Many cities are good places for a twilight
safari on the trail of one of our most secretive but common creatures - the Hedgehog.
late in the autumn, there may be a few of these prickly animals still around.
It's hard to miss the Hedgehog once you've spotted one - it is the only spiny
British mammal. The average adult Hedgehog has around 5,000-7,000 spines which
are hollow hairs made stiff with keratin.
Good habitats for Hedgehog hunting include parks, gardens and farmland across
Britain. This small mammal prefers woodland edges, hedgerows and suburban habitats
where there is a wealth of food.
* Certain habitats are not favoured by
Hedgehogs including intensively farmed arable land, moorlands and conifer forests.
* Listen for Hedgehogs - sometimes they can be heard snuffling and grunting.
* Hedgehogs can often be most active at night
after heavy rainfall.
* Hibernation starts around November but it is common
for Hedgehogs to wake up several times over the winter.
* Be careful not
to disturb a Hedgehog in its natural habitat. Hedgehogs may not be trapped without
* If you want to feed wild Hedgehogs in your garden, the Mammal
Society recommends giving them water. Alternatively
feed them with pet foods.
* Bear in mind that
gardens can be hazardous for Hedgehogs e.g. if you have a pond or sharp garden
equipment. These mammals sometimes hibernate under garden bonfire heaps so check
for their presence.
* Why not adopt a Hedgehog?
Create a wild corner in your garden with bushes, leaves and twigs on the ground
to encourage the animals to nest safely.