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Hedgehogs In Decline

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Hedgehogs In Decline

Post by assassin on Sat Jun 17, 2017 2:01 pm

Its not gone unnoticed that hedgehogs are in decline and we can do quite a lot to help them survive, only this week I have been given three baby hedgehogs to nurture back to health and introduce back into our colony of hedgehogs, and they will be introduced back to the wild.
Most people are unaware of the hedgehog and what it does for us, many are also unaware they have hedgehogs unless they are out late at night and see or hear them in their gardens, so how can people help them.

Hedgehogs live in the country and in urban areas and they thrive on natural gardens with areas of grass, hedging, and multiple bushes as this is their natural habitat, so putting hedging or ground dwelling bushes into a garden is a good start. Next is food, a natural hedgehog diet consists of worms, slugs, snails, insects, snakes, and natural berries dropping off bushes in the garden, they also drink water from puddles and this is a good starting point to attracting hedgehogs. If you have hedgerows in your garden instead of fencing you can place a shallow bowl in the hedge bottom and replicate this diet by placing some meat based dog or cat food which has been chopped up into your dish, you can also use mealworm in moderate quantities, this will attract hedgehogs, if you have a lot of slugs you can catch them and place them into the bowl, the usual way is to make a stick with a needle in the end and pierce the slugs behind their head which kills them, and place them into your dish.
If you have naturally occuring bushes or plants with berries which drop you can collect those which have dropped and put them into your feed bowl; in addition you can add a small quantity of fruit such as water melon as many hedgehohs get a lot of their moisture from their food, but chop it finely; you can also add raw meat such as beef mince as this is already chopped to about the right size for hedgehogs and it saves their teeth.

What about cats, foxes, and other animals? its a good question, in such cases it is better to build a hedgehog hide and put your dish inside the hide, to construct a hide you need two tunnels large enough to accommodate a hedgehog with a central section in which to place your dish and you can use two bits of pipe for the tunnels and twigs to construct the central section which must be large enough to accommodate your dish, and for hedgehogs to turn around in. Cover your framing with natural materials such as leaves and small branches of hedge, remember to make your tunnels long enough to prevent cats putting their paws in and dragging food out.

Stop using pesticides on your garden helps, particularly slug pellets as these kill hedgehogs in large numbers as they are designed to be eaten and hedgehogs are wild animals, and a free meal is a free meal to them, similarly keep your garden clear of tubular objects such as disposable containers and toilet roll holders as many hedgehogs get their heads stuck in them, hedgehogs do play to learn and if you encourage playing then use toilet roll centres and cut them lengthways so hedgehogs cannot get their heads stuck inside them, and they can get out of them.

Hedgehogs are similar to human beings and get many of the same conditions as we do, heart disease, kidney disease, liver diseases, the list is similar to what we get, and avoiding sugary drinks in containers is a good way of promoting hedgehog health, similarly sticking to their naturally meat based diet with natural berries is a must as they do get diabetes.
Most hedgehogs die at the hands of man, most are run over by cars while those in the wild are killed by wearing out their teeth and they starve to death, avoiding teeth erosion is done by sticking to their natural diet and avoiding pesticides.

Baby hedgehogs do come out during the day to forage and hunt close to their hides, but generally you never see them during the day, if you see baby hedgehogs during the day and they are running around with their mother, it is natural and not a cause for concern, but if you see any baby or adult hedgehog during the day and it is stretching itself out in the sun it is sunbathing and this is a sure sign of dehydration and dehydration quickly leads to death, so an intervention is necessary. In many cases it will be babies or youngsters sunbathing as their mothers have been killed.
Hedgehogs can drop body temperature quickly and to intervene you must wear gloves as hedgehogs work on smell and a human smell on them is to be avoided, so always wear gloves when handling hedgehogs; place some rags into a cardboard box and fill a hot water bottle with HOT TAP WATER ONLY and place into the box on top of the rags and cover the hot water bottle with more rags so it is only warm to the touch. Never use boiling water in a hot water bottle. Raising the core temperature by as little as 2 degrees can be the difference between a hedgehog living or dying and it is only gentle heat which is required, add a little water to your box, a shallow jam jar lid or similar is fine as they dont require a lot of water, and add some natural food such as raw meat gives more moisture, and add a little chopped fruit with mainly water such as water melon is fine. Avoid sugary fruits such as pineapple, oranges, apples, or any of the fruit we eat.

Put a hedgehog run outside and remember they are nocturnal creatures, take them out after dark and put them into the run, id you can find some natural food then place it in the run and let them forage for it, this encourages their natural foraging instincts. I use a 12" high weldmesh placed in the bottom of some our hedge which is wired together with the wire facing the outside, it extends along the bottom of our hedge and out onto the lawn and incorporates several bushes and is pinned down with sticks. They get about 1.5 - 2 hours free running per night currently, and raw meat and natural food is dropped into the run at random, the raw meat attracts slugs and snails and this gives them more food to eat and learn to hunt.
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Re: Hedgehogs In Decline

Post by daveiron on Sat Jun 17, 2017 2:30 pm

We seem to be ok with the hedgehogs here. What i have been a bit alarmed about lately is I have yet to see a single butterfly this year & also flies, wasps & of course bees are conspicuous by their absence.

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Re: Hedgehogs In Decline

Post by landlubber on Sat Jun 17, 2017 3:32 pm

@daveiron wrote:We seem to be ok with the hedgehogs here. What i have been a bit alarmed about lately is I have yet to see a single butterfly this year & also flies, wasps & of course bees are conspicuous by their absence.

Really, Dave? I rely on the numbers of insects during my photographic forays into the countryside every week, finding no shortage of any insect except in the variety of butterflies. I saw a female common blue butterfly yesterday in an old quarry turned into a wildlife refuge and saw my first group of bee orchids this year. The early spring has obviously brought about a wealth of both insect and plant life this year. However, perhaps it is dependent upon the amount of chem spraying that's taken place and making ground-fall where you live? I cannot speak about hedgehogs simply because it is rare that I actually see them anywhere, although my garden is likely ideal for them if they can survive the ordeal of all the local moggies that live around here.

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Re: Hedgehogs In Decline

Post by daveiron on Sun Jun 18, 2017 8:54 am

Hi LL,

No not a single butterfly, Whilst i live a long way from you ( about 45 miles north of London) i live in a small village so i am not even urban. Apart from the Chemtrails, all of the farms in this area tend to be on the larger side & all appear to rely on spraying as the answer to everything (guardians of the countryside my ass )
Two farms in our village ,both farmers died of cancer ,both descendants carrying on as before.

Off out later ,bit foraging ,must admit have not been for a little while ,see what is about ,its awkward as the best i can do is try to get at least one hedge between where they spray.

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Re: Hedgehogs In Decline

Post by landlubber on Sun Jun 18, 2017 2:54 pm

Hi Dave,

Now I can see why you're having difficulty is spotting butterflies where you live. Here, we don't see any crop spraying, excepting for silage, but this doesn't count. No crops are grown to my knowledge in the Peak District and sheep have a tendency to crop the grass low, which helps to maintain a good cover of low growing flora which encourages a lot of moths and butterflies. Hillsides are also too steep for growing crops. The old disused railways now turned into walk and cycle ways make them ideal for wildlife and I can't get enough of them. Those farmers who grow crops are scarcely guardians of the countryside, more like guardians of their incomes and that means using any method to eradicate what they see as being weeds. I admit that many farmers who actually own their properties do all they can to protect the environment, but they are sadly few and far between. Those you mention that died of cancer sounds a whole lot of their own, but unknown doing, at the time. Well, I do hope that you're successful today as the weather is hot enough to bring out butterflies in their dozens. Good luck, Dave... Very Happy

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Re: Hedgehogs In Decline

Post by daveiron on Sun Jun 18, 2017 3:26 pm

Back again LL, Went out walking after my last post. Walked through the village sports field & & onto the first field .
After what i had just posted ,what were they doing in that field ? spraying the barley.
Saw a few butterflies but not the amount i should have considering all the headlands and hedgerows are in full bloom.
Distinct lack of pollinators one or two wild bees ,no hoverflies ,no honey bees.
On the up side on chemtrails.

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Re: Hedgehogs In Decline

Post by landlubber on Sun Jun 18, 2017 4:07 pm

Well, Dave, you had a partial success, which is what I'd term as being a good start. However, to me there is no doubt that crop spraying will certainly have a detrimental effect on all wildlife, including caterpillars and pupae of all flying insects. When I went out yesterday I also saw the larval stage of the tortoise beetle, which is rarely seen since it is a matter of disguise. It holds a lump of crud over its back and lifts it in a posture that appears to happens if it sees itself as being threatened. Here, once again, we found bumblebees, honey bees, bees of various types that still need to be identified, and hoverflies of an amazing number of sizes from a couple of mm's to the 1cm droneflies. I'm expecting the populations of all flying insects to reach high proportions in around the end of July, beginning of August as long as the weather holds. No Chemtrails these past few days, but about two weeks ago we had the heaviest number crisscrossing the skies in the widest bands that I've ever seen. Although I had a camera with me, I didn't photograph them since my bus was due any moment. However, judging by the stratospheric movement it wasn't going to come down on us here, but rather the east coast of England or possibly Belgium or Holland. On butterflies, I think that it is indeed fair to say that butterfly populations have decreased terribly here in the north west, but on the plus side Moths are not in decline as I see it. Very Happy

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Re: Hedgehogs In Decline

Post by assassin on Mon Jun 19, 2017 3:20 am

Let me throw a little light on this, under current conditions the farmers are dictated to by the EU currently, and they are given the financial incentive called subsidies, without subsidies no farmer can compete and survive, here is the first problem. Think back to the butter mountain and wine lake, did either of you see any butter or wine? I certainly didn't.

France have the bulk of the farming of prime crops and the UK has to get the dross which France don't want to grow, or are unable to grow in their conditions, take a look at milk for example, where is most of ours from? France of course as they grow what we term "essential crops" which are crops which everyone needs, it also stifles competition within the EU.

There is a current world food crisis in which we as a richer nation get a lot of world sourced feed because we need it to feed people's demands for food, and we can afford to buy it as a richer economy which means farmers are under pressure the world over to increase crop yields as they sell solely on weight to achieve subsidy targets. This has led to many companies offering new products to spray to increase crop yields and many look to their own back pockets by offering their own compatible ranges so a farmer is forced to use their products to meet increasingly stringent yield targets and a system they are locked into. Weight is everything, you can grow carrots to a supermarket specification but have you asked where these specifications come from? the farming chemical suppliers themselves as they give inflated opinions of what there product can deliver, but you are tied to that system based on an inflated opinion.

Much the same works in the pesticides industry, to get the yield you have to kill off virtually every pest and currently farmers are being forced onto chlorine based products which essentially kill everything, they kill all farming pests known to man and many other things such as owls and other birds, everything from bees to butterflies, and much of the flora and fauna not associated with the crop. Here is the real dilema, does a farmer reliant upon a subsidy buy a specific product known to kill everything and damage the environment, or does he go bust which is the real intention of the EU so they can form large farming conglomerates.
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