HEDGEHOG
Erinaceus europaeus

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Hedgehogs are classified as vulnerable to extinction on the Red List of British Mammals. Numbers have declined by nearly half over the last 13 years. Hedgehogs are dying because of factors like traffic, loss of habitat and use of garden pesticides. In Wanstead, there are still a few around but the only known remaining stronghold for hedgehogs is in the area around the City of London Cemetery.

HOW TO HELP

  • Make your garden attractive to hedgehogs and the food they eat - leave a wild corner, make a mini wildlife meadow, have a wildlife pond (with an escape ramp). 

  • Help the mini-beasts hedgehogs rely on thrive in your garden – that means one thing, lots of foliage. Large areas of paving for drives and patios are disastrous for city invertebrates and wildlife more generally – dig some of it up or cover it with planters to re-green your plot. Ground-dwelling insects, such as beetles, generally benefit from dense vegetation, including evergreens. Other great habitats for mini-beasts are leaf and log piles and bug hotels.

  • Never use slug pellets, pesticides or weedkillers in your garden. Instead, aim to attract lots of different wildlife to keep things in balance, using biological pest control if necessary. Lobby the council to stop spraying pesticides around our streets.

  • Have habitats in your garden suitable for hedgehogs to hibernate e.g. an undisturbed pile of leaves or logs, or an open compost pile. 

  • Make hedgehog highways with your neighbours so that hedgehogs can move between gardens to find food at night. Create gaps in your boundaries of 13cm by 13cm (which is too small for nearly all pets to get through). Dig a channel under a wall, fence or gate – or cut a hole at the bottom of the structure. 

  • Switch to a mixed native hedge, but if you have to install a fence, use hedgehog-friendly gravel boards with ready-made holes. 

  • If you are lucky enough to have hedgehogs in your garden / neighbourhood, provide supplementary food, ideally dry or wet cat food (not fish). Find out more about feeding and shelter.