Hedgehogs need our help – rural populations have seen declines of over half since the year 2000 and urban populations have experienced declines of up to a third in the same time. We need to act now to secure the future of these awesome spiny creatures!
Having just appointed a Hedgehog Officer, Suffolk Wildlife Trust begins its quest to help hedgehogs in urban areas with a project that aims to make Ipswich the most hedgehog friendly town in the UK! But to make this possible, we need your help!
Our aim is to create a street by street network of linked gardens – “hedgehog highways” – connecting the green spaces of the town, much like the very successful national campaign Hedgehog Street. Hedgehogs roam around 2km in a night, meaning the great parks across the town, alone, aren’t enough to sustain our ‘hog populations. We need the built up areas between these parks to be accessible to hedgehogs too.
Making your garden hedgehog friendly is simple. The first step is making sure hedgehogs can get into your garden. This means ensuring there are gaps under your fences or gates, or making a hedgehog sized hole in your fence (the size of CD case). A hole leading to each of your neighbours will do the trick! Next you need some feeding and nesting areas – but don’t worry, this doesn’t mean your garden has to be completely over grown – leaving small wild patches will really help! Any style of garden can easily include hedgehog friendly features. Log piles and fallen leaves will create nesting opportunities and encouraging wild flowers (which will attract invertebrates) will create great feeding spots for your ‘hogs. Ponds are great for a whole host of wildlife, but steep sided ponds can be a real threat to ‘hogs in gardens – pop a ramp in to ensure easy access!
You can also leave out ready made food for hedgehogs if you want the chance to see them up close! They love wet cat or dog food (meaty not fish!), unsalted crushed peanuts or dried mealworms. In warm weather you can also leave out a shallow dish of water to keep them hydrated!
We are currently looking for volunteers to become Ipswich Hedgehog Champions. These will be people that are happy to manage their gardens for hedgehogs and will persuade their neighbours to do so too! More information can be found here.
Do you have hedgehogs in your garden? Have you made a hedgehog hole? We’d love to hear from you! Share you photos, videos and stories with us here, on facebook Suffolk Wildlife Trust in Ipswich, twitter @ipswichhogs or by emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please follow this blog for updates as the project develops!