Homes & Interiors
by Aspect County

Giving hedgehogs a helpful hole…

I think you must have been completely out of circulation recently, not to have heard about the plight of the humble hedgehog. These appealing little chaps, who are commonly considered the gardeners friend because they feed on some of the pests in the garden, have suffered a severe decline in numbers. The current population is estimated to be around 25% down in the last decade, which may mean there is only a million or so left. 

This may be caused by a reduction in their natural habitat, the countryside. This means that more of them are resorting to living in towns, where unfortunately a whole raft of new threats exists. The most obvious is getting run over by vehicles – possibly 50,000 come to grief on roads. We all know that the hedgehogs first defence mechanism is to curl up, so they present a prickly ball, not many predators will find an attractive proposition. Sadly this doesn‘t work in any way to deter cars, they just squash them!

The new hedgehog friendly gravelboard from Jacksons will help our prickly friends to roam from garden to garden and forage more easily, keeping off the roads. Find full details on these and all our 25 year Jakure guaranteed timber products by going to your dedicated page www​.jack​sons​-fenc​ing​.co​.uk/​a​s​h​f​o​r​d​local

The list of bad stuff that can happen to hedgies (as I like to call them) is lengthy: many drown in garden ponds because we dont think of putting something in there to help any hapless creatures climb out. They are also poisoned by careless gardeners who still haven‘t cottoned on to the fact that slugs eat slug pellets, slugs are then eaten by hedgehogs, then hedgehogs die a very nasty death from poison! 

The list continues with getting trapped in netting, which can result in horrific injuries when they try to escape, being burnt in bonfires that seem to be a nice place to make home, until it is set on fire, and apparently strimming accidents are fairly common too.

So what can we do to help? We can avoid leaving netting around for them to get caught in, also check carefully before strimming that there aren‘t any animals that will get hurt when you let rip with the machine, and check the bonfire hasn‘t become a hedgie hotel. If you have to use slug pellets, please find a wildlife friendly version that isn‘t going to harm any animals. 

If you are of a kind nature you could try feeding them a little cat food and don‘t forget the water.

Hedgehogs used to be able to move much more freely between gardens, finding a variety of locations to feed and make a home. Nowadays we are all a lot keener on fencing in our properties, and sturdy gravelboards at the bottom of fence panels probably have put an abrupt stop to many an established hedgie run. 

Here at Jacksons we‘ve tried to find a way to help our spiky friends, wehave created the hedgehog friendly gravelboard. It is the same as a normal gravelboard, but it has a hole at one end, large enough to allow them free passage, with a reinforcing strip along the top of the board to ensure it isn1t weakened by the hole. 

It may seem a small and simple move on our part to try to redress the balance. We know there will probably only be a small percentage of our customers that will opt for installing one of these boards in their fence run, but it will give us, as a company, the chance to talk about the hedgehog decline to our customers and anyone else who will listen. The sincere hope is that it will help to make a difference.

One last word to the dissenters, who immediately shout out that having a hole in the gravelboard will encourage rats. My response is, if you‘ve got rats, a gravelboard will not deter them. They are prolific climbers and they have a special squishy skeleton (there is a scientific name for this, but I refuse to look it up!) the flexibility of their bone structure allows them to squeeze through unfeasibly sized cracks, so a gravelboard wont put them off, they will simply climb over the fence, or burrow under! 

Special thanks to all at www​.lord​whisky​.co​.uk for their help with the hedgehog photo shoot.For info on any of Jacksons products or brochures please call 0800 408 4754 to talk to your local Jacksons Fencing Centre.

Win £300 of Jacksons vouchers
To enter the free prize draw and be in with a chance to win £300 of Jacksons vouchers simply log on to your dedicated page, address below and follow the easy instructions on how to enter. The draw closes 29.2.16. To enter go to: www​.jack​sons​-fenc​ing​.co​.uk/​a​s​h​f​o​r​d​local