Strimmers hurting our hedgehogs

Hedgehog by Amy Lewis

Gardeners are being asked to take care before strimming or mowing their patches in case they harm wildlife.

Hedgehogs, in particular, are vulnerable because they hide in long grass and foliage.

And your Lancashire Wildlife Trust is joining the region’s hedgehog rescue centres, in a call to gardeners to check the areas they are cutting for wild creatures.

Wildlife Trust Campaigns Manager Alan Wright was speaking from personal experience when he put out a heartfelt plea to strimmer users today.

Alan said: “I found a poorly hedgehog by the side of the road and had no idea what was wrong with the little fellow. I took advice and took him along to one of the team involved in the Preston Hedgehog Hospital.

“Apparently, he had an old strimmer injury which had become infected and there were maggots in the wound. The hospital couldn’t save him and he had to be put to sleep.

“I was devasted that this small bundle of life had probably been in pain for a large percentage of his short life, before he died.”

Preston Hedgehog Rescue deals with many cases of hedgehogs with strimmer injuries.

Strimmers are used in gardens and in parks and road verges to cut long grass and other plants.

Alan said: “The hedgehog would still be alive and would not have had to suffer if the person using the strimmer had taken just a couple of minutes to check on the area they were working.

“All it takes is a rustle around and make a lot of noise to frighten any creatures away. Maybe stop a couple of times to check an area before cutting.

“I am sure most gardeners would be really upset if they knew they had hurt one of the UK’s endangered and iconic mammals.”

Hedgehog numbers have fallen dramatically in recent years mainly because of the removal of hedgerows in the countryside and the increase in traffic and housing development in towns and cities.

The Wildlife Trust is keen to see the decline reversed and is promoting safe Hedgehog Highways between gardens and a Nature Recovery Network, proving natural corridors for wildlife across the whole of the UK.

If you find a hedgehog that is young, injured or out in the open, you should contact your local hedgehog hospital or the RSPCA.

There are hedgehog rescue centres in Preston, Blackpool, Chorley, Lowton, Withington and on The Wirral – they are mainly run by volunteers and need your support.

Alan said: “They offer fantastic advice and work tirelessly to help hedgehogs. Many of their hedgehogs survive and are released back into safe areas. The work these centres do is vitally important to the survival of this beautiful creature.

“It’s frightening to think that hedgehogs could become extinct in this country unless we do something about it.”

Hoglet at Chorley Hedgehog Rescue by Molly Toal

Hoglet at Chorley Hedgehog Rescue by Molly Toal