. Invite hedgehogs into your garden – Not with little gilt edged cards ‘requesting the pleasure of’ of course, but by cutting a hedgehog sized hole in your fence if you are not lucky enough to have a hedge surrounding your garden. You could get together with your neighbours to make hedgehog runways if you live in an area with lots of gardens adjoining each other. Hedgehogs love a suburban landscape as there is often plenty of shelter and food to be found there. They also love to go wandering and can cover several kilometers each night.
5. Leave food out for them – Hedgehogs like tinned cat or dog food (chicken flavors, not fish), cat biscuits, raisins, sultanas, fruit, mild cheddar cheese, and unsalted chopped peanuts to name a few. There’s more info on their ideal diet here.
Now I’ve taken Hedley’s advice and done all I can to provide a hedgehog friendly environment in my garden , but if that fails to attract any hedgehogs I have a back up plan to help the problem of their declining numbers. Can anyone guess what it is? Well, it’s to crochet an army of them instead of course! Here goes…!
If you want to help boost the numbers of crocheted hedgehogs in the world, as well as real ones, then Hedley’s pattern is now available here
For more information on hedgehogs in general this is a great site: