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How to Help Hedgehogs

Humble, cute and shockingly rare, hedgehogs need our help more than ever. These prickly creatures have been around for 15 million years and once roamed Britain alongside sabre tooth tigers and woolly mammoths. But since 2002 their decline has plummeted so rapidly they now face extinction.

Hedgehog painting by Robert E Fuller
Hedgehog, limited edition print from by Robert E Fuller. Click to buy

If the trend continues these lovable hogs will only exist in paintings like mine. I rescued this particular hedgehog baby, or hoglet, from my garden and grew so fond of it I couldn’t resist painting its portrait. Hedgehogs are reputed to have 5,000 spines, so you can imagine how long it took me to finish! It has been such a popular painting I’ve used it on some of my giftware. Scroll down to see my range.

Rescuing the hoglet was more difficult than I first imagined. It was so tiny I had to try out different formulas to feed it and ended up buying a heat mat to keep it alive during its first night.

Read about what I learned on how to help this hedgehog here.

How I persuaded a hedgehog to pose for his portrait

The experience has made me keen to do something about all hedgehogs and so in support of Hedgehog Awareness Week, a campaign run by The British Hedgehog Preservation Society, I’ve put together a list of what you can do to also help hedgehogs.

Help Hedgehogs and Make a Hedgehog Highway

Hedgehog reference photograph by Robert E Fuller
Hedgehogs need to roam

Since 2002 we have lost more than 30% of hedgehogs from our urban areas and almost 50% from the countryside. One of the main reasons hedgehogs are struggling in rural areas is that their habitats have been fragmented. You can make sure they have room to roam by cutting hedgehog ‘doors’ into your garden fences, roughly the size of a CD, or digging holes underneath so they can get under. They travel up to two miles a night.

Help Hedgehogs by leaving ‘wild’ patches in your garden

Add a tussocky patch to your garden as a perfect daytime nesting area for hedgehogs. Allow a corner of your lawn to grow long, or sow a mix of native grasses and wildflowers. Leave this vegetation over winter as it provides a crucial habitat for many invertebrates to complete their life-cycle – a garden buzzing with insects is a great garden for hedgehogs

Help Hedgehogs and Make a Hedgehog House

Purpose-built ‘hog houses’ are fun, but a woodpile is a multi-functional, one-stop shop for hedgehogs, providing abundant insect food together with a sheltered spot for them to start a family. Simply leaning a piece of wood against a wall or fence. Hedgehogs breed between April and September. In the autumn don’t clear away fallen leaves. Pile them up in quiet, undisturbed corners of your garden to allow hedgehogs a safe, secure area to breed and hibernate.

hedgehog photographed by artist Robert E Fuller
Leave the leaves for hedgehogs

Help Hedgehogs and Say no to Slug Pellets

Hedgehogs hoover up over 100 invertebrates, such as snails, slugs and worms every night, so no need to use poisonous slug pellets!

Help Hedgehogs and check long grass before mowing

Accidents happen and you’ll never forgive yourself if you dont!

Help Hedgehogs and Don’t Leave Milk Out for Them

Hedgehogs are lactose intolerant. Far better to make your garden wildlife friendly. Mulch your flowerbeds to encourage earthworms, woodlouse and other insects for them to eat.

Best of luck. A hedgehog in the garden is also good fun to watch and you can’t fail to enjoy listening to them snuffling about under the hedge at night!

 

If you love hedgehogs you may like my range of hedgehog gifts:

Hedgehog art print by artist Robert E Fuller
How about a lovable hedgehog for your wall? My painting is available as a  limited edition print. Click to buy

 

Hedgehog painting by Robert E Fuller
Get organised with a hedgehog address book Click to Buy

 

Bone China Mug by wildlife artist Robert E Fuller
Enjoy a daily cuppa with my a hedgehog mug. Click to buy

 

Hedgehog tea towel by wildlife artist Robert E Fuller
Let your prickly friend help with the washing up. Hedgehog tea towel. Click to buy

 

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2 comments on How to Help Hedgehogs

  1. for some years now I have been feeding hedgehogs in our garden at dusk,sometimes 3 appear various sizes. They eat a small dish of hedgehog food , biscuit type with dried mealworms, a few sultanas and water provided.Our garden is small but we all have holes in fences and untidy areas, seems to work.So far some keep coming ,The nearness to snuffmill area of Cottingham may also help.

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