10/01/2018 at 6:05 pm #739
MAKING OUR GREEN SPACES HEDGEHOG FRIENDLY
Please see information message below from one of our B&HGSF Groups who are based in Hangleton (HK Hedgehogs). This group do some great work in creating the right environment for hedgehogs to thrive. Hopefully the information provided will be of interest to other B&HGSF groups and we can collectively help grow our small population of Hedgehogs.
We know that some of the city’s parks and green spaces are used by hedgehogs. Here in West Hove, where our group HK Hedgehogs is based, they are present in Knoll Park, and have been seen previously in Hangleton Park and on Nevill Sports Ground.
A lot of advice about gardening for hedgehogs is aimed at householders – a great source being http://www.hedgehogstreet.org – and this advice can be equally applied to our public green spaces. What is key is providing features that give hedgehogs places to nest and to forage for their invertebrate prey. These include: dense areas of shrubbery and hedging; corners left to grow wild; log, leaf and compost piles; and wildflower patches.
There is less advice targeted at park management specifically. But one project provides a fascinating insight into the needs of hedgehogs in our parks.
Since 2014, a team of scientists has been monitoring the resident hedgehogs of Regents Park in London. What the team has found is that in Regents Park, hedgehogs prefer to forage in short grassland within a mosaic of shrubberies and hedges. They tend to avoid large areas of very short grass with little cover. And they prefer to nest in areas of dense undergrowth such as brambles, ivy or hedges with dense vegetation at their base where they use fallen leaves and grass to build their expertly constructed nests.
This has led to the team making specific recommendations for managing the park, including letting grassland adjacent to hedges grow longer to provide a richer environment for hedgehog foraging and nesting, and cutting back areas of brambles to encourage them to grow thicker and denser – to provide good nesting habitats.
Sadly for the hedgehogs of Regents Park, surveys suggest that they are an isolated population, with no recorded sightings within a 1km radius of the park. And this is a problem facing hedgehogs everywhere. They travel up to 1 mile a night, and unfragmented, connected habitat is vital to helping them thrive – hence the call to householders everywhere to make 13cm square gaps in the boundaries between their gardens.
This need for connected habitat means that the first step in helping hedgehogs in our parks should be to find out if they are actually present, both within the park and in the surrounding streets.
Our group can loan footprint tunnels (food-baited triangular plastic tunnels that capture footprints using non-toxic ink and paper) for just this purpose. and would be delighted to hear from any interested ‘Friends Of’ groups.
- This topic was modified 3 months, 2 weeks ago by cliffmunn.
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