Hedgehogs are unusual-looking and secretive creatures, which are a real treat to see in Britain.
There is simply nothing else like them.
Unfortunately Hedgehogs are becoming rarer to see as their numbers are declining in the UK. Habitat loss, a decline in food resources and a loss of connectivity in the landscape are all thought to be reasons why Hedgehogs are disappearing.
As autumn is upon us, it is time to start thinking from the point of view of a Hedgehog. To a Hedgehog, a big dry pile of wood looks like an ideal place to shelter, and this is why we need to be extra careful when creating and lighting our bonfires this bonfire night.
You can help a Hedgehog by building your bonfire as close to the night you light it as possible, giving less time for Hedgehogs to find it and move in.
To ensure that no Hedgehogs are hidden in your bonfire, take the pile apart and thoroughly search it for Hedgehogs, or move the bonfire pile on the night you light it.
You could even build a Hedgehog hibernacula somewhere else in your garden to draw the Hedgehogs away from your bonfire pile. These can be made from leaves, grass cuttings or spare logs.
If you do find a Hedgehog in your wood pile, move it to your Hedgehog hibernacula or to a safe, dry place somewhere away from the bonfire.
Feel inspired to help a Hedgehog?
You can make your garden Hedgehog-friendly by creating spaces and food for them.
- Hedgehogs need to roam great distances to search for food, mates and nesting sites. So by getting together with your neighbours and creating a hole in or under your garden fence (approximately 13cm x 13cm) you can connect your gardens to create a ‘Hedgehog highway’.
- Growing a variety of plants will attract plenty of natural Hedgehog food such beetles, worms, slugs and snails.
We had a fantastic half term activity with children at Parc Slip Nature reserve making hedgehog homes which was supported by Countrywide Stores.
To learn more about how you can garden for wildlife and Hedgehogs go to the Wild About Gardens Week website.