Hedgehogs in Chapelton

Did you know that hedgehogs are the UK’s favourite mammal and one of the most endangered?

Did you know that they’ve moved into Chapelton?

Probably not – because you may never see them! They’re nocturnal which means they will venture out while you sleep in search of food and water. They are a gardener’s friend as they eat the creepy crawlies that like to eat your plants.

Hedgehogs face many dangers and moving into Chapelton while there’s still construction work going on is very perilous for them.  

A rescue hoglet that was released back in the wild in 2020

A few hedgehog facts:

  • They’re listed as endangered and at risk of extinction – within 10 years if things don’t improve for them.
  • They’re rarer than tigers.
  • Hedgehog numbers have fallen by as much as 50% since the year 2000 and it’s estimated that there are less than 1 million hedgehogs in the UK now compared to around 30 million back in the 1950’s.
  • They’re one of only 3 mammals in the UK that hibernate.
  • They have around 7,000 quills (prickles).
  • Their main predators are badgers.
  • It’s a myth they carry fleas.
  • It’s a myth they love snails and slugs – they’re favourite foods are beetles and caterpillars.
  • They can travel up to 2 miles per night in search of food and water.
  • They build a mind map of where they live and will always live within the same area.

Here’s some information about how you can help them and make Chapelton a ‘Hedgehog Friendly Town’.

Create at least one entrance into your garden, preferably linking your garden to your neighbour’s – this is what’s known as a ‘hedgehog highway’. They allow hedgehogs to travel freely and safely between gardens away from roads.

Get the kids involved and make a fun entrance like above – they will love it.

Create a wild area in your garden where hedgehogs can forage. A wildlife friendly garden need not be messy – as long as there is some dense planting for them to forage through. Bear in mind that slug pellets, herbicides and pesticides can be harmful to wildlife in your garden.

Get the kids busy making a simple log pile like this:

Dry kitten biscuits are a real favourite with hedgehogs and provide everything they need.

Water is very important! Remember if there’s no puddles then there’s no water for hedgehogs. Once dehydrated they’re unable to eat and will die.

Never offer hedgehogs milk as they’re lactose intolerant.

Hedgehogs love to nest under sheds and decking, but will also use a hedgehog house. If you’re handy you can build your own and remember to include an inner chamber to keep the hedgehog safe from wind, rain and predators.

Place the house in a quiet sheltered spot in the garden, behind a shed or near shrubs is ideal.

The golden rule for hedgehogs is ‘out in the day NOT OK’.

A hedgehog out in the middle of the day is almost always a poorly hedgehog (there are a few exceptions to this rule in summer). If you see one out lying around or looking injured, please put it in a high sided box, (even poorly hedgehogs can be great climbers), cover it over with a hay, straw, an old towel or a sheet of newspaper so it feels safe and seek advice. The New Arc are always happy to advise.

A big thank you to Denise Martin, creator of the Hedgehogs of Portlethen Facebook page, for all of helpful advice. Helen spends her time raising awareness of the plight of endangered hedgehogs.