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What You Didn't Know About Hedgehogs - And How To Help Them

personal training fundraising for animals

I once had the luck to come across a hedgehog one morning in my garden. My initial excitement turned to concern as I knew that seeing a hedgehog out and about in broad daylight was often not a good thing and it was true in this case - this particular hedgehog was not doing so well. It looked to have been unwell and subsequently pecked by a bird, who had spotted it was vulnerable.

I called a wildlife charity, they gave me a reference number, and I took the hedgehog to the vets where after the hedgehog enjoyed VIP treatment, and 3 days kept in, given a dose of antibiotics and stitched up. It was then well enough and able to go free.

The vets advised me to release the hedgehog back out into my garden where it is familiar with the environment, and off it went off. A happy ending!

Unfortunately, on the other hand, hedgehogs are not having a good time, and their numbers are in decline and on the vulnerable to extinction list!

In Wales, a few years ago, I was able to visit Hedgeley Hedgehog Hogspital who are self-funded, helping hedgehogs in need. I saw the amazing work they are doing, they had many hedgehogs under their care with numbers growing.

Hedgeley Hedgehog Hogspital was where I chose for our personal training fundraising to go to this month. £1 from every personal training session we do, go to a Vegan charity or animal sanctuary each month, (with giftaid included, where this option is available).

Find Hedgeley Hedgehog Hogspital's website here and if possible, please donate

You can find out more about their work with hedgehogs on their facebook page.

In the mean time, enjoy a few facts about hedgehogs, and some ideas about what we can do to help hedgehogs.

1. Hibernation Marvels:

Hedgehogs possess an astonishing ability to enter a state of deep hibernation during the harsh winter months. Unlike many other mammals, hedgehogs experience a dramatic drop in body temperature, heart rate, and metabolic rate during hibernation, allowing them to conserve energy and survive prolonged periods of cold and scarcity. What's truly remarkable is that hedgehogs can awaken from hibernation periodically to forage for food, relying on their fat reserves to sustain them until spring arrives.

2. Intriguing Communication:

While hedgehogs are often associated with their distinctive grunts and snuffles, they also communicate through a fascinating array of other vocalisations and behaviours. One particularly intriguing aspect of hedgehog communication is their use of anointing behaviour. When encountering a new scent or object, hedgehogs may engage in a peculiar ritual known as self-anointing, where they lick and chew on the object before spreading frothy saliva over their spines. This behaviour is believed to help hedgehogs camouflage themselves or deter predators by masking their scent with unfamiliar odours.

3. Quirky Dietary Habits:

Although hedgehogs are primarily insectivores, their dietary preferences can sometimes veer into unexpected territory. In addition to feasting on creepy crawlies, hedgehogs have been known to indulge in a surprising variety of culinary delights, including eggs, small mammals, amphibians, and even fruit. This eclectic diet reflects the opportunistic nature of hedgehogs, who adapt their eating habits to suit the available food sources in their environment.

8 Simple Yet Very Effective Ways to Help Hedgehogs

While hedgehogs are resilient creatures, they are in decline. They face an array of modern-day challenges that threaten their survival.

Apart from donating and supporting others to help hedgehogs, here are some ways we can help hedgehogs, ourselves;

  1. Allow them to access your garden, by leaving space under your fences.

  2. Plant hedges and green up your garden.

  3. Before mowing your lawn, make sure that there are no hedgehogs there.

  4. Make a pond, allowing gentle slopes to allow for easy and safe access for hedgehogs.

  5. Don't use slug pellets and other poison in your garden, keep it natural, organic and wild-life friendly.

  6. Buy or make a hedgehog house.

  7. Put your garden cuttings, branches and leaves in a pile, a great place for hedgehogs.

  8. Get rig of any litter, or netting which could cause injury to hedgehogs.

Let me know if you've given any of these tips a go! I'm off to go and buy a hedgehog house.


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