Go the whole 'hog' for hedgehogs

The British Hedgehog Preservation Society (BHPS) is urging people to create a hedgehog haven in their gardens for Hedgehog Awareness Week.

National Hedgehog Awareness Week.

This year's Hedgehog Awareness Week begins today (Sunday) and runs until May 8, and it aims to raise the profile of the Britain’s only spiny mammal.

Now BHPS is asking people create their very own hedgehog haven, using tips which will be given out on the charity’s social media accounts this week using #hedgehogweek, with daily competitions to win hedgehog-themed prizes.

BHPS chief executive, Fay Vass, said: “Our gardens take up such a lot of habitat, and by each making our own plot more hedgehog friendly, we can improve a huge amount of habitat for them. If you don’t have a garden yourself, you can still help by contacting public space managers, neighbours, family and friends to ensure they are all doing their bit.

"We urge everyone to become a Hedgehog Champion for their area at Hedgehog Street – a project run by BHPS and our partners People’s Trust for Endangered Species.

"Join more than 93,000 Champions by signing up for free at: www.hedgehogstreet.org – you will get an email with top tips on how you can help hedgehogs each month and there’s even a Hedgehog Street app you can download from The App Store or Google Play!”

There are many simple things you can do to help hedgehogs in your garden:

- Make sure hedgehogs can access your garden with a ‘Hedgehog Highway’ - a 5” x 5” (13 x 13cm) square gap in the bottom of fences or walls. Once you've created one, you can log these on the BIG Hedgehog Map at www.bighedgehogmap.org- Create a log pile that will offer shelter and natural food for hedgehogs.

- Build a Hedgehog Home (see plans at www.britishhedgehogs.org.uk/hedgehog-homes).

- If you are planning a bonfire, move piles of rubbish to a new site on the day you are burning and check it carefully before setting light to it, lighting from only one side so that there’s an escape route should you have missed anything.

- Check compost heaps carefully before digging the fork in, and search your garden carefully before mowing or strimming.

- Ensure netting is kept at a height that allows hedgehogs to pass safely under it.

- Stop using pesticides and poisons.

- Cover drains or deep holes, and ensure there is an easy route out of ponds and garden pools.

BHPS is hoping to raise £2,000 during Hedgehog Awareness Week 2021, you can donate to the 2021 #hedgehogweek appeal at https://www.justgiving.com/campaign/HAW21