Hedgehog Awareness Week: 6-13 May

It's Hedgehog Awareness Week!

Every year East Sussex Wildlife Rescue and Ambulance Service (WRAS) deals with over 500 hedgehogs. The majority of call-outs are directly or indirectly as a result of human activity. East Sussex WRAS is urging members of the public to check their gardens for a number of common problems which hedgehogs encounter to try and make their lives a safer and happier one.

Top 10 Hedgehog Helpful Tips

  1. Check for uncovered drains – cover them to avoid hedgehogs falling in and getting stuck – (WRAS deals with about 5 cases like this a year).
  2. If you have a pond, construct a chicken wire ramp so that if hedgehogs fall in they can easily climb out – (WRAS has recently dealt with two such incidents in Herstmonceux and Hailsham).
  3. If you have a shed, ensure anti-freeze, or other chemicals and paints are not uncovered and easily accessible.
  4. If you use fruit netting, construct wooden boards around the base to help avoid hedgehogs getting entangled in the netting.
  5. Ensure broken glass, pet food tins and other litter is cleared away to avoid hedgehogs becoming injuried.
  6. Check long grass before strimming to avoid serious injuries to hedgehogs – (A regular cause of serious head injuries which WRAS sees).
  7. Carefully check compost before stabbing into it with a garden fork to ensure hedgehogs and other wildlife are not inside.
  8. If you have a cattle grid on your road, estate or entrance to a farm where you work, make sure there is a ramp so hedgehogs can climb out.
  9. Before lighting a bonfire, move and rebuilt it to ensure no hedgehogs are inside.
  10. Ensure hedgehogs can get in and out of your garden safety, by cutting a hedgehogs size hole in your fence.

Hedgehogs are fantastic creatures, here are some fact about hedgehogs

  • Hedgehogs have between 5-7,000 spines on their bodies.
  • Hedgehogs can give birth to up to 10 babies – (WRAS has had a female hedgehog die after trying to give birth to 13 baby hedgehogs).
  • Life Expectancy is up to 5 years.
  • The ideal weight for a hedgehogs is between 900 – 1000grams – (the largest hedgehogs WRAS has found in the wild was just under 2kg!)
  • The majority of a hedgehogs diet is beetle, earth worms and caterpillars.

There are various myths about hedgehogs too. Hedgehogs do not carry fruit and food on their backs, this is an old wives tale which is thought to stem from medieval times when hedgehogs would be eaten and also used a table decorations possible with fruit stuck on them. Cows do not go round stealing milk from cows. The cow would have to be lying down or have incredibly low-slung udders for this to be true. Hogs are opportunist feeders so if a cow happens to leave an udder carelessly unguarded and lying around on the floor, it's quite possible a hog would take advantage! You certainly won't find the hog sitting on a milking stool with a bucket stealing pints of it though so all the associated farming tales of Hedgehogs affecting milk yield would appear to be ridiculous.

However, bread and milk is dangerous for hedgehogs and should not be fed to them at all. Anyone wanting to provide food to hedgehogs would use cat food and water. Adults certainly don't need milk, and babies should only be fed specialist milk preparations designed for hedgehogs.

East Sussex WRAS are running a hedgehog awareness course from their hospital at Whitesmith on Saturday which has been very popular, there are only a handful of places left on the course for the 5pm session, booking is essential in advance.

East Sussex WRAS is community charity helping both people who find sick, injured and orphaned wildlife, on average it costs £130 to over winter a single hedgehogs and WRAS buys over £100 worth of food for hedgehogs within the hospital each week, anyone wanting to support WRAS can send a donation to East Sussex WRAS, PO Box 2148, Seaford, East Sussex, BN25 9DE or make a donation online

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Press Contact: Trevor Weeks - East Sussex WRAS: 07931-523958

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