Help the hedgehogs

Five hogs in a pot

Five hogs in a pot - Credit: Archant

ONE of the nation’s best-loved garden creatures is in rapid decline right under our noses and needs urgent help to survive.

Hedgehog being fed through a syringe

Hedgehog being fed through a syringe - Credit: Archant

A Somerset wildlife rescue charity is hoping to bring the plight of the hedgehog to the forefront of public attention.

The hedgehog population is dwindling rapidly in the West Country, and East Huntspill’s Secret World is hoping a special open weekend will highlight the issue.

The centre is experiencing high levels of admissions, including 112 hedgehogs admitted to the animal hospital since the beginning of June, most which were orphans.

A baby hedgehog’s life is not always a happy one and is full of dangers, whether it be from inquisitive dogs rooting out their nests and scaring away their mums to falling victim to bonfires or lawnmowers and other garden instruments.

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Secret World founder Pauline Kidner says there were about 30 million hedgehogs in the UK 50 years ago but now it is estimated their numbers have slumped to one million.

She said: “So if we carry on at this rate and positive steps are not taken to encourage them and preserve their habitats then they could be almost extinct in 10 years.”

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Now families with a love of wildlife will be able to learn how best to encourage hedgehogs into their gardens and what to do to help protect them. While learning all about the creatures, visitors will also be able to see Secret World’s family of tortoises and meet Eric, an eight stone Chelonian tortoise.

The centre in New Road will open its doors from July 26-27 from 10am-4pm. Admission will be free but donations will be welcomed, including tinned kitten food for the baby hedgehogs.

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