Who doesn’t know what a hedgehog looks like? From Mrs Tiggy Winkle to Sonic the Hedgehog, these charming creatures are part of our wildlife heritage but in recent years are suffering and their numbers have dropped dramatically from the 1950s to less than a million by 2013 according to recent wildlife surveys.The reasons are varied, from increased housing estates, loss of open space and hedgerows and of course traffic. Sadly, this is the place most of us will now see them, knocked and killed on the tarmac and verges.
The increased use of slug pellets and garden chemicals not only kill and poison these handy garden assistants, but also take away a food source. So local gardeners and allotment holders can help these nocturnal creatures by minimising use of these harmful chemicals, leaving twigs and leaves in the autumn, checking under bonfires before lighting and leaving gaps in fences so the hedgehogs can travel about in search of food. If you have a pond, make sure any thirsty hogs who accidentally fall in can scramble out using a rock or planting. Do not leave out milk – it will KILL them! Fresh water and dried cat or puppy food is best.
Here are few tips:
- Any hedgehog out in the daylight at this time of year is in need of your help.
- Any small (under 650g) or injured hedgehogs will not survive the winter
- If it fits into the palm of your hand it’s too small to survive
- If it can’t curl up into a ball, it needs you.
- If it’s not a round ball-shape when curled up, it may be underweight.
Pickering Hedgehog Rescue is a newly created facility to take in and care for hedgehogs in and around our area. Working closely with Eastgate Vets, Whitby Wildlife Rescue and a member of the British Hedgehog Preservation Carers, this new venture is in need of your support to build its foundations.
Do you have any old towels, fleece blankets, newspapers? Perhaps you have some washing powder that doesn’t suit? Or some kitchen rolls or disinfectant you can donate? Or maybe you have an old hamster cage or guinea cage that is no longer needed? All of these things would be put to good use. These little hedgehogs just need a secure home to get better and survive the winter, but are not the cleanest of creatures. A daily regime of washing and changing the cages means a plentiful supply of newspapers is needed – and is another form of recycling those papers! Perhaps you can donate some food – dry cat or puppy biscuits or some meat, preferably without gravy, as hedgehogs are not tidy eaters!
If you know of anywhere willing to be a drop-off point, please do get in touch.
If you wish to know more, join the group’s Facebook page – Pickering Hedgehog Rescue. To donate items, drop them off at The Sun Inn on Westgate Pickering or call Deryn on 07717 013 723 who will arrange collection.