The CAM hedgehog project on Leathley, Farnley and Cleasby plus adjoining roads has confirmed that many gardens are visited by hedgehogs. Several people said they were unable to put out food because cats would eat it.
This tunnel made of 8 bricks is easy for a hedgehog to enter, but too small for cats. About 70% of hedgehogs die during their first year, partly because they cannot put on enough weight to see them through hibernation. It will make a difference if we put out food and water in our gardens.
Hedgehog Action in Farnley Road!
I have noticed that several people in and around Menston have entered their sightings of hedgehogs onto the “Hedgehog Street” national map. I wonder if you have signed up to become a “Hedgehog Champion”? You would have access to suggestions of easy ways to connect with neighbours plus printed material to help you get started. You may need to recruit a person willing to wield a saw! A further enticement could be the loan of a night-vision wildlife camera.
Following the example of Kirklington in Oxfordshire I think we could start to build a Hedgehog Highway throughout our village. Those of us who have started this work in our own gardens could speak to our own neighbours about creating further connectivity by making gaps in fences or walls. On Farnley Road we have 10 connected houses and plan to expand this. If you would like me to map your routes please send the information to firstname.lastname@example.org. Wildlife Friendly Otley are also making progress with a similar project.
We would like to encourage everyone to look out for hedgehogs. They are declining so fast in the countryside, and our gardens have become their last hope of avoiding extinction.
At dusk, leave some poultry-based dry cat food or hedgehog food in a jar lid on a possible hedgehog route. Have a look in the morning to check if you have had visitors. Once you know you have hedgehogs visiting you must also leave out water. It is helpful to buy or make a “house” that is inaccessible to cats. Contact Jason (07775 325725) at “Mens’ Sheds” if you fancy a “luxury” well designed wooden one, or look at online instructions on how to make one yourself from a plastic box.
Despite the fact that at least four were run over near Farnley Road last year there are still some which are regularly seen. We want to keep their numbers up, or at least halt their decline.
There is lots of information on the Hedgehog Street website.
If you find an animal which appears to be unwell there are a number of options:
- White Cross Vets would look it over for a £35 fee.
- Prickly Pigs in Otley
- Bingley Hedgehog Rescue Centre may be open (0778 731 4590)
- The Hedgehoggery based in Shipley may be open
- The British Hedgehog Preservation Society can give advice (01584 890801)
If you would like to encourage your neighbours to help, you may find the letter below helpful. Small Print in Menston will make a set for a small fee, or maybe if you are at school you could ask permission to use their photocopier for this task. Deliver a copy to every house in your street and adjacent roads.
People may want to share their sightings with you, put them on the “Hedgehog Street” national map, and we would love to know about them too – send us an email at: email@example.com.