Letter: Help our hedgehogs!

Alex Farmer is warning gardeners to watch out for hedgehogs
Alex Farmer is warning gardeners to watch out for hedgehogs

This year we are focusing on the problems hedgehogs face in regards to garden machinery - strimmers being one of them.

Very important that people check areas before strimming.

Hedgehogs come in to Whitby Wildlife Sanctuary with terrible injuries from strimmers.

Other things people can do to help hedgehogs is ensure there is access in your garden for hedgehogs to come and go as they please - a 13cm x 13cm gap in fences and walls will allow hedgehogs to roam freely. Hedgehogs can travel up to a mile every night.

If a bonfire has been sat in one spot for a while, you can guarantee it has been visited by wildlife.

Move the pile before burning it will ensure you won’t be accidentally torching a hibernating hedgehog.

Netting should be tied up off the ground - football nets for example. Hedgehogs do get entangled in netting.

Last year, we admitted a hedgehog which was found tangled up in netting - she had managed to amputate her own leg in the attempt to free herself.

Compost heaps attract hedgehogs because they are great nest sites and full of grubs for them eat. Therefore, please check compost heaps before using pitchforks.

Slug pellets, pesticides and poisons will kill hedgehogs. If you want to control slugs in your vegetable garden, why not use a beer trap instead?

Drains and deep holes need covers - during the summer we admit a lot of hedgehogs which are very dehydrated.

Many of these fall into ponds and drains in an attempt to get water. If not found, these hedgehogs will drown.

Ponds should have escape routes so if they fall in, they can get out. A ramp out of the pond is highly recommended.

And finally, if you would like to help hedgehogs in your garden, provide a small bowl of water and food.

Hedgehogs eat wet cat/dog food, dry cat biscuits, hedgehog food, small dog/puppy biscuits and the occasional sprinkling of mealworms.

Mealworms are like sweet to hedgehogs so should only be given as a treat. This is because they have very little nutritional value.

DO NOT feed milk or bread - hedgehogs are lactose intolerant and bread has no nutritional value to it.

You can also provide a hedgehog house, feeding station or shelter which will help encourage hedgehogs to use your garden as a site for hibernating and nesting.

Alexandra Farmer

Whitby Widlife Sanctuary