Now that spring has sprung, have you been out in your garden and heard the distinctive huffing and puffing of a hodmedod? No? Are you sure? A hodmedod isn’t a new species invading England, it’s the Norfolk word for hedgehog.
Hodmedod's Hedgehog Support came to Swallowtail WI to give us a talk on how we can help these prickly visitors. There has been a massive decline in numbers over the past seventy years. There were 30 million hedgehogs in the UK and that’s dropped to less than a million. Hodmedod's Hedgehog Support wants to encourage people to create hedgehog friendly gardens and they taught us what we needed to do to make our gardens more accessible.
Hedgehogs travel between one and two miles a night, so it’s important to create wildlife corridors to help them get around the county and avoid the busy roads. The best way to do this it to cut 13 cm holes at the bottom of your fences.
Hedgehogs also need plenty of food and drink, but the days of Mrs Tiggy-Winkle enjoying bread and milk are long gone, it sadly gives her tummy ache. Instead, you can leave out wet dog or cat food (not fish-based) or you can buy specialist hedgehog food. Water is also essential. The heat wave last summer caused many hedgehogs to die from dehydration, so make sure you have a shallow bowl of plain, fresh water for them to drink.
If you can entice hedgehogs into your garden, you’ll find they’ll earn their keep. They love eating slugs, caterpillars and beetles and eat at least 100 invertebrates a night. This will help your plants flourish, so it’s win-win. If on the other hand gardening isn’t your thing, hedgehogs provide the perfect excuse not to mow the grass, because it provides them with shelter and a pile of abandoned logs or compost head is great for hibernation.
Hedgehogs are a classic part of an English garden and it would be a tragedy if they died out. Swallowtail WI are going to do all we can to help them thrive once again.
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