Accessibility Homepage Skip navigation Sitemap

Forum

Register and log in to gain access to our forums and chat about everything 'hedgehog'!

Thank you for looking to contribute to the Hedgehog Street forum. Please note that when submitting replies or posts, these are run through our spam-checkers, so there may be a slight delay in your posts appearing, and reflecting in the forum post details below. However, if you think anything has gone awry please contact us.

The views and opinions expressed in this forum do not necessarily represent the views of PTES or BHPS.

Advice needed on setting up a Hog Sanctuary

Home Forums Champions’ chat Advice needed on setting up a Hog Sanctuary

Viewing 10 posts - 1 through 10 (of 10 total)
  • Author
    Posts
  • #20715

    I am a new member to this forum and a volunteer working for group which has been given responsibility for creating a wildlife haven in a 5 acre clearing in the middle of a 2000 acre commercial pine woodland. Until last year, the clearing was used for rearing pheasants and the old remaining sheds are in the process of being removed. The ground cover is now mainly long grass and self-seeded saplings and thicket.

    One of the ideas which is being considered by members of the group is to create a sanctuary for the protection of hedgehogs, and perhaps to breed them so as to help re-establish them in other parts of the country where their population is in crisis. The clearing is over a mile from the nearest road, so the hedgehogs will be at little risk from cars.

    However, no one has yet seen a hedgehog since we’ve had access (6 months ago) and we’ve spent many weekends clearing paths and carefully removing the wire enclosures which previously covered much of the site. There are many pheasants still nesting around the clearing and there is plenty of evidence of rabbits.

    It would be very helpful if members could give us their thoughts on the following questions:

    Does anyone breed hedgehogs in the UK to help increase their population in the wild?

    Are there any expert “hedgehog hunters” who could definitely confirm whether or not hedgehogs are currently living in the clearing, or in the surrounding pine woodland?

    If there are no hedgehogs currently living in the vicinity, how do we go about introducing them from elsewhere?

    Any advice would be much appreciated….

    #20724

    Hi Paul,

    I’m going to give you your first reply on this – I have no doubt however- that there are people very much better furnished with the details and knowledge than I, that will contribute before too long also. We need a Hugh Warwick input here…….
    Hedgehogs are protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 – which probably doesnt go far enough for these poor creatures really – but it does restrict the capture, captive breeding and any rerelease of them under the circumstances you describe above.
    In summary – it would be considered illegal and would get you into trouble.
    Added to this – there is also more recent guidance provided by BHPS on suitable habitat for hogs – and it advises to avoid habitat where there is no evidence of hogs already as there is usually a good reason for it (predators, disease and or food source restrictions). If a habitat were suitable for hogs, they would already be there to some extent.
    Having said all the above – you may have identified an option that a respected hog expert could survey and confirm or not whether you could be a potential release site for local hog hospitals who cannot return their hogs to the locations they originated from (for whatever reason). Which could then also provide a monitoring opportunity on a developing hog community.

    #20727

    Nic

    You may get this reply multiple times (due to a problem with the Forum at the moment)

    Hi Paul

    It sounds as if you have a lovely opportunity to create a wildlife haven there. Although not necessarily particularly for hedgehogs.

    My feeling is that if you create a haven and there are hedgehogs around they will visit it, or even possibly move in. Although it sounds a bit unlikely, to me, that you would find a colony of hedgehogs in the middle of a commercial pine woodland, but I might be wrong.

    You can find out whether any hedgehogs are present, by either setting up camera traps or use footprint tunnels **
    You would not be so likely to see hedgehogs at this time of year, as most are hibernating.

    It may be useful to set up camera traps, anyway, to see what other wildlife visits the area. i.e. are there foxes, badgers, deer, around. You don’t say whereabouts in the country you are, but is there a possibility of red squirrels or pine martens. If so maybe you could improve the habitat for their benefit. Also flora, insects, (butterflies, etc.) Lots of exciting possibilities. Improving the habitat and diversity can benefit all sorts of different wildlife.

    But to clarify, if you want hedgehogs in an area, the best thing to do is to make the area more hedgehog friendly and if any are around they would move in. If there are no hedgehogs in the area, there may a reason for that, i.e. that the habitat is not suitable for them, or there is not sufficient suitable habitat for them.

    Hedgehogs can travel up to 2 miles a night so even though 5 acres sounds a lot, it really isn’t in terms of hedgehogs. So that if a colony was introduced there (which may not be a good idea for several different reasons) it sounds to me as if it may be isolated.

    I am pretty sure that no-one breeds wild european hedgehogs. It would not be appropriate, again, for many reasons. Also hedgehogs are better off staying in their home ranges, where populations may build up resistances to various infections, parasites, etc. For that reason, even if a hedgehog has been rescued for some reason it is recommended that it returns to where it was found, or as near to that as possible.

    Hopefully that pretty much covers all your questions.

    In conclusion, whilst I really admire your wish to help the hedgehogs, it sounds to me as if it would be better just to make a really nice wildlife area, for wildlife in general and forget about the specific hedgehog angle. Then if any hedgehogs did make their way there, that would be a lovely bonus. It would be interesting to know if any hedgehogs do turn up. Sorry if this may not have been quite the answers you were hoping for. But on behalf of the hedgehogs (who aren’t best known for their gratefulness!) thank you for thinking of them and for caring. Hopefully you will find other ways you can help them. Not least in your own gardens.

    Good luck. I hope your wildlife haven turns out to be a great success, one way or another.

    #20729

    Nic

    ** Apologies that I can’t put on the links at the moment for footprint tunnels and other ways to see if hogs are present. But if you go to Help Hedgehogs (at the top of this page), then – Frequently asked questions. You will find information in that list.

    #20825

    Nic and Jan-Marie

    Many thanks for your very comprehensive advice. Point taken about the legality of the re-releasing idea.

    The footprint tunnels could really work as there is a perimeter fence and the likelihood that the hogs use gaps which have not been repaired in recent years.

    Failing that, I fully take the point that we probably need a professional ecologist to survey the area for deer and badgers as well.

    Many thanks – I will update the forum when we get some news to share!

    #20826

    Nic

    Hi Paul

    You don’t really need a professional ecologist to find out whether there are deer, badgers, etc. there. A few judiciously located camera traps should find out fairly easily. I appreciate that they aren’t always the cheapest, but probably much easier than finding a qualified ecologist to check for you, and they may very well suggest the same thing anyway. Camera traps are also very rewarding and something which I imagine your group would find interesting as well as being a good way of enlisting more support. But they will also help to monitor, ongoing, what is happening at night, when you can’t be there.

    I recently purchased a new night cam from Naturespy Shop https://shop.naturespy.org/ A non-profit organisation. I found them very helpful (spoke to them on the phone) and was very impressed by their helpfulness and prompt service. Even though I rang in the afternoon, the camera arrived next morning – in the week before Christmas!

    Good luck

    #20730

    Nic
    #20728

    Nic

    **

    Footprint tunnels


    Other ways of telling whether there are hedgehogs around: https://www.hedgehogstreet.org/how-do-i-know-if-i-have-hedgehogs/

    #20726

    Nic

    You might get this reply twice, or more, the Forum is misbehaving at the moment, but:

    Hi Paul

    It sounds as if you have a lovely opportunity to create a wildlife haven there. Although not necessarily particularly for hedgehogs.

    My feeling is that if you create a haven and there are hedgehogs around they will visit it, or even possibly move in. Although it sounds a bit unlikely, to me, that you would find a colony of hedgehogs in the middle of a commercial pine woodland, but I might be wrong.

    You can find out whether any hedgehogs are present, by either setting up camera traps or use footprint tunnels https://www.hedgehogstreet.org/footprint-tunnels/
    Other ways of telling whether there are hedgehogs around: https://www.hedgehogstreet.org/how-do-i-know-if-i-have-hedgehogs/
    You would not be so likely to see hedgehogs at this time of year, as most are hibernating.

    It may be useful to set up camera traps, anyway, to see what other wildlife visits the area. i.e. are there foxes, badgers, deer, around. You don’t say whereabouts in the country you are, but is there a possibility of red squirrels or pine martens. If so maybe you could improve the habitat for their benefit. Also flora, insects, (butterflies, etc.) Lots of exciting possibilities. Improving the habitat and diversity can benefit all sorts of different wildlife.

    But to clarify, if you want hedgehogs in an area, the best thing to do is to make the area more hedgehog friendly and if any are around they would move in. If there are no hedgehogs in the area, there may a reason for that, i.e. that the habitat is not suitable for them, or there is not sufficient suitable habitat for them.

    Hedgehogs can travel up to 2 miles a night so even though 5 acres sounds a lot, it really isn’t in terms of hedgehogs. So that if a colony was introduced there (which may not be a good idea for several different reasons) it sounds to me as if it may be isolated.

    I am pretty sure that no-one breeds wild european hedgehogs. It would not be appropriate, again, for many reasons. Also hedgehogs are better off staying in their home ranges, where populations may build up resistances to various infections, parasites, etc. For that reason, even if a hedgehog has been rescued for some reason it is recommended that it returns to where it was found, or as near to that as possible.

    Hopefully that pretty much covers all your questions.

    In conclusion, whilst I really admire your wish to help the hedgehogs, it sounds to me as if it would be better just to make a really nice wildlife area, for wildlife in general and forget about the specific hedgehog angle. Then if any hedgehogs did make their way there, that would be a lovely bonus. It would be interesting to know if any hedgehogs do turn up. Sorry if this may not have been quite the answers you were hoping for. But on behalf of the hedgehogs (who aren’t best known for their gratefulness!) thank you for thinking of them and for caring. Hopefully you will find other ways you can help them. Not least in your own gardens.

    Good luck. I hope your wildlife haven turns out to be a great success, one way or another.

    #20725

    Nic

    Hi Paul

    It sounds as if you have a lovely opportunity to create a wildlife haven there. Although not necessarily particularly for hedgehogs.

    My feeling is that if you create a haven and there are hedgehogs around they will visit it, or even possibly move in. Although it sounds a bit unlikely, to me, that you would find a colony of hedgehogs in the middle of a commercial pine woodland, but I might be wrong.

    You can find out whether any hedgehogs are present, by either setting up camera traps or use footprint tunnels https://www.hedgehogstreet.org/footprint-tunnels/
    Other ways of telling whether there are hedgehogs around: https://www.hedgehogstreet.org/how-do-i-know-if-i-have-hedgehogs/
    You would not be so likely to see hedgehogs at this time of year, as most are hibernating.

    It may be useful to set up camera traps, anyway, to see what other wildlife visits the area. i.e. are there foxes, badgers, deer, around. You don’t say whereabouts in the country you are, but is there a possibility of red squirrels or pine martens. If so maybe you could improve the habitat for their benefit. Also flora, insects, (butterflies, etc.) Lots of exciting possibilities. Improving the habitat and diversity can benefit all sorts of different wildlife.

    But to clarify, if you want hedgehogs in an area, the best thing to do is to make the area more hedgehog friendly and if any are around they would move in. If there are no hedgehogs in the area, there may a reason for that, i.e. that the habitat is not suitable for them, or there is not sufficient suitable habitat for them.

    Hedgehogs can travel up to 2 miles a night so even though 5 acres sounds a lot, it really isn’t in terms of hedgehogs. So that if a colony was introduced there (which may not be a good idea for several different reasons) it sounds to me as if it may be isolated.

    I am pretty sure that no-one breeds wild european hedgehogs. It would not be appropriate, again, for many reasons. Also hedgehogs are better off staying in their home ranges, where populations may build up resistances to various infections, parasites, etc. For that reason, even if a hedgehog has been rescued for some reason it is recommended that it returns to where it was found, or as near to that as possible.

    Hopefully that pretty much covers all your questions.

    In conclusion, whilst I really admire your wish to help the hedgehogs, it sounds to me as if it would be better just to make a really nice wildlife area, for wildlife in general and forget about the specific hedgehog angle. Then if any hedgehogs did make their way there, that would be a lovely bonus. It would be interesting to know if any hedgehogs do turn up. Sorry if this may not have been quite the answers you were hoping for. But on behalf of the hedgehogs (who aren’t best known for their gratefulness!) thank you for thinking of them and for caring. Hopefully you will find other ways you can help them. Not least in your own gardens.

    Good luck. I hope your wildlife haven turns out to be a great success, one way or another.

Viewing 10 posts - 1 through 10 (of 10 total)

You must be logged in to reply to this topic.

Hedgehog