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Such a sad situation. If the hedgehog carer has seen photographs of the injuries and thinks it’s best for the hog to be killed, then it seems that’s all you can do. Otherwise the hedgehog could die a slow horrible death. There would likely be infection as well.
Here, I more often hear of injuries to hedgehogs from strimmers or brush-cutters. I don’t think there are so many robo-mowers here, but probably numbers will increase and cause another hazard to hogs. Normally, with ordinary mowers, people would be more likely to see the hog, with the grass being already shorter, but strimmers, etc., used on long grass can cause terrible injuries. People are asked to check the area carefully before they use strimmers, or alternatively to strim to a height of about 20 – 30 cm first so that they can see any animals first, before strimming really low down. Not only hogs, but amphibians, reptiles, etc. are also injured/killed as a result of strimmers. Sadly, still many people do not bother to check first.
One of the hedgehogs from here is currently in a wildlife hospital as a result of a strimmer injury. A huge gash across the back of the neck. Some people may have thought the poor hog couldn’t be saved, but this hog was lucky that there is an amazing lady at the wildlife hospital, who has managed to get the wound to heal. I understand that, sadly, strimmer injuries are not unusual. Needless to say, I don’t use one myself.
But, you are right. Hedgehogs natural defence is to curl up rather than run, so that they are particularly vulnerable to injuries from garden machinery. It is possible that a wider and/or lower shield around the blade might help, but I imagine the limiting factor for the makers is how close they can get in to the edge. Possibly lower might help. I’m not familiar with robo-mowers. I had assumed they were designed for flat lawns, in which case it sounds as if a lower shield might help. But are they designed to go over humps? I can imagine that if the shield was low enough maybe the hog would roll along to some extent, as long as it didn’t hit an obstacle, if the mower wasn’t designed to go over humps.
I think maybe you need to contact the makers of these machines and have a discussion with them. Point out the dangers to wildlife and see if they can come up with some sort of solution. (maybe try to have a collection of images to show them, illustrating the damage garden machinery can do – your hedgehog carer contact may be able to help with that) From the manufacturers’ point of view I would have thought it would be a good selling point – if they had considered wildlife and made the machines so that they were less likely to injure or kill them. There must, surely, be some sort of sensors, so maybe the machines could be adapted to recognise and avoid wildlife. I’m not sure how ‘clever’ these things are. But, even if they included advice on how the machines were used and recommended checks were made before use, might help a bit.
It sounds as if, ideally, people would use the robo-mowers when they were around, so that they could check before use that there was no wildlife around. Perhaps a campaign of education is required. I suspect to many people, the danger to wildlife doesn’t enter their minds, unless it is pointed out.