Hedgehogs used to be a common sight in local gardens. They are among the top 10 most endangered species in Britain today. According to The Guardian, half of the British people today have not seen one in recent years, and only 12% see them regularly in the garden.
Lately hedgehogs have had a lot of trouble surviving the cold winters. Although they hibernate, many hedgehogs can’t get enough to eat to put on the grams required to have enough fat reserves to make it through the winter.
The population of these mostly nocturnal animals is down to less than 1 million from 30 million in the 1950s. A third of this drop has been in the last 10 years alone!
Possible causes their numbers are dwindling are the increasing numbers of their biggest predator, the badger, and the loss of their natural habitat in the countryside. Plus if they eat a poor diet, meaning the common human diet, they are prone to human diseases such as fatty liver disease from too much sugar, cancer and heart disease from too much fat.
There are several things you can do to help your local hedgehog:
- If you are lucky enough to see them in your garden, put out cat food or dried mealworms and fresh water for them.
- They build their nests among dead leaves, branches and in long grasses so leave your yard as natural as possible.
- Avoid bonfires because they are harmful to the little critters.
They are docile, so if you wear garden gloves so the spines or quills –actually hairs made stiff with keratin– don’t injure you, you can pick them up.
Brother, can you help out a hedgehog? Contact The British Hedgehog Preservation Society for more information.
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