When was the last time you saw Mrs Tiggy-Winkle and her family in your garden? According to a recent survey, there’s a good chance it was over a year ago…
After a few false starts to spring, I’m slowly getting through the list of gardening jobs I set myself back in the bleak midwinter.
Alas, as soon as I tick jobs off the list, I’m finding a whole new set of things that need doing.
My chief problem now is the last panel of my neighbour’s fence has completely disintegrated, leaving a gaping hole in our boundary that the local cats and foxes have clearly been using as a thoroughfare/toilet.
With my neighbour highly unlikely to fix the issue, I’ve been wondering how best I can reinstate the boundary. But reading about the continuing decline of hedgehogs and how I’ve inadvertently contributed to their plight, I’m thinking I might just leave things be.
Hogs in peril
According to a recent survey, sightings of Britain’s favourite mammal have fallen again, with almost six in 10 people saying they haven’t seen one at all in the past year.
The figure is up from the 51% who said they had not seen a hedgehog in 2016, and 48% who did not see one at all in 2015.
It follow news that the UK hedgehog population has fallen by half since 2000 and it is estimated there are now less than a million compared to 30m in the 1950s.
And when I come to think of it, while I’ve seen an increase of greenfinches, long-tailed tits, squirrels and even parakeets and herons in my garden in the past year, I’ve seen neither hide nor spike of a hog.
What can we do?
In fact, I don’t think I’ve seen one since I replaced my fence with concrete gravel boards and posts a few years back. And there lies the problem, as more secure fencing is one of the reasons why hedgehogs are in decline.
So I’ll be leaving the gaping hole in my neighbour’s fence well alone and am now thinking I’ll widen a gap I’ve seen in my own fence to create a hedgehog highway. I’ll also be using organic slug pellets, researching wildlife-friendly shrubs (that also suit part shade – suggestions welcome) and erecting some bug hotels.
After all, help the wildlife and it will, in turn, help me.
Have you noticed a decline in visits by hedgehogs in your garden this year? Do you do anything to encourage them? Or, if you have them, do you do anything to help them? What other wildlife have you seen a decrease or increase of in your garden?