East Sussex Wildlife Rescue & Ambulance Service (WRAS) is urging the public to “Think Hedgehog” ahead of the start of Hedgehog Awareness Week on Sunday (May 6).
Founder of East Sussex WRAS Trevor Weeks said: “We are urging people when in their gardens to ‘Think Hedgehog’. So if you are digging into compost, or clearing away piles of leaves or taking up a shed or clearing out a green house, then please be careful and think about whether there is a hedgehog hiding away where you are working. Every year we see hedgehogs with horrendous injuries where they have been caught by strimmers, lawn mowers or garden spades and forks, so please be careful and check the area before working.”
WRAS says it deals with more than 450 hedgehogs a year and that the number is increasing. It is thought the number of hedgehogs nationally has decreased by up to a third since 2000.
“New fences can be a death sentence for many hedgehogs and entire populations can disappear as a result of just one person erecting a new fence.
“This can be avoided if people ensure they leave a CD size hole so hedgehogs can still wander from garden to garden,” continued Trevor.
“If you want to feed hedgehogs anything they are best given just water and cat food.”
Recently WRAS dealt with a hedgehog caught in a rodent trap in Rye Close Polegate.
“If you are setting traps for rodents it is a legal requirement to place them in a location where no other species can be harmed,” Trevor said. “Hedgehogs are particularly susceptible to being caught in such traps and are best not used at all.”
As part of Hedgehogs Awareness Week East Sussex WRAS has a window display at the Uckfield Volunteer Bureau in Uckfield High Street with information.
Trevor and lead casualty manager Chris Riddington are also raising money for WRAS’s hedgehogs work by running the Barcombe 10K on May 7.
Donations towards the run and WRAS’s Hedgehog work can be made at https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/HedgehogAwareness