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Next time you reach for the strimmer to cut back long grass or areas in the garden that have grown a bit wild, STOP and take a few minutes first to check that you are not disturbing sleeping or nesting wildlife, in particular, hedgehogs.
Intelligent, cute and loveable, hedgehogs are a welcome visitor to our gardens, but did you know they also contribute to the well-being of your garden space and its ecosystem?
In this blog, we will explain why hedgehogs are great for your garden, as well as how to protect these little garden allies and how to keep them safe.
Traditionally living in woods and meadows, hedgehogs have had to adapt to living in increasingly widespread urban areas, finding refuge and nourishment in our gardens and outdoor spaces.
Nocturnal creatures, hedgehogs can cover over 3km in one night when hunting for food. Silent and discreet creatures, hedgehogs love to live among vegetation and hunt at night, contributing to the sustainable management of our green spaces.
Hedgehogs are insectivores which means they are the perfect ally when it comes to maintaining the balance of your garden's ecosystem.
They love to feast on aphids, larvae, beetles, caterpillars, earwigs, millipedes and earthworms. - helping to rid your garden of these small insects and creatures that damage the plants in our garden and cause havoc in the veggie patch!
Hedgehogs are also important for conserving biodiversity in our outdoor spaces. They provide food for other animals but more importantly, they are vital seed dispensers.
When consuming berries and other plants they digest the seeds, excreting them later on in different locations. As a result, they help to spread seeds to different areas to grow new plants and are vital for such plant species that rely on animals for their propagation.
Hedgehogs are nature's way of keeping the delicate balance of our gardens under control - in a completely natural and sustainable way.
Hedgehogs are found across Europe and northwards to Scandinavia, however, despite this hedgehog numbers are unfortunately in serious decline - especially in the UK where they now appear on the red list as at risk of extinction.
This is due to the usual factors such as environmental pollution and destruction of their natural habitats as well as the use of chemicals and intensive agriculture.
Hedgehogs tend to like to shelter and nest in long grassy areas or wild patches with brambles. They can make their homes under piles of branches or hedges.
Unlike many creatures who run away from potential danger, hedgehogs instead curl themselves into a ball of quills to protect their soft body, waiting for the danger to pass.
This unfortunately means that they are far more vulnerable to injuries or even death from gardeners carrying out maintenance work such as strimming long grass or pruning hedges.
STIGA with the help of the fabulous Dylan Allman - self-proclaimed 'Hedgehog Champion' is working to raise awareness of hedgehogs in our gardens.
Look out for the yellow 'Be Hedgehog Aware' sticker on your STIGA products and check out our handy tips below to help your local hedgehogs stay safe in your garden.
If you find an injured hedgehog pop it carefully into a high sided box, cover it lightly and offer it just water.
Contact your nearest rescue centre as quickly as possible.
Call the Hedgehog Helpline in the UK on 01584 890 801
"HedgehogAware came about after I discovered hedgehogs in my garden during the Summer 2020 lockdown. I was 13 at the time and since then have learnt all I can about one of the UK’s most loved mammals – the Erinaceous Europeas – and decided to do as much as possible to help them not only survive but thrive.
As a Hedgehog Champion across Monmouthshire and South Wales, I do a lot of work to raise awareness of the plight of hedgehogs.
I am a guest speaker at gardening clubs, WI meetings, and schools, have exhibited at community events. I have also talked on national media including Radio One, the BBC One Show, Radio 4 Today, and Sky News.
I don't ask for a 'speakers fee' but donations go to the volunteer rescue centre I fundraise for, and take poorly hedgehogs to. I have also organised a 'Let's Talk Hedgehogs' event in partnership with the Wye Valley AONB which was hugely successful."
Dylan's 'Hedgehog Aware' campaign is supported by the British Hedgehog Society and the People's Trust for Endangered Species.
For more information visit Dylan's website www.hedgehogaware.org.uk