Sept 2019 - Help make Charlbury hedgehog friendly
Published in Charlbury Chronicle September 2019
Hedgehogs need our help because their numbers have plummeted. Hedgehogs can travel up to a mile every night trying to find enough food and to find a mate but they struggle to get through barriers like garden fences and walls. Making a small 13cm (5”) hole at the bottom of your fence or removing a brick from your wall would make it so much easier for hedgehogs to move around the town. Suburban gardens are far more hospitable to hedgehogs than arable farmland because gardens provide lots of vegetation and a good supply of food – they love slugs and caterpillars, so they are the gardener’s friend.
No single garden is large enough for a hedgehog population, and no single garden can offer everything they need. Think of your garden as part of a local network.
Hedgehogs need water, if you have a garden pond, does it have a shallow edge or an escape ramp for a hedgehog to get out easily? In dry periods provide a shallow dish of water – the birds would like this too. Hedgehogs are lactose intolerant so please do not give them milk. Also bread is very low in energy, so if you want to feed them, then wet meat-based cat or dog food is suitable or special dry hedgehog food. In the autumn it is important that the young ones have enough body weight to survive the winter.
Don’t use pesticides in your garden - you would be depriving the hedgehogs of their healthy food supply.
A pile of logs will provide hedgehogs with a safe place to shelter during the day, to nest or to hibernate. They also like piles of leaves and undisturbed corners. Rather than tidy up your garden in the autumn, wait until the spring – enjoy the beautiful hoar frost on the dead herbaceous stems in the winter border. Sweep the autumn leaves from the lawn to the ground beneath shrubs where they will compost down and improve your soil. The decay process supports the fungi and bacteria which underpin the garden ecosystem: more rotting leaves = more insects = more hedgehog food.
If you have a bonfire, then make it the same day you set it alight, or if you already have a pile of vegetation then move it to a new location before lighting it.
If you see hedgehogs in your garden or have provided holes in your boundary walls, then Sadd your location to the BIG Hedgehog Map on the Hedgehog Street website https://www.hedgehogstreet.org.
Charlbury Green Hub