Danger for Hedghogs
owners who are also gardeners sometimes find themselves in a quandary.
If you own a dog and he is in the habit of using the lawn as a
toilet, you learn to use a "pooper scooper". But when smaller
pests start to threaten your garden, what do you do? Most slugs
and snails find bedding plants very tasty indeed but many pet
owners don't like killing them with pellets because thay can harm
Many people scoop them up and put them into a nearby field. But
make sure this is a considerable distance away, otherwise they
will all creep back. The larger brown snails live for up to 16
years and are very territorial. If you put them even 100 metres
away, they will be home in a few days.
Slugs and snails may seem pests to us, but to creatures
such as thrushes, blackbirds and hedges, they are food.
Hedgehogs thrive on them so, when buzzing about with your lawnmower,
watch out for the Iittle prickly creatures fast asleep among the
Andy and Gay Christie, at Hessilhead Wildlife Rescue Centre, near
Beith, have to deal with dozens of hedgehogs injured in this way
every year, so do try be careful.
I have a hedgehog who visits my garden every evening and
I am now feeding him and leaving fresh water for him. However,
I am sure he has lots of fleas as every few feet he stops and
scratches vigorously. Other than that he seems perfectly fit and
well and is gaining weight already.
Could you please recommend anything for killing the fleas (i.e.
dog/cat flea killer), so that his life is more comfortable.
I checked with Andy and Gay Christie at the Hessilhead Wildlife
Rescue Trust (who look after dozens of hedgehogs each year) (01505
502415), and they recommended a Pyrethane based flea powder (as
we would use too). If you see any ticks, then your vet will recommend
an Ivormec tick powder.
Western Isles Plague of Hedgehogs
In the Western Isles, specifically on Uist and Benbecula they
face a plague of hedgehogs.
At the beginning of October 2000, conservation bodies launched
a £300,000 project which will ultimately lead to the removal of
an introduced and alien species – the hedgehog - widely
blamed for a catastrophic decline in the number of defenceless,
ground-nesting birds whose eggs hedgehogs love to eat.
remember when the first hedgehogs were introduced to the Western
Isles in 1974 as part of the school education project, before
later being kept as pets and garden slug killers. Needless to
say the soon escaped and, finding conditions to their liking,
now number an estimated 10,000.
Beliefs of Hedgehogs
In "Northern Notes and Queries or The Scottish Antiquary, Vol
2 p. 46, 1888." there are details of payments being made in
the Parish of Hartishorne, Derbyshire to people killing hedgehogs,
or urchins as they were also known as. This because there
was "a popular delusion that these harmless animals sucked
the cows as they lay out in the fields".
The ancient Romany name for hedgehogs is hotchi-witchi,
and one of their beliefs was that cows never lie down if there
are hedgehogs around for fear that the hedgehogs will drink from
the cows udders leaving the cow dry.