There has been a major decline in the number of hedgehogs across the country and in 2015 Solihull was selected to spearhead research to try and reverse that decline. A major publicity drive was started talking about the plight of hedgehogs and giving ideas as to what we can all do to try and improve their habitat in our urban environment. The second stage was a programme of research work that set out to establish where in the Solihull area there were hedgehogs. Baited tunnels were set up to encourage hedgehogs in the hope they would leave tracks as they left the tunnel.
Support From Tidbury Green Residents
Tidbury Green residents were invited to participate in this work by hosting a tunnel for a period of 5 days. Results were varied and we had cats, voles, mice, rats and foxes all come and sample the special hedgehog bait. We finished up having hedgehog tracks from four different sites around our area which was encouraging. We also deployed a camera trap in one garden where hedgehogs were regular visitors and shot video of them whilst they went about their foraging. Thank you to all those who helped collect the track data.
Making Your Garden More Hedgehog Friendly
Hedgehogs roam far and wide whilst foraging for food and to find a mate. They need access to our gardens as they are a rich source of food. They need access to the wider area via our gardens. We can all help to make our gardens more Hedgehog friendly by ensuring they have paths into and out of our gardens. Fences and wire netting that we use to secure our gardens are not hedgehog friendly but by making holes about the size of a hand (10-15cms) in the bottom of a fence can allow hedgehogs free access to roam. Security is barely compromised but the access it will offer hedgehogs will in the long term help their return.
Whilst Slug pellets keep our plants safe from slug attack, such pellets are very poisonous to hedgehogs, and we should try and find other ways to stop slugs (a beer trap can be quite effective!).
The work is being extended to other midlands centres and further research into the hedgehog densities should be started in the spring.