Us hedgehogs have plenty of natural struggles, but there are numerous manmade issues that are making our lives harder and harder. Some of these you may be familiar with, but others you might not realise are causing us issues. Please read on to find out...
It might be the case that the only time you see a hedgehog these days is when they are squished on the road. Every year thousands of hedgehogs meet this sticky end.
As we lose more of our natural habitat to human homes and buildings, a network of roads connects them. As these have often been built right where we live, we now need to cross these roads in order to get around our territory in the hunt for food.
If we don't time our crossing well, and we meet a car, I'm afraid there's only one winner. You can help by telling your family and friends who drive to cut their speed at night and keep an eye out for hogs in the road. We normally do try to run out of the way when we see cars coming, so even slowing down a little when you spot us can give us the extra seconds we need to dash for safety.
These human buildings and roads means what was previously our barrier free habitat is now carved up into pieces and, in some cases, inaccessible (lack of access). Walls and fences are replacing hedges and bushes at an alarming rate - where there was once greenery and the plant life that gave us our name, now we see concrete or brick, wood or metal. You can see my access poster on the posters page [link].
If there are previously accessible areas that are now inaccessible, it could mean there's a lack of available territory to be able to support as many hedgehogs. Please help us to access your patch by having a hole or two in your fences and walls (13cm x 13cm will suffice), and ask your neighbours to do the same - if you all link your gardens, we'll have far more habitat again!
More concrete and less natural habitat also mean there may be less of our preferred food available. This means we either face starvation or have to wander further to look for food. Please have plenty of greenery in your garden, and some dark damp areas for the bugs (our favourite food!), or even completely wild areas if your garden is fairly big.
You may love your pets, but I'm afraid they might not love us. Scraping paws and strong jaws can cause us serious injuries, or worse. Whilst cats aren't a big issue to fully grown adult hedgehogs, they are more of a worry for smaller hogs. Their sharp claws can cause real damage which is likely to need treatment.
Dogs are even more of a problem - their strong jaws and curiosity mean that even our array of prickles may not be enough to prevent us from a mauling. If you see your dog rushing off into a hedge or undergrowth and focusing on something on the ground, please call it back, as it may be bothering one of my friends!
Believe it or not, there are plenty of dangers to us hedgehogs from your gardening habits. These range from pesticides and chemicals, netting that we get stuck in, strimmers, lack of cover (natural or otherwise), no wild areas - too much garden pride!
There are many things in your litter that can cause us hegdehogs real issues etc - plastic beer holders - please snip them completely, and ensure they are in your bin!, elastic bands - again, if you throw them away, please snip them, cups, crisp bags, tins - we get stuck in and can't get back out.
Every year, unknown numbers of hedgehogs are hurt or worse having unwittingly chosen a bonfire pile as their winter home.
For more information on how to help avoid hurting us hedgehogs visit my bonfires awareness page
Unfortunately us hedgehogs can be a little clumsy at times, and sometimes we manage to find ourselves falling into your drains. This is a real issue as we can't climb back out, which means we might either drown or starve if we're not found in time and rescued.
Simple answer - please cover your drains to stop us falling in (there are plenty of ways to do this, and products available).
Everyone needs a drink, and us hedgehogs are no exception, but in human inhabited areas, often the main places for us to get a drink are man-made options like ponds. The problem we face is that ponds are often decorative and aren't built with the expectation that anything would swim in them, other than the fish, or other aquatic wildlife.
Sometimes us hedgehogs might take an accidental dip, which is fine as we can swim fairly well. The problems come if the side of the pond are slippery or steep and we can't climb out! Yes we are decent swimmers, but we can't float! Please ensure your pond has an escape ramp or steps in case it gets any accidental aquatic adventurers!