Twin sisters in Birchington are creating a hedgehog highway with help from their mum and the neighbours.
Birchington primary pupils Alice and Isabel Mitchell received leaflets from Hedgehog Street explaining how to make the highway and other ways to help the prickly mammals.
The eight-year-olds have been researching hedgehogs since their first visitor – who they named Hamish – last year.
Mum Sarah said: “Hamish appeared in the garden last year in daylight and made a lovely little home. We were really sad as he died in the winter. We didn’t know about over-wintering and how if they are too small they won’t survive.
“Now we have built a house and those that are too small are brought inside in a hutch.
“We have rescued four but they were really poorly. One that made it was Holly and she was released into the wild and still comes back. Another one was Yasmin, we name them all as we have now got involved in rescuing them.”
The sisters are embarking on the Hedgehog Highway, which means the animals can travel from one garden to the next.
Sarah said: “The neighbours have been quite keen and are trying to help.”
The family has received help from Hedgehog Rescue Deal and Sarah’s brother-in-law and wildlife expert Nik Mitchell.
Here Nik explains how people can get involved with helping their little garden visitors:
The Hedgehog is Britain’s favourite mammal Yet there are perhaps just a million left, representing a 97% fall from the 30m estimated to have roamed in the 1950s.
Alice and Isabel, are very lucky to have hedgehogs visit their home and they decided to approach their neighbours and ask them to help the endangered nocturnal mammals too.
For hedgehogs one garden just isn’t enough. That’s why you need to convince your neighbours to care about hedgehogs as much as you do.
Every night Hedgehogs ‘do the rounds’ they will walk up to two miles a night and visit several gardens within an area. Many hedgehogs can visit the same garden in a night, which often means ‘your hedgehog’ is actually a number of different individuals.
Most neighbourhoods are like high-sided boxes surrounded by fences and walls, this prevents hedgehogs from travelling between gardens and with people paving over their gardens this reduces food and shelter and forces hedgehogs onto roads to get to the next patch of green space.
Alice and Isabel got leaflets from www.hedgehogstreet.org. The leaflets explain the many ways you can help hedgehogs and importantly how to make a hedgehog highway like they have -make a small hole in your fence or gate 13cm square.
The girls love hedgehogs and are very aware of just how lucky they are to have the gardeners’ best friends visit their home.
Getting the neighbours involved is a great way to help our wildlife, what the girls have done during their lockdown is inspirational and will really help.
10 ways to help hedgehogs
1. Create access holes.
2. Plant a hedge.
3. Make ponds safe.
4. Check before strimming.
5. Avoid using slug pellets.
6. Make a hedgehog house.
7. Leave out extra food.
8. Grow native plants.
9. Retain twigs and leaves.
10. Check bonfires.
Get more hedgehog advice from www.hedgehogstreet.org