In addition to working hard to enhance and protect hedgehog communities on the Harper Adams campus, students behind the University's Hedgehog friendly campus scheme are also keen to spread awareness of steps everyone can take to protect our prickly friends in the gardens. Guest blogger Lauren James writes:
Hedgehog communities are widely impacted by changes to land use and the fragmentation of gardens, but there are some simple steps we can all take that can have a significant impact.
Here are some tips to help encourage hedgehog into your garden and help already present hedgehogs survive:
- Create a feeding station with a shallow dish of fresh water and food (preferably cat food or cat biscuits)NEVER give a hedgehog milk as they are lactose intolerant and can become very sick.
- Add a small pond to your garden with a ramp made of a sustainable material or chicken wire so hedgehogs can escape easily after having a swim and have a year-round water supply.
- Avoid using slug pellets and chemical pesticides.
- Allow some areas of your garden to grow wild to provide natural nesting and hibernation sites.
- Add a compost heap and leaf piles to provide nesting/bedding materials for hedgehogs.
- Take care when cutting hedges, tall grass and bushes to avoid injuring hibernating or sleeping hedgehogs. (LOOK BEFORE YOU CUT!)
- Plant native wildflowers, hedges and trees to help attract an array of insects - sufficient to feed a hungry hedgehog.
- Create or buy a specially made hedgehog house or hibernacula (if you would like to create your own hedgehog house here’s a helpful guide: Hedgehog-Street-Hedgehog-houses-instructions-2018.pdf (hedgehogstreet.org))
- Create a hedgehog highway (13mm X 13mm hole at the bottom of your fences) to allow hedgehogs to move freely in search of food and mates.
Our HFC team at Harper are also doing our part to make the campus more hedgehog friendly taking tips and information on board and expanding them across campus.
So far we’ve:
- Installed a hedgehog house on campus with a feeding station.
- Conducted a hedgehog survey and workshop.
- Helped rescue and release two rehabilitated hedgehogs on campus.
- Held cake sales and fundraising events to raise money for British Hedgehog Preservation Society.
- Provided essential information and guidance for garden maintenance workers to be more hedgehog friendly.
- Tied netting up to avoid hedgehogs becoming entangled.
Our new ideas and plans to achieve silver this year include:
- Litter picks around campus to boost the fantastic job our estate team already do
- Conducting a habitat survey and another presence survey to help determine Harper's hedgehog populations size and location.
- Planting new native wildflowers and trees across the campus.
- Install ramps in ponds across the campus.
- Host more fundraising events, workshops and sessions for hedgehog lovers to learn more about hedgehog ecology.
If you would like to be a part of our team and get involved to change the lives of our prickly friends for the better, please join us by emailing your interest to email@example.com or message our social media page on Instagram @hedgehogs_atharperadams