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Help support Hedgehogs!

Help save hedgehogs. That’s the message from Petstown, the pet shop in Bath Road, in conjunction with the British Hedgehog Preservation Society (PHPS).

Petstown is celebrating Hedgehog Awareness Week with a 10% discount on all hedgehog food. The week, which runs from 6th to 12th May, is organised by the BHPS and aims to highlight the problems hedgehogs face and how we can do our bit to help them.

To donate, you can text HHOG18 £5 to 70070 to donate £5 to BHPS. (You can change amount to £1, £2, £3, £4, or £10 donate those amounts). You can also find their JustGiving Appeal page at www.just giving.com/campaigns /charity/bhps/ haw18.

Help preserve British hedgehogs and visit Petstown in Melksham for discounts on hedgehog food. For more information contact the store on 707131 or visit www.britishhedgehogs.org.uk

Guide to helping hedgehogs

1. Avoid using pesticides and slug pellets in your garden. Not only can these harm hedgehogs, but also damage their food chain. Use organic methods instead.

2. Make sure hedgehogs have easy access to your garden. Ensure boundary fences or walls have a 13cm x 13cm gap in the bottom to allow hedgehogs to pass through. Keep a corner of your garden wild to offer shelter, protection and natural food for hedgehogs and other wildlife. Encourage hedgehogs into your garden but you should never just move one in from another area, as it may well have a nest of dependent young that you would be condemning to death.

3. Provide a shallow dish of fresh water for all wildlife, and food such as hedgehog food, meaty cat or dog food or cat biscuits for hedgehogs, especially during long dry spells,

4. Make or buy a hedgehog home, this offers a hibernation site safe from predators in the winter. It may also be used as a nesting box for a mother and her hoglets in the warmer months. The British Hedgehog Preservation Society can provide a leaflet on building a hedgehog home and sells one in its shop (see www.british hedgehogs.org.uk).

5. Check areas thoroughly for hedgehogs and other wildlife before strimming or mowing. Keep pea netting 22-30cms (9 – 12″) off the ground so hedgehogs can pass under and plants will grow to the netting.

6. Dispose of liner responsibly. Every year hedgehogs are injured by liner and starve to death by getting trapped in discarded rubbish.

7. Bonfires offer a tempting home for a hedgehog. Ideally collected materials should be re-sited just before the fire is to be lit; if this is not possible, the base should be lifted up with poles or broom handles (not a fork!) and a torch shone in to look for any wildlife or pets in need of rescue before lighting.

8. Hedgehogs are good swimmers but can become trapped in ponds or pools with sheer sides. Keep water levels topped up, provide a gently sloping edge if possible or place half submerged rocks in the water as an escape for them.

9. Cattle grids can be a problem, as hedgehogs fall in and become trapped. a simple ramp placed in the grid will save lives. The surface should be rough to enable the escapee to gain a foothold.

10. Finally, take care on the roads, hedgehogs are nocturnal so are often seen out at night. A hedgehog’s natural defence mechanism is to roll into a ball – this is no match for a motor vehicle.

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