Suffolk: ‘Hedgehog friendly zone’ plea to local gardeners this autumn
- Credit: PA
Hedgehogs were once a common sight in gardens across Suffolk, but numbers of the prickly coated mammal have declined rapidly during the past 60 years.
In the 1950s, there were an estimated 36 million hedgehogs in the UK, but that number has plummeted to around one million today. Consequently, hedgehogs are now a UK Biodiversity Action Plan priority species for conservation.
A wildlife group from Lavenham is urging people to take simple measures that could help the loveable native species to survive.
Local conservationist George Millins told the EADT: “This is a critical point in the year for this delightful but seriously declining little mammal so we are appealing to people to do what they can to help.
“To give them a better chance of surviving the hibernation period, feeding now is particularly important. Cat and dog food is acceptable providing it does not contain fish, or a special hedgehog mix is available from pet stores.”
Mr Millins said older hedgehogs started to seek out hibernation sites during October. He added: “Leaf litter piles, compost heaps and bonfire piles are particularly attractive to sleepy hedgehogs.
“As Guy Fawkes night is almost with us again, we would urge people to check bonfires carefully before lighting them. Better still, the entire bonfire should be re-built just before being lit. Hedgehogs will not run away from the fire as they have no flight response.”
The People’s Trust for Endangered Species combined with the British Hedgehog Preservation Society has just released a free A-Z guide of tips for looking after hedgehog welfare in the weeks leading up to winter. Visit www.hedgehogstreet.org for details.