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9 tips to help UK hedgehogs as the British Hedgehog Preservation Society celebrate their 40th birthday

By Sophie King
30th April 2022

The British Hedgehog Preservation Society (BHPS) have been dedicated to raising awareness for the safety and security of UK hedgehogs since 1982. Today, the charity is celebrating its 40th birthday by offering great tips on how to help wild hedgehogs survive in your garden. What better way to kick off Hedgehog Awareness Week?

First, a little bit about how the BHPS began. Major Adrian Coles MBE (also known as Major Hedgehog) founded the Society in 1982 after finding a hedgehog in a cattle grid on his land. He saved the little hog by rescuing it with a saucepan, and that’s where the lightbulb moment struck – as County Councillor, he encouraged Shropshire Council to install escape ramps in all of its grids. A popular decision, indeed – it quickly became clear from the response that the rest of the UK was eager as ever to help hedgehogs, and the Society was founded!

Now in its 40th year, the BHPS has shown tireless dedication to the cause. The Society’s website offers leaflets, guides and super infographics to help you look after the hedgehogs in your garden. 

It’s more important than ever to care for these creatures, and there are so many ways we can all chip in. Fay Vass, Chief Executive of the Society, said “Hedgehogs are struggling and mostly that’s due to human activity; these small actions can help a great deal – a little effort from each of us could make life a lot easier for hedgehogs! If you don’t have a garden yourself, you can still help by contacting public space managers, neighbours, family and friends to ensure they are doing their bit.”

The BHPS are on hand with some super tips to help the hedgehogs in your local area – ideas they call ‘hedgehoggy birthday wishes’! Here’s what they’d love you to gift UK hedgehogs this year.

1. Make hedgehog highways in fences - 13 x 13cm square gaps in the bottom of fences or walls should do it! Once created you can log these on the BIG Hedgehog Map at www.bighedgehogmap.org

2. Create an undisturbed log pile that will offer shelter and food.

3. Buy or build a hedgehog home (see plans at www.britishhedgehogs.org.uk/hedgehog-homes or contact BHPS for a paper copy).

4. Offer water and meaty cat or dog food for hedgehogs – you can even build a feeding station to help keep the food safe (see plans on the BHPS website or contact them for a paper copy).

5. Check areas carefully before mowing or strimming.

6. Ditch pesticides and poisons.

7. Ensure there is an easy route out of ponds and pools.

8. Create a wild corner – leave a corner or edge to go wild, supplying shelter and natural food for hedgehogs in the form of bugs and grubs!

9. Join BHPS (or, if you are already a supporter, recruit someone else). Prices start at just £7.50 for an individual UK supporter!

Why not spread the message this Hedgehog Awareness Week? Running 1st-7th of May, it’s organised by the BHPS who can be found on Facebook and Twitter – they’ll be sharing plenty about #hedgehogweek there and on the BHPS website, so make sure to follow those spaces and begin helping the humble hedgehog today!

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