Reader Letter: Please think hedgehog

By now all the hedgehogs should be up and about after their long hibernations and their thoughts will be turning to procreation.

If you see a hedgehog in your garden that is visiting regularly then it is more likely to be a female. Females tend to stay fairly local and have a small area in which they forage. However the males will wander over a large area in the search for receptive females.

If you are thinking of demolishing your garden shed then do it sooner rather than later. Around this time of year we get lots of calls starting “I have just been knocking down my old shed and …..” Yes, we know you have found a female hedgehog with babies – it happens every year!

Hedgehogs out in the day are usually in trouble – however sometimes a female about to give birth will put some finishing touches to her nest. She may appear in the daytime and will be carrying leaves and such items to a certain place in the garden – often making repeated visits. In this case her being out in the day has a definite purpose and she should be left alone. Count 4 weeks and a few days and this might

be when you will start seeing her and her new family foraging together across your lawn.

We are firm believers in prevention being better than cure so try to ‘think hedgehog’ and avoid any activities that may disturb nests or worst still may injure, maim or kill them. The BHPS has a leaflet called ‘Gardening “with” Hedgehogs’. For this and much more see www.britishhedgehog.org.uk If you find a hedgehog needing help or if you need more advice call the BHPS on 01584 890801.