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Hazards for hedgehogs
Please do all you can to make your garden and the area near where you live as safe as possible for hedgehogs
Litter: Don’t drop litter, please put it in a bin, hedgehogs get trapped in plastic bags, dustbin liners, crisp packets, 4 pack rings and polystyrene cups.
Cut all the plastic 4 pack rings including the little ones in the middle these can trap all sorts of wildlife and the victim will be unable to free itself.
This is a hedgehog found trapped in plastic beer rings under anaesthetic at the vets where the wound was cleaned.
This hedgehog was found with a plastic ring cutting in under her armpits, the elbows were swollen but she recovered well after the vets had cleaned the wound.
Blow up any crisp packet and “pop” it before you put it in the bin, or cut it.
Poisons: Don’t use any garden chemicals. Blue slug pellets and weedkillers also kill hedgehogs, insecticides destroy their food supply. Rat poison will also kill them. Even lawn dressings have been reported to burn their feet.
Strimmers and blades:
Check carefully before you use a strimmer, scythe or mower, cut 2’ or 0.5 m above the ground first, then check for hedgehogs and then cut lower to the ground if you wish. We see some horrific injuries caused by cutting tools before every branchage, remember, these are just the hedgehogs which people have rescued, it does not take account of the ones killed outright or the others which have crawled away to die a slow and painful death. Many of the hedgehogs we see every year are put to sleep because their wounds are too severe to be treated.
The hog on the left has been cut by a strimmer, the one on the right was lucky and only had his spines cut, he was not hurt. Many of the adult hedgehogs we care for have had "near misses" from strimmers or other blades and still have a patch of short spines, usually on their heads.
We are repeating our strimmer awareness campaign in 2017, we are having flyers and stickers for the machines printed. If you would like some of these please email: email@example.com To see the text of the flyer go to our Strimmer Awareness page
Ponds, pools and drains: Hedgehogs will fall into any steep sided hole, whether or not it is filled with water, so any type of open drain, trench or pit as well as steep sided ponds and swimming pools are all potential death traps. Please do all you can to avoid these fatalities by providing escape ramps or rafts and by covering drains.
Steep steps: Steep garden steps can also trap them and separate hoglets from their mother whose longer legs have let her continue on her way without them. A brick or block can make the step shallower and allow the hedgehog to climb up easily.
Don’t leave loose netting around on the ground, if it is in use in the garden, pull it taut and leave a gap of about 4” /10cm underneath for hedgehogs. Hedgehogs get caught in all sorts of nets, wire mesh and lobster pots. If you have a tennis or a badminton net, make sure it is lifted off the ground at the end of play.
The finer the netting, the more damage it can cause. The more the hedgehog struggles to get free, the tighter it gets caught round him. Nets can cause really bad constriction injuries, cutting off the blood supply. The leg in the picture was saved by the vets with lengthy treatment.
Bonfires are also dangerous, they look like an inviting nest site, so please only set light to rubbish you have moved that day, don’t set fire to a pile of garden waste that has been there for even one night. The safest alternative is to use an incinerator.
The hog in this picture did not survive his injuries, he was dug out of a bonfire.
Take care with garden tools:
If you compost your waste, hedgehogs will also find the heap a lovely warm place to nest, so please take care when forking through. Please take care with all garden tools.
The hedgehog in this picture has a fork wound from the top of his head to under his chin, where the vet has placed a drain to remove all the infection.
Hedgehogs get trapped in sheds and garages:
Hedgehogs will wander into your shed or garage, if you leave the door open at night, this is no problem if you always leave the door open and do not mind them visiting, but if you sometimes shut it after dark and then leave it shut for several days, a hedgehog could be trapped inside and could die of thirst if not starvation. So please be consistent! Either always shut the door before dark or always leave it open for the hogs to come and go as they please!
With a maximum speed limit of 40mph in Jersey there should not be many hedgehogs killed on our roads, but sadly you will know that this is not so. Please take care.
Dogs: If you know that your dog likes to hunt for hedgehogs, please keep him on a lead or muzzle him after dark, some dogs can kill a hog with one shake of the head.
The hedgehog on the left was bitten by a dog but the wound was treated by the vet and healed well. He was released some distance away from where the dog lived. The one on the right is a recent admission, we hope she will do as well.
On to Your Garden