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hedgehog project

Image courtesy of Roger Wyatt

hedgehog project - outline plan

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Below is a summary of what we plan to do for the hedgehog survey. 

Step 1:  Initial/preliminary data collection (late March)

  • Collect data on where people have (and have not – also important) seen hedgehogs, or evidence of their presence, in the past.

  • Record the location of your historical sighting using the Google form here.

Step 2:  Mapping (early April)

  • We will map the locations of your past sightings using Google maps.

  • This will give us a rough idea of where we might find some hedgehogs this year. 

Step 3:  Main survey - Sunday 2nd – 8th May - Hedgehog Awareness Week 2021.

  • We are looking for a group of volunteers to make and place footprint tunnels in their gardens and then check for any hedgehog footprints once a day for 5 days. There is a great video on how to make a footprint tunnel here

  • Hopefully, the survey will give us a better understanding of the state of South Stoke’s hedgehog population – where are they? 

  • It can be repeated to allow us to monitor population/distribution changes.

  • Remember, sightings of hedgehogs and any of our top 20 species can be recorded anytime using our Species Sighting Form.

Step 4:  Mapping

  • We will add any recorded sightings to our species recording maps and see if we can identify any data gaps for future targeted surveys. 

  • If we identify gaps, then we could also use trail cameras to see if there are any hedgehogs (and other wildlife) roaming about at night.

project update!

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April 10th 2021.  Thank you to everyone who filled in our hedgehog survey. The map below shows where hedgehogs have been seen in the past (click on the map to link through to Google Maps and you'll be able to zoom in). 

 

Possible reasons for the absence of hedgehog sightings included; presence of a dog, lack of access under fencing, rabbit fencing and walled gardens and under-reporting :).

We would like to get an even better picture of the hedgehog population and where they are so if you see any hedgehogs this year please record them using our species sighting form  or using iRecord. 

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We're testing out a trail camera. It takes 20 second videos in night-time mode and will be available for villagers to borrow. Here's some recent footage captured on 9th and 10th May 2021:

Time for a drink - please put a shallow bowl of  water out for hedgehogs, they can get very thirsty

A couple of local residents on a night out

Drawing of Hedgehog
Drawing of Hedgehog

hedgehog facts

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  • Hedgehogs can reach speeds of almost 10km/h (but only in short bursts)

  • There are 15 different species of hedgehog

  • Hedgehogs can swim and even climb trees!

  • Hedgehogs have also been known as urchins, hedgepigs and furzepigs

  • They are the only native British animal that has spines, or quills

  • Each spine lasts for about a year before it falls out and is replaced by another one. A hedgehog can have between 5,000 and 7,000 spines

  • It is thought that there were about 30 million hedgehogs in the UK in the 1950s, but recent surveys suggest that are only about 1 million left now

  • Baby hedgehogs are called hoglets

  • Hedgehogs have very poor eyesight so they rely on their senses of hearing and smell.

  • A group of hedgehogs is called an array

  • Hedgehogs are one of only three British mammals (the others being bats and dormice) that hibernate

how do you know if hedgehogs visit your garden?

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Hedgehogs are primarily nocturnal creatures so you probably won’t see them during the day. However, there are a few things you can do, or look for, to find out if they are visiting your garden.

  1. Hedgehog droppings – they are distinctive, usually quite dark in colour, often containing the body parts of insects (particularly beetles) and ranging in size from 15mm to 50mm. Have you spotted any on your lawn? 

  2. Listen - if you listen carefully you may hear them snuffling or shuffling under a bush or hedge. 

  3. Footprints – a hedgehog’s front footprints look like little handprints, their back footprints are longer and slimmer, you might see them in mud or other soft ground. You can track hedgehogs by simply wetting the ground around some cat or dog food in a bowl and looking for prints in the mud, or you can try using a footprint tracking tunnel

  4. Install a camera – night vision and motion activated cameras help you see what animals are visiting your garden at night

 

things you can do to encourage hedgehogs into your garden

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  1. Hedgehog highways – create gaps under fences so that hedgehogs can get in and out.

  2. Make or buy a hedgehog house – a simple pile of logs or something custom made

  3. Leave out water - please do not give them milk because hedgehogs are lactose intolerant.

  4. Create a hedgehog café out of bricks and slabs, wood or plastic containers. 

  5. Provide an escape route (ramp or rocks) to help hedgehogs get out of ponds – they can swim but have trouble getting out!

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hedgehog awareness week

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'Hedgehog Awareness Week' (2nd – 8th May 2021) is organised by the British Hedgehog Preservation Society (BHPS) and takes place every year.  It aims to highlight the problems affecting wild hedgehogs in the UK and make people aware of how they can help these cute and vulnerable creatures.

Things to consider:

1. Please don’t disturb hedgehogs during hibernation and check bonfires before you light them. 

2. Please don’t use slug pellets; they are harmful to hedgehogs and other animals. 

3. Please don’t put things on the ground that a hedgehog could get caught up in e.g. netting. 

4. Check your lawn for sleeping hedgehogs before you mow or strim.

For more information, visit the BHPS website.

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children's activities

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We would love it if children would like to get involved in the hedgehog project. Please help them make something crafty and share it on our facebook group

Why not try these yummy recipes for hedgehog biscuits and a very chocolatey hedgehog cake!

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