Wild About Gardens Week

Tuesday 20th October 2015

Hedgehog on St Mary's Golf Course Hedgehog on St Mary's Golf Course ~ © BareFoot Photographer

This annual celebration of garden wildlife, hosted by the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) and The Wildlife Trusts, has joined forces with Hedgehog Street this year to highlight what gardeners can do to help this much-loved yet fast-declining species.

Many of our common garden species – hedgehogs, house sparrows, starlings and common frogs, for example – are becoming much less common.

 

This joint initiative has been set up to encourage people to support local biodiversity in their gardens; this is becoming more important than ever. Two years ago, research compiled by 25 wildlife organisations found that "60 percent of the 3,148 UK animal and plant species assessed have declined in the past 50 years for a range of reasons including loss of habitat".  (State of Nature; RSPB).  

This year "Wild About Gardens Week", taking place from 26th October to 1st November 2015, is encouraging gardeners to think about what they can do to support their local wildlife and more specifically how they can help hedgehogs move around in search of food. 

Although hedgehogs aren't native to Scilly, being introduced in the early 1980's, they appear to be doing well on their diet of Scillonian slugs, snails and sand-hoppers; in contrast their Mainland cousins are in decline.

Hedgehog Fact:

Did you know...in Victorian times the hedgehog was also known as the ‘Cellarhog’ as they were kept under the stairs in large houses specifically to eat the cockroaches?

 

It is not really known why hedgehog populations appear to be in decline on the Mainland, there are many wide-ranging theories from increased road traffic to loss of hedgerows, habitat fragmentation (i.e fences) to pesticide use.

Hedgehog Street provide a lot of information about our spikey friends and how we can help them (and other species in the process), they encourage monitoring of hedgehog populations throughout the UK and have an online facility whereby you can "map your hedgehog"!

Until recently Scilly was not represented on here but in the past week we have rectified this and started "mapping" our hedgehogs; you are able to map live hedgehogs, dead hedgehogs and hedgehog holes (either natural or man-made) so lets get some data on there for Scilly and get mapping!

Hedgehog Fact:

Baby hedgehogs are called "Urchins" and are born with their first spines; these are white and covered by skin and start to come through as soon as they are born!

 

The national "Make a Hole for Hedgehogs" campaign may be less relevant to Scilly but there's still plenty you can do to join in "Wild About Gardens Week". 

So check out the Hedgehog Street Website, find out about hedgehogs and even become a "Hedgehog Champion"!

Keep your eye out for these little critters and let us know if you've seen Mrs Tiggywinkle and where, what she's up to or take a picture!

Tweet, FaceBook or Instagram your message or photo and make sure you #scillyhog so we know!! 

Tagged with: Events & Shows, Hedgehog street, Hedgehogs, Rspb, The wildlife trusts, Wild about gardens week