Holes for hedgehogs

Tom Marshall

Shropshire Wildlife Trust’s Hedgehog Officer is urging housebuilders and individuals to do their bit to help one of the UK’s most endangered mammals, the hedgehog, by choosing fencing panels with a hole at the bottom.

One of the simplest and most effective ways to improve life for hedgehogs is to enable them to roam between gardens. They need to be able to range over a mile each night to find food and to meet other hedgehogs for breeding.  All too often, hard fencing blocks their way, reducing their foraging opportunities and isolating them.

Help is at hand though: a Shropshire company, Shropshire Fencing Supplies, produces gravel boards – the concrete base on which wooden fence panels sit – with a ready-made hole in them that is perfect for hedgehogs.  They cost exactly the same as gravel boards without holes in them, so the company expected demand to be high.  Sadly, they have so far sold only five.

Hedgehog gravel board

Hedgehog friendly gravel board (Shropshire Fencing Supplies)

Little Wenlock Hedgehog

Valerie Walton

‘Hedgehogs are one of the most popular wild animals in the UK,’ said Kathryn. ‘This is a great way to help them.  It would make a massive difference to their survival chances if every garden boundary had at least one hole, so they could access more feeding habitat.’

A report just published by Professor Fiona Matthews of Sussex University lists the hedgehog as one of 11 wild mammals at risk of extinction in the UK. Their perilous situation has today led to them being red-data listed.

‘We must make every effort to help hedgehogs,’ says Kathryn.  ‘People love them but not enough of us are making the changes to their habitat that will make a difference to their chances of survival. If we want to keep them in our lives that needs to change.’

Time to put more food out and houses for nesting!

Kathryn Jones

Kathryn Jones

Hedgehog Officer, Shropshire Wildlife Trust