Wildlives Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation Centre
Insecticides/Pesticides/Slug Pellets
Hedgehogs are a natural pest control but, because they like eating all the insects that people wish to kill, they will hoover up the corpses of pests that have been poisoned by pesticides - and the result is poisoned hedgehogs. If you need more pest control than your local hedgehog can offer, wildlife-friendly products are widely available.
Bonfires and Compost Heaps
Every November, Wildlives puts out its annual warning about checking bonfires before setting light to them. However, the dangers exist all the year round. Hedgehogs will look for somewhere warm to sleep during the day - and bonfire piles and compost heaps, to the hedgehog, seem ideal for this purpose. So before you light your bonfire, or dig your spade into the compost heap, check for hedgehogs. If you find a nest with nestlings - a possibility throughout the warmer months - the best thing to do is to postpone the bonfire for a few weeks. Moving the nest may lead the mother to abandon the babies or, worse, to eat them.
Strimmers and Lawn Mowers
We see hedgehogs that have fallen victim to strimmers and lawn mowers distressingly often at Wildlives! From the very short haircut right through to the missing limbs and horrendous wounds. Please check the long grass thoroughly before cutting it.
Ponds and Swimming Pools
Hedgehogs actually enjoy swimming, but they will dive in without checking to see if there is a way out, and will drown as a result. Sloped or stepped sides to your pond, or a piece of hanging chicken wire in your swimming pool, will ensure that these little water nymphs can get out after their bath.
Wire Mesh/Barbed Wire/Netting
Hedgehogs (and other wildlife) can easily become entangled in these, and may sustain awful injuries trying to escape. You can prevent this by making sure you never leave netting or mesh lying around on the ground. If you have put netting up for a particular purpose, leaving a gap of about a foot underneath it will allow hedgehogs to pass safely underneath.
Hedgehogs may fall into open drains and be unable to climb out again. Drain covers will prevent this from happening.
Cans, bottles, cartons, the plastic loops that hold drinks cans - all these can be lethal death traps for small animals. Crush cans before throwing them away; cut the plastic loops so animals cannot get caught up in them. Most of all, never leave rubbish lying around.
Domestic Pets
As a general rule, domestic pets do not seem to be interested in hedgehogs (and vice versa). Besides that, hedgehogs can usually avoid injury by curling up and presenting any potential predator with an impenetrable, prickly exterior. First of all however, there are some animals that can penetrate that defence: badgers are one type, but there are certain types of dog that may also be able to tear a hedgehog open. Secondly, sick or injured hedgehogs may not be able to operate this defence effectively - and thus be particularly vulnerable. There is little that can be done initially, but if your dog has attacked hedgehogs before, you might consider putting a muzzle on it, or taking it out on a lead at night.
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