Hedgehog Sightings in Wash Common: The Big Hedgehog Map

The Big Hedgehog Map records all hedgehog sightings from members of the public from right across the UK, offering a fascinating insight into their distribution. The map below shows the general distribution of hedgehogs in the UK since 2015. The total sightings of hedgehogs today stands at 37, 473.

There are other studies that put the total estimate for the UK around 1 million as outlined in the fascinating Fact Sheet from PTES (People’s Trust for Endangered Species)

If we now zoom into the Wash Common area on the Big Hedgehog Map, we can see that records are a little sparse so it would be great to add more sightings locally. This will help to get a feel for their distribution in local gardens as well as contributing to the ongoing knowledge in the UK.

To record a sighting, just click on this link to the ‘Big Hedgehog Map‘ which is featured on the Hedgehog Street website and follow the simple instructions. The map also enables recording of any hedgehog holes created to connect gardens as well as any unfortunate hedgehogs that are seen dead.

It would also be great to share your sighting on the Neighbourhog Watch Twitter and Facebook feeds.

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Six Hoglets In One Garden

One of my neighbours brought around a very small, underweight hedgehog which was found during the day in their garden. Any hedgehog out in daylight will be in trouble and in need of urgent help. I took the hedgehog in and sadly it did not survive the night ahead of taking it to the vets. It was a 2018 young hedgehog and so I checked each night to see if there were any other young hedgehogs as a female can have a litter of up to six.  

I spotted one small hedgehog and then to my surprise a further two at the other end of the garden. I decided to check them over and weigh them. They weighed in at 270, 274 and 314 grams, which is too small for this time of year. On the advice of Gill at Hedgehog Bottom, I took them in to care for them.

The next night I found another young hedgehog weighing 377 grams and 5 nights later a fifth young hedgehog weighing 280 grams. All of the hedgehogs had diarrhoea which could be as a result of something they have eaten (They must not drink milk) or infection.

I provided them with their own high sided box, newspaper for bedding, water and food. I have limited interaction with them whilst cleaning them out twice a day. The good news is that they are all doing really well with most weighing over 500 grams and no longer have diarrhoea.

I am hoping to release them very soon once they reach 600 grams and they will be searching for somewhere to hibernate.

A Tale of Two Hoglets

We have been watching hedgehogs in the garden since moving to our present property about four years ago. We were even lucky enough to see up to four in one evening on one occasion. In spite of this, we never saw any young hedgehogs (hoglets) until last summer. Here they are with the mother, captured on a trail camera in August 2017.

We saw all three periodically as they came to eat the food we put out. Over Christmas we noticed one of the hoglets struggling to walk so bought it in for inspection. One of its feet looked infected and it had trouble moving. It also could not curl up into a ball, which you can see in the photo of the young male below. This one weighed just 330g.

We called our local rescue centre Hedgehog Bottom who arranged for us to take it to the local Falkland Veterinary Clinic. We got a call later in the evening saying they found a deep scar across its belly, most likely from a strimmer earlier in the year, along with nerve and muscle damage. The injuries were too extensive and it had to be put to sleep.

We then found the other hoglet wandering in the garden, also a male, and bought him in to check his weight on 5th January 2018. He weighed 447g, bigger and stronger than his sibling but under the borderline guide of  600g needed to ensure winter survival. Here he is below.

We have been been providing food and water for him since and his weight has increased to about 530g. There was a period where he stopped eating so again we contacted Hedgehog Bottom for advice and it appears that a few youngsters become inactive even if they are warm, as if they know they should be hibernating.

We continue to care for him and hope to release him in the Spring of 2018.

About Neighbourhog Watch

Neighbourhog Watch aims to maintain and where possible increase, our hedgehog numbers by creating a wonderfully connected stretch of hedgehog friendly gardens in Wash Common where they  can roam, live, feed and remain safe.

Hedgehog numbers have declined and it is estimated there are now less than a million in Britain today.

Overall, how are we going to help hedgehogs?

  • Create a mini-landscape by connecting defined blocks of neighbouring gardens.
  • Encourage those gardens to be hedgehog friendly by following 3 simple steps which will not cost you any money.

How To Help Hedgehogs

To help hedgehogs, the following 3 steps will encourage them into your garden:

Step 1: Link your garden by making a 13 x 13cm (5 inches square) gap in or under your fence or wall.

Step 2: Have a quiet undisturbed corner in your garden.

Step 3: Ground level fresh water especially during hot weather.

There are also other steps you can take to help hedgehogs:

  • Create a log pile to provide a safe, secure site for breeding or hibernating and providing a year round food supply for hedgehogs..
  • Make a Hedgehog home.
  • Make ponds safe (stone or wooden ramp for easy access as hedgehogs do swim, however need a gradual gradient for access)
  • Ensure no netting or litter.
  • Check before gardening or construction work, strimming and lighting bonfires.
  • Stop using chemicals.
  • Put out food (hedgehog food or cat biscuits).

You can also become a Hedgehog Champion by registering with Hedgehog Street.

Our Local Story

We live in the Wash Common area of Newbury, Berkshire and noticed one evening two hedgehogs visiting our garden. We started to put food and water out and have created 2 hedgehog homes, which have been occupied during the past 2 winters. We have a garden hedgerow which enables the hedgehogs to move freely between neighbouring gardens and have secretly observed the hedgehogs visiting our garden at night.

It has been publicised through the media and programmes like ‘Hedgehog Hotel’ that the number of hedgehogs are declining dramatically. We want to help hedgehogs in the Wash Common area by raising the profile of hedgehogs to see if we can increase their numbers in this part of Newbury and in time beyond the Wash Common area.

On the 15 August 2016 we visited Hedgehog Bottom (Hedgehog Hospital) with a sick hedgehog, which sadly did not survive. As part of our visit we released into our garden a hedgehog which had been cared for by Hedgehog Bottom to join the existing hedgehogs living in our area. We continue to monitor the number of hedgehogs and recent counts (August 2017) have identified 5 visiting our garden.

Hopefully, if Wash Common can become a hedgehog friendly area, it could become a future release site for rescued hedgehogs needing a safe release site.

You can record sightings of hedgehogs on ‘The Big Hedgehog Map‘.

Organisations Helping Hogs

Hedgehog Street – Is all about people, gardens and wildlife; People love gardens, People love hedgehogs, Hedgehogs love gardens – they need to access to lots of gardens to survive.

Hedgehog Bottom – Hedgehog Bottom (Hedgehog Hospital) is a ‘Small non-profit Charity’ based in Thatcham that cares for sick, injured or orphaned hedgehogs.

British Hedgehog Preservation Society (BHPS) – the Society offers help and advice to those with sick, injured or orphaned hedgehogs and maintains a list of rehabilitators in the UK.

RSPB – Make a home for wildlife. From bees to birds, bats to butterflies and hedgehogs, nature needs our help. Create an easy-to-follow personal plan for nature and help give nature a home.

The Wildlife Trust – There are 47 Wildlife Trusts whose primary concern is the conservation of nature within its own geographical area.

People’s Trust for Endangered Species (PTES) – Protects wildlife in Britain and around the world by bringing our most threatened species back from the brink of extinction.