Posted 7th Feb 2018
Following the news that half of our hedgehog population has been lost over the past two decades, we take a look at what is one of our most familiar wild mammals in Britain
Small, round, brown and covered in spines, you can spot them in parks and gardens. It's here that the bushes and hedges will offer the perfect day-time getaway, while insect-rich lawns and flowerbeds provide excellent feeding grounds at dusk.
Hedgehogs will eat all manner of invertebrates, including amphibians, birds eggs and anything else they can catch. Favourites include big, crunchy beetles, earthworms and slugs, meaning they are a gardener's best friend.
A unique and unmistakeable animal, you should be able to look out for the signs of hedgehogs easily enough - this will include medium-sized, black droppings which consist of bits of beetles and other insects, which you will generally find on the lawn.
You will find them throughout the country, except for the Channel Islands and certain Scottish Islands. However, the once common creature is now threatened due to developments and habitat loss. Combined, our gardens provide a space for wildlife which is bigger than our National Nature Reserves - therefore, by gardening in a wildlife-friendly way, we can help our spiny companions to find a home and move safely between habitats to find mates and food.
Hedgehogs will helpfully hoover up any unwanted slugs and snails that make an appearance in your garden, so you can avoid using any poisonous slug pellets - however, if you have a Hedgehog in your garden, you can help it out by leaving out a little cat food and leaving a pile of leaves or logs for them to hibernate under. However, don't light any bonfires without first checking for any Hedgehogs!
Text and information courtesy of The Wildlife Trusts