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Hedgehogs in Stocksbridge

Home Forums Hedgehog signs and sightings Hedgehogs in Stocksbridge

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    Hello – we have seen a least 4 hedgehogs since March 2021. Even whilst it has been cold and snowing here (lightly) they are still around. Two large hedgehogs and 2 other slightly smaller. It is great to see them again in the garden. I have one problem – during the winter + Covid restrictions we seem to have seen quite a few rats between gardens which has not been a problem before – no hedgehogs about – what is the issue with feeding the hedgehogs with rats around. A neighbour knows we supplement the hedgehogs food and has asked both neighbours on either side of them to refrain from feeding the hedgehogs. Can someone please advise? We had no infestation of rats until this time?

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    Hi Jennifer

    The worry is that your neighbours may be using poison or traps to kill the rats which the hogs may be able to access. They should be aware that hedgehogs are protected by law:

    Quote from faqs on BHPS site: “The species listed [which includes hedgehogs] are also protected from the following activities: trap, snare or net, electrical device for killing or stunning, poisonous, poisoned or stupefying substances or any other gas or smoke, automatic or semi-automatic weapon ….”,

    So that anyone using poison or traps to catch rats is under an obligation to ensure that no hedgehogs are caught or killed as a result. So that traps should only be set and poison laid, in places which hogs cannot access. As we know hogs can squeeze through surprisingly small gaps and can climb better than many people imagine. So that great care needs to be taken as to where any of those things are sited.

    In my experience it is normally people feeding the birds that initially attracts the rats (to the food that is spilt from bird tables) then if they find some hog food, that is a bonus to them. So if you feed the birds, that may be something you could do something about. If the rats are not finding any food, there is no reason for them to visit. It may be that more people have begun to feed the birds during the Covid restrictions which may have attracted the rats.

    Theoretically, you could have a certain time each night when you feed the hogs, under supervision. Rats tend to be much more sensitive to noise and movement than hogs are, so it is often possible to scare the rat away without the hog noticing too much. That way you could make sure that the rats don’t get any of the hog food and they may give up if they realise they are wasting their time. Rats are thought to be less interested in wet cat/dog food.

    Then if you also remove areas where the rats can shelter, that can help – i.e. remove anything movable that they can hide behind, fill in any bolt holes, etc.

    I believe that local authorities have some legal authority with regard to rats and are able to serve notice on an owner or occupier requiring them to take steps to deal with rat problems. I have read “ It is not a legal requirement to have a pest control contract BUT it is a legal requirement that you manage pest control” The way I see it that means taking steps to minimise the problem, which you would be doing if you did as above, but you may need to clarify the position your own local Council take.

    Good luck. I hope you manage to reach some sort of solution.


    Hi Nic

    Thank you for your reply to my post.

    As you could see from my post my main concern is the hedgehogs.
    We have had them visiting for 30 years or more in between a spell of not seeing them at all. Thankfully they reappeared several years ago

    We have had large ones small ones and provided housing for them with hedgehog boxes but that was not a success!!. We have a empty field adjacent to all our gardens so they may be nesting there.

    The rat problem come to light over this winter during Covid even we were surprised by the little ratties as they were never seen before.

    My method of getting rid of the rats has been take down at night all hanging bird feeders as they were climbing on bushes to get to them. Then I have sprayed a concoction of vinegar – bleach – lemon and sprayed around sheds and stone walls where they were seen also putting cotton wool balls with peppermint oil on underneath sheds. Plus onion with baking powder over it. It seems heartless but we too use our garden for family gatherings with our grandchildren as neighbours do with their grandchildren. Of late they seem to have dispersed – found one large rat dead then another small one dead also.

    My other concern is that is the rats are baited boxed not just hedgehogs can be killed if contact with the bait but also other neighbours cats who come into our gardens hunting mice and rats!!

    Thank you again for the advice and hopefully with us all aware of the rat problem we can unite and get them to move on!!

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