Saturday, 10 August 2013 08:14

Herbert the Hedgehog Featured

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Gardening Diary 9th August 2013

In the middle of the afternoon I spotted a small hedgehog snuffling through the grass in the main garden. This daytime appearance is unusual for such a nocturnal animal, and could be a result of the relatively dry weather that we have experienced for that past six weeks. One of the main food sources of the hedgehog is worms, and at present these are hiding deep down in the soil.

Hedgehogs are seen by scientists as an indicator species, with their presence indicating a healthy landscape with lots of insects. Useful to the gardener they devour slugs and other pests, but of course we would prefer to keep the worms. Unfortunately hedgehogs are also a disappearing species. In the UK the population has reportedly declined from around 30 million in the 1950's to maybe only 1 million at present. The reasons are probably several, including the usual culprits pesticides and mechanical cultivation devices. The increasing population of natural predators such as foxes and badgers is also cited as a probable reason. In addition, increased use of solid fences and decking in gardens is thought to restrict the territories of hedgehogs foraging for food.

We are hoping that today's visitor will choose to stay with us, and that Herbert find sufficient shelter and food in the wilder areas of our garden.

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