After a surge in strimmer injury cases this year, Hedgehog rescue Prickles & Paws is urging gardeners to check for wildlife before they strim. Can you help?
This is a guest article by Prickles & Paws Hedgehog Rescue. All views expressed are its own and not necessarily shared by Which?.
If I asked you to spare five minutes to prevent an animal that is vulnerable to extinction from serious injury, I’ve no doubt you would. That animal could be in your back garden and is none other than Britain’s favourite mammal, the hedgehog.
At Prickles and Paws Hedgehog Rescue we admit hedgehogs for a myriad of reasons, but by far the most distressing cases are those that have been “strimmed”. At the time of writing, we’ve admitted nine hedgehogs with strimmer injuries so far this year.
Yesterday was an incredibly busy day for us with 7 new admissions and multiple vet trips. This little girl had a strimmer injury to the top of her head also causing swelling in the nasal passages and respiratory distress. ⚠️Please check before you strim⚠️ pic.twitter.com/xSE4RtcKB0
— Prickles and Paws (@Prickles_Paws) April 30, 2022
Why are strimmer injuries so common?
Strimmer injuries are often fatal and are so easily avoided. Whilst hedgehogs have excellent hearing, their natural instinct is not to run from a danger, but to freeze and curl into a ball.
This means that garden machinery such as a strimmer poses a real risk to nesting hedgehogs: their prickles simply can not stand up to a strimmer, mower or hedge cutter.
It’s not just laceration injury that can occur, the force of a strimmer will “spin” a hedgehog resulting in severe bruising, head trauma and breathing difficulties.
A five-minute request
This is where the five-minute request comes in. We are asking everyone to simply check their gardens before strimming or mowing. Hedgehogs love long grass and overgrown areas – that bit of the garden you’re always meaning to tidy up.
The last day of #hedgehogawarenessweek and if we are honest it hasn’t been a good one for Cornwall’s hedgehogs… 7 strimmer injuries! Please share and help raise awareness ⚠️🦔🐾 pic.twitter.com/svSypIplDL
— Prickles and Paws (@Prickles_Paws) May 7, 2022
So please, before you cut or strim long grass, have a good rummage! You can use a broom handle or your hands to part the grass and undergrowth, literally a few minutes to potentially prevent injury or save a life.
If you do find a hedgehog, please do not disturb it, particularly during the summer months when it may be a female with young – call your nearest rescue for advice instead.
Why not consider leaving a corner of your garden to “go wild”? It’s never a messy garden when it’s a wildlife garden!
You can read more advice and find out more about our work here.
Do you check for wildlife before you start strimming? Will you take the time to help us now we’ve got the word out? Thank you for your support.
This was a guest article by Prickles & Paws Hedgehog Rescue. All views expressed were its own and not necessarily shared by Which?.