Across the rec
Nature_Garden

 Nature Notes 

 Review of 2021  

 Robins 

 Meadow Maintenance 

 Sweet Chestnut 

 Ants 

 Butterflies 

 Pesticides 

 Stag Beetles 

 Hay Meadows 

 Goat Willow 

 Crows 

 Winter Trees 

 Ivy 

 Take it easy 

 Falling Leaves 

 Horse Chestnut 

 Bats 

 Pollinator Patch 

 Bird Song 

 Dandelions 

 Garden - May 

 Garden - Apr 

 Birch Trees 

 Rotting Wood 

 Starlings 

 Mistletoe 

 Bramble 

 Hedgehogs 

 Sowing Seeds 

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Hedgehogs - Oct 2019

 

A couple of weeks ago, whilst she was walking home through the Rec, Emily spotted 2 hedgehogs, busying themselves on their nightly search for food. They will be doing their best to put on as much weight as possible in preparation for winter hibernation and can travel 2km or more on each of their foraging trips.

 

Possibly the best chance of seeing, or more likely hearing hedgehogs, is during the peak breeding season around May and June. Should you happen to be out late on a warm evening, you may hear the unmistakable huffing and snorting of the hedgehogs prolonged mating ritual, which if unfamiliar, sounds quite loud and unsettling in the still night air. It is the female hedgehog who does most of the vocalising, but the male may get the odd ‘word’ in now and then! I recall standing in my garden watching 2 hedgehogs circling round and around, nose to nose, in typical mating style. This carried on for at least half an hour, all the while accompanied by the continuous snorting. Unfortunately, I was getting rather chilled so didn’t hang around to witness the outcome; these romantic liaisons are clearly not something to be rushed!

 

In 2016 a poll to determine Britain’s favourite mammal came out strongly in favour of our prickly pals. Their common name, hedgehog, dates back at least as far as the 15th century, but there have been some dialect names such as Hodmedod in Norfolk or Hotchewitchi in the Romany tongue. Gypsies have traditionally eaten hedgehogs, which they cooked by packing them in clay and baking them over an open fire. Now, hedgehogs do have a degree of legal protection, but unfortunately their own technique to deal with perceived threats, that of curling up into a tight ball, doesn’t serve them well on our busy roads! It does however, deter most predators except for the badger, which can use its powerful claws and limbs to prise open a defensively curled hedgehog.

 

Our hedgehogs are known to be declining in number, especially in the countryside, mainly due to loss of suitable habitat and use of pesticides. Like a lot of wildlife, they’ve taken refuge in our towns and cities and there’s plenty we can do as individuals, to help them. We can put out a supply of supplementary feed and fresh water during the summer months, leave areas of our gardens relatively undisturbed, be mindful of hazards such as steep sided ponds, garden netting etc, check carefully before using gardening equipment such as mowers and strimmers and preferably avoid using chemicals and slug pellets altogether.

 

We also need to check out bonfires before lighting them in the autumn…to a hedgehog, they will look like the perfect place to make a cosy nest! And we can help hedgehogs to move around our neighbourhoods safely by creating hedgehog highways. Leaving, or creating a 13cm x 13cm hole in our garden walls and fences will allow hedgehogs to move freely between gardens on their nightly peregrinations.

 

FOR MORE INFORMATION PLEASE VISIT THE WEBSITE OF THE BRITISH HEDGEHOG PRESERVATION SOCIETY (BHPS) 

www.britishhedgehogs.org.uk/

 

 

 

 

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