Keeping our hedgehogs safe at this time of year is especially important. We often think of them under bonfires, but actually the garden strimmer is far more of a problem.
No Mow May.
You might have come across a new campaign to encourage people not to mow their lawn until the end ofMay. This gives the early, fast growing Spring plants a chance to feed the insects, while the more beautiful plants get going. Often this means dandelions and lots of people think of them only as weeds. In fact, these important plants have their part to play in the cycle of life. There’s more information here from www.plantlife.org.
They also run an Every Flower Counts campaign supported by the National Trust.
When using a strimmer or mower that might reach underneath hedges, decking or other places you can’t see – there is a real danger of hurting a hedgehog. These injuries are likely to be severe and unlikely to be fixable. If you do find an injured hedgehog always contact your local wildlife rescue or vet for the best advice.
The British Hedgehog Preservation Society has a ‘Hedgehog Hero’ scheme, celebrating organisations that use grass cutting equipment in their business, but also care for hedgehogs with extra checks. You can check the list (and lots of other useful information) on their website.
Another way we can be careful is in the products we use in the garden. Make sure you check the labels of weedkillers, slug repellants and other items to see if they are hedgehog friendly. If you can encourage a hedgehog to take up residence in your garden, they will solve your slug problem!
Encourage Them In.
Keeping hedgehogs safe in the broadest sense also means helping them to survive as as species now they are on the endangered list. Making your garden hospitable is quite easy:
- Make or buy a hedgehog house. Follow the instructions here from the Wildlife Trust.
- Leave suitable food out for a couple of nights (if you get a wildlife camera you might be surprised what creatures visit your garden!)
- Create a hedgehog highway with holes in any fencing to allow them to travel. Hedgehogs typically walk several miles each night. This can be a fun way to meet neighbours and turn the whole street ‘Hedgehog Happy’.
- Find out more about these fascinating creatures, native to the UK from Laura at Garden Wildlife Project. Her article suggests plants and other ways to attract a hedgehog in.
- If planting a Living Memorial, you could choose a hedgehog friendly plant.