One night earlier this week, we were lucky enough to spot one of the hedgehogs that lives at the end of our garden, coming out for a bite to eat. One of our favourite animals, hedgehogs are always a joy to see as they snuffle around looking for tasty earth worms and beetles. Apparently distantly related to the shrew, they are the UK’s only spiny mammal and have changed little in the last 15 million years. They are fast on their little feet to; We named this one Speedy as he can really move in short bursts!
We always leave wet cat food and cat biscuits down and they absolutely love it. They get so enthusiastic they climb inside the bowl! It is really important that you offer the right sort of food, for example, be sure never to leave milk or bread as it upsets their tummies. Also, very importantly, make sure they have access to water. They love the cat food that we leave out and it may surprise you to learn that one hedgehog alone can consume two trays of cat food a day! I know this because of a wonderful hedgehog website I came across, Little Silver Hedgehog run by Emma Farley.
Emma runs a hedgehog hospital caring for sick and injured wild hedgehogs, as well as being a wildlife garden expert AND designing and producing wildlife and nature inspired solid silver jewellery. Her work is truly inspirational and her commitment and dedication to the cause of helping to reverse the decline in wild hedgehog numbers, is both heart stirring and awe inspiring. Emma has nursed more than 500 poorly hedgehogs back to health, and her work is entirely self funded.
Hedgehogs are sadly now an endangered species. There are approximately only 1 million left of them in the UK, compared with around 30 million in the 1950’s. The decline in numbers is not only sad considering the loss of these fascinating little creatures who devour a number of garden pests, but it also highlights the decline of the Eco system. Hedgehogs are an “indicator species” for the environment as they feed on worms and other soil creatures. A drop in numbers of hedgehogs means that the health and sustainability of the environment has also significantly declined.
Emma is doing her best to help try and reverse this decline by educating and raising awareness about hedgehogs and their natural environment. Pictured below is baby Gizmo!
“There are lots of reasons for this decline including habitat loss, increasing road traffic and the use of pesticides. In recent years people have fenced off their gardens, concreted over their gardens and removed hedges and wild areas where hedgehogs once thrived.” Source: Little Silver Hedgehog
So, what can you do to help? I highly recommend you visit Little Silver Hedgehog as it is packed with information and advice for helping hedgehogs and for creating a hedgehog friendly garden. (Some of Emma’s tips are listed at the bottom of this post). And, because Emma’s work is entirely self funded, you can also visit her online silver jewellery shop here: All Emma’s jewellery is beautifully created in recycled solid silver taking inspiration from her love of wildlife and nature.
I bought a delightful little Hedgehog pendant from Emma last year, and this year decided I would like a Somekindof50 pendant! I am absolutely delighted with Emma’s creation – I don’t think I will ever take it off! The prices are also super reasonable.
Jewellery aside, Emma’s site is full of advice for helping hedgehogs including creating a hedgehog friendly garden. She gives advice on what plants to grow to attract insects, (beetles being the hedgehogs favourite food), and there is handy information about creating your own ‘hedgehog highway’, feeding station and hibernation box. There is advice on what to do if you find sick or injured hedgehogs, how to tell if you have little girl or boy hedgehogs and even information about hedgehog poo!
Please have a look at Emma’s website. If you are tempted by some of her beautiful silver jewellery, you will also be helping to fund her work into helping nurse a sick hedgehog back to health, but even if that is not of interest, you will surely pick up information about hedgehogs and their environment of which you were probably unaware. I sincerely hope the crisis in current hedgehog numbers can be reversed. Our gardens just wouldn’t be the same without them.
Hedgehog tips from Little Silver Hedgehog:
Provide a ‘Wild Corner’ in your garden with piles of leaves, logs and branches.
Always check for hedgehogs before starting your garden strimmer.
Don’t use pesticides, slug pellets or herbicides
Keep garden netting a foot off the ground as hedgehogs can get trapped in it.
Leave sheds up in the winter. Hedgehogs often hibernate under sheds.
Always check for hedgehogs before lighting a bonfire.
Cover drain holes and keep rubbish tidied away. Hedgehogs often get trapped in plastic and tin cans and/ or may try and nest in bags of rubbish.
All pictures courtesy of Little Silver Hedgehog
Somekindof50 has not received any payment for this article.