Wildlife News From Brent Lodge – Helping Hedgehogs
The nation’s favourite wild animal was once a common sight but hedgehog populations have declined alarmingly by an estimated 96% since the 1950s. Habitat loss, hedge removal, garden fencing, paving, and poor plant life in gardens reduces homes, highways and food for hedgehogs.
There is some good news - survey results are indicating that urban hedgehog numbers are beginning to increase. It is people who are making the difference by actively helping hedgehogs in small ways.
✔ By creating hedgehog highways to link gardens and green spaces
✔ By providing hedgehog houses, food and water
✔ By improving garden habitats
At the Marina, the team is improving the habitat by allowing wildflowers and grass verges to grow and seed naturally which increases the butterfly and insect population and, in turn, provides a varied food source for birds and mammals. Hedgehog houses made from recycled wood provide shelter and hibernation space for these vulnerable creatures.
At this time of year hedgehogs need to be a healthy weight of over 600g to hibernate successfully. At Brent Lodge there are already 220 underweight autumn juveniles being cared for and numbers are increasing daily. They will be over-wintered inside and kept warm and well fed – they are eating 100 tins of food a day. When healthy and at optimal weight they will be released, as male and female pairs where possible, into suitable local habitats.
Brent Lodge cares for up to 600 sick, injured, or orphaned hedgehogs each year. By purchasing their “Help a Hedgehog Pack” you can help rebuild a sustainable population. Alternatively, donations of meat-based cat food will be much appreciated to help feed the growing number of hungry and underweight patients this winter.