The hedgehog, scientific name Erinaceus europaeus, is an instantly recognisable mammal, but there is growing concern that hedgehog populations are declining nationally. Hedgehog populations have declined from 30 million in the 1950's to just 1.5 million in 1995, and they are now listed as a speces of conservation concern.
In the new Essex Mammal Atlas published in 2014, 90% of Essex hedgehog records came from sightings of hedgehogs killed on roads, so this species is likely to be under recorded as they are a common garden visitor. During the summer months hedgehogs can travel up to 2 kilometres in search of food, so they need access to plenty of gardens to sustain themselves and their young. Help us to monitor the distribution of hedgehogs in Essex by reporting sightings of hedgehogs in your garden, or in your local area.
Click here to tell us about the hedgehogs in your garden! (You will be asked to register or login if you have not already done so).
This year The Wildlife Trusts and RHS have teamed up with Hedgehog Street, to promote Wild About Gardens Week, and ask you to help make space for wildlife by helping the hedgehogs in your garden.
Make your garden hedgehog friendly by:
- Leaving 5inch gaps under fences to allow hedgehogs access to your garden, and encouraging your neighbours to do the same
- Leave piles of loose leaves and sticks to provide hibernating and foraging habitat
- Never using slug pellets - hedgehogs can do the job for you!
- Never feed bread and milk to hedgehogs - if you want to provide food occasionally, meat (not fish) based cat or dog food is better
- Check before lighting bonfires, strimming long grass or forking a compost heap to make sure you don't disturb hedgehogs in residence
For more information on how you can help hedgehogs visit Hedgehog Street http://www.hedgehogstreet.org/, http://www.wildaboutgardensweek.org.uk/ or see the instructions below to find out how to make a hedgehog house
Click here for a recent article on hedgehog population declines