Conservation and Wildlife

British Hedgehogs

Frequently asked questions:

What food should I offer to my hedgehog visitors?

The best things to offer are Hedgehog food, meaty cat or dog food or complete cat biscuits. The only drink that should be offered is water (especially in dry weather and when offering dry food).

There’s a hedgehog in my garden sunbathing, is that OK?

No, it isn’t. Hedgehogs’ shouldn’t sunbathe and if you see one doing this it is in urgent need of help. Please use gardening gloves or a folded towel to pick it up, pop it into a high sided box with a towel or fleece in the bottom, keep it warm on a covered warm hot water bottle (even in hot weather), offer suitable food and water (see above) and then call BHPS on 01584 890 801 for further advice as soon as possible.

I’ve seen a hedgehog that looks ‘drunk’, is that OK?

Again, no, it isn’t OK. Hedgehogs in this state are actually hypothermic and in urgent need of help. Please offer the first aid described above and call us as soon as possible.

Do all hedgehogs have fleas and do they need them?

Not all hedgehogs have fleas; many of those rescued have none. However, hedgehogs do not NEED their fleas to survive, that’s an old wives tale. Hedgehog fleas are host specific so while they may jump onto a cat or dog, they won’t infest them.

Help! I’ve harmed a hedgehog whilst strimming.

Undoubtedly one of the most worrying calls we receive. PLEASE check areas thoroughly before strimming or mowing. These injuries are usually horrific and the hedgehog often has to be put to sleep, of course many are killed instantly with this kind of accident. Do check for hoglets as the nest you have strimmed could be a nursery nest.

Are Hedgehogs meant to be out in the daylight?

Not usually no. Hedgehogs are nocturnal, which means they shouldn’t really be seen out in daylight hours. Some of the exceptions to this are pregnant females gathering nesting materials just before she gives birth, or a new ‘Mum’ taking a break from the nest to get food and water while her young sleep. Sometimes, when the nights are short, a hungry hedgehog may forage around dusk and dawn. However, these hedgehogs would move quickly with purpose. If a hedgehog is lethargic, lay out, has flies around it, is wobbly, or gives you any other cause for concern, please call us for advice ASAP on 01584 890 801.

My dog doesn’t like hedgehogs in the garden, can you move it?

The answer is that unless you are prepared to hedgehog proof the entire garden, there is no point in moving the resident hedgehogs as others from the local population will very likely move into the vacated area. If you are prepared to do this work, the best thing is to contact a local carer to see if they can safely relocate the hedgehog (avoiding baby season). Otherwise, training the dog to leave hedgehogs alone is the ideal solution, taking the dog out for its ‘after dark’ run in the garden on a lead, using a muzzle and making lots of noise before the dog goes out to warn the hedgehog something is happening can help. Hedgehogs often have a routine so if you see a hedgehog about at a certain time it is likely to be around near that time the next night – avoid letting the dog out at those times.

I want a hedgehog for my garden; can I just take one from the wild?

No! Please don’t do this. It’s great that you want to encourage hedgehogs into your garden, but taking one from an area where it knows food and water sources to an unknown area isn’t fair. More worryingly, it could have dependent young in a nest, without its return, the nest will fail and the young won’t survive. Finally, if hedgehogs aren’t already in your garden, there might be a good reason for this. We have a leaflet available on this subject on here , or contact us for paper copy.

Can I ‘mark’ my hedgehogs?

We’re pretty sure a hedgehog would rather not be marked, but if you are going to do it, please do ensure that you use a non-toxic water-based marker and mark just a few spines of the hedgehog. Keep the mark away from the hedgehog’s face and mark it in the garden on the ground rather than picking it up/bringing it indoors. Please don’t use red as people may mistake it for blood and ‘rescue’ it.  Do not make hedgehog conspicuous to predators.  We have seen some very sad images of poor hedgehogs practically covered in paint!  If you are watching the hedgehogs on a wildlife camera you will often be able to tell them apart over time without the need for marking.

Legal

Hedgehogs are protected, in England, Scotland and Wales, under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, Schedule 6 and in Northern Ireland under the Wildlife (NI) Order 1985, Schedules 6&7. What this means is they are

protected from being killed or taken by certain methods under Section 11(1) of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981. The methods listed are: self-locking snares, bows, crossbows, explosives (other than ammunition for a firearm), or live decoys. The species listed are also protected from the following activities: trap, snare or net, electrical device for killing or stunning, poisonous, poisoned or stupefying substances or any other gas or smoke, automatic or semi-automatic weapon, device for illuminating a target or sighting device for night shooting, artificial light, mirror or other dazzling device, sound recording, and mechanically propelled vehicle in immediate pursuit.”

If you find a hedgehog in need of help, please contact the hedgehog preservation society 01584 890 801 or info@britishhedgehogs.org.uk

For further information visit the British Hedgehog Preservation Society website.


Pollinators

Whittington Parish Council supports the efforts of Worcestershire County Council and other organisation across  the county to deliver actions that will support the recovery of pollinator populations within Worcestershire and beyond. The aim is to make Worcestershire rich in native flower-rich habitats, helping to support sustainable pollinator populations, which in turn support a sustainable and thriving agricultural and horticultural sector, and make places more attractive for people to live and work in.

  • In 2015 Worcestershire County Council Cabinet committed to making Worcestershire a Pollinator Friendly County and resolved to endorse and support efforts to deliver actions that would result in an increase in pollinator-friendly habitat.
  • Wyre Forest District Council and Worcester City Council have instigated wildflower planting schemes on urban roundabouts, verges and within public parks and green spaces.
  • Wychavon District Council are aiming to stop use of glyphosate in the parks and green spaces that they own and manage.
  • Worcestershire Highways is reviewing its management of 8000km of road verge, altering cutting practices to achieve a road verge management regime more closely aligned to that recommended by Plantlife1. The results of the changes are being monitored and Worcestershire Highways are continuing to examine how operations can be modified to enhance road verge biodiversity.
  • Conferences were held in 2016 and 2018 that focused on the needs of pollinating insects and their habitats. Participants came from a variety of public, private, charitable and community sector groups. • Worcestershire County Council is working in partnership with Worcestershire Wildlife Trust to deliver the Natural Networks project. This will distribute £2.3 million in grants over three years (2019-2021) for biodiversity enhancements, including the creation and restoration of pollinator friendly habitat such as wildflower meadows.

For further information visit the website of Worcestershire County Council’s and the Worcestershire Wildlife Trust.