This week we were surprised by a snorting sound at our Field Study Center de Schelphoek. During a walk around the building, we came across a hedgehog (Erinaceus europaeus). The hedgehog was most likely looking for a place to hibernate.
You may expect the hedgehog to sleep through the winter, but this is not the case. Every now and then he wakes up and investigates, for example when his sleeping place is too cold or when there are still enough insects to be found (in warm winters). The hedgehog is a protected species. However, it is sometimes difficult for the animal to find the right place to sleep; think of snail venom, tiles or fences in the garden and a too warm winter.
There are a number of simple ways to give the hedgehog a helping hand:
- Use as few toxins as possible for pest control. You can possibly poison the hedgehog from the sprays;
- Do you have a pond? Make a shelf with mesh so that the hedgehog can get out of the water when it falls in (a hedgehog can swim well);
- The animal needs space, 1 backyard is not enough. Make sure he can walk to the neighbors (for example, an open area in the hedge or fence);
- Leave the hedgehog’s nest alone in winter. If he gets up earlier in the winter, he may starve because of the scarce food available;
- TIP: Place a hedgehog house in the garden (basket or old box) or make a house. Like this example from Natuurmonumenten, fun to do and good for nature!