Hedgehogs coming out of hibernation soon...
The Dorset Mammal Group is aiming to reverse the decline of the hedgehog population in Dorset by developing towns and villages into hedgehog friendly habitats. They are encouraging residents to develop hedgehog friendly streets by making holes in, or under, their garden fences and walls for hedgehogs to pass through.
Wareham is one of the towns and villages where groups have been set up to make Dorset the UK’s first hedgehog friendly county. The Wareham group was formed in 2018 and meets on an ad hoc basis. We have had films, slide show and lectures but mainly we like to get together to share hedgehog stories.
We collect data of hedgehog sightings – even the tragic cases where they have been run over or attacked by a dog or fox. This helps us to map where their habitats are. We have reports of regular sightings in Sandford, Northmoor, Carey, Worgret Road area and also within Wareham Walls. Further afield, there are sightings in the Trigon area and East Stoke.
So, what can you do to make Wareham a hedgehog friendly town? Your garden can be an ideal habitat for hedgehogs, provided you do not use chemicals for killing pests, such as slug pellets, and do not tidy up too much. Leave an area of wilderness where they can snuffle for food. Put out water for them particularly during dry spells. If you do wish to put food out for them, and this is particularly helpful in the autumn when some of the smaller autumn juveniles need fattening to survive the hibernation process, you can give them dry cat or dog food. Please do not feed them bread, milk or mealworms.
If you would like to find out more about hedgehogs, I can add you to our e-mail distribution list. If you have hedgehogs in your garden then we would love to hear from you. My email is: firstname.lastname@example.org
Kate Brailsford, Wareham Hedgehog Co-ordinator