Late July brought the sad news that the UK’s hedgehogs are now considered to be vulnerable to extinction, following research and assessment by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN). Although devastating, the news was not wholly unexpected by conservation groups and NWT hopes that placing on the red list of species
is an opportunity to raise awareness of these wonderful creatures, protect their habitats and work towards connectivity between those habitats.
At present, advice to County Wildlife Site
owners and landowners in Living Landscape areas can include information on managing land for hedgehogs. In the future, our Living Landscape work will include more advice on creating and managing hedgerows for the prickly mammals, ensuring there are good buffers along the hedge and thick bases for nesting and shelter. If you do own land with hedgehogs, please contact NWT’s Wildlife Information Service
Many Norfolk towns and villages still have good populations of hedgehogs and whilst we are not currently able to help communities looking to help their hogs, we can recommend the wonderful Hedgehog Street
website, which is full of ideas on how to help garden hedgehogs. Ideas include working with neighbours to ensure that there are gaps in fences and walls so hedgehogs can forage easily and trying to make sure that groups of gardens provide everything the animals need – from water to logs piles for hibernating in.
Finally, when winter comes, hedgehogs may need a little help, especially the autumn-born juveniles, which are often too small to survive hibernation. If you find a small hedgehog (under 450g), then put it in a high sided box or pet carrier with a hot water bottle wrapped in an old towel (a plastic bottle with warm water will suffice) and seek help from the RSPCA, from a local animal sanctuary or via the British Hedgehog Preservation Society
Let’s hope that by working across Norfolk – from nature reserves and farmland to gardens and parks, we can make this a county where our spiky friends can flourish!
Header image by Dave Kilbey