In the past, the hedgehog belonged among widespread European creatures inhabiting the wild and cities. However, the European Hedgehog has almost disappeared in many regions. A significant decrease in hedgehogs has been recorded mainly in the United Kingdom and other European countries.
Why do hedgehogs disappear?
European Hedgehogs are increasingly threatened by losing their natural habitats, which are gradually being occupied by constructing houses or expanding fields. Moreover, their numbers also decrease due to the use of pesticides that destroy their food sources. European Hedgehogs need free movement; however, their paths are often closed off by impenetrable fences and overly clean and well-kept gardens where they cannot graze. Hedgehogs love hedges and shrubs, where they find refuge. Increasingly, they are also targeted by an increasing number of predators, especially foxes and badgers. However, the biggest enemies of European Hedgehogs are cars; busy roads have become hedgehogs’ graveyards as they are most frequently killed there.
What to do if you find an injured hedgehog?
Never take a healthy hedgehog home. If you remove an animal from its natural habitat, you would only expose it to stress. However, if you come across an injured hedgehog or an abandoned hedgehog cub, your timely help may save their lives. Contact a rescue station as soon as possible. If you find a hedgehog cub outside the nest, check to see if there are other cubs nearby. Offer a bowl of water and food to injured hedgehogs or older cubs. Never give milk to hedgehogs. Milk kills them due to lactose deficits. Only water. Remember that hedgehogs are insectivores; they feed on insects and small vertebrates. Therefore, offer them dry cat food or meat cut into tiny pieces or mixed with pasta. Always consult an expert because hedgehogs can be full of various parasites.
It is vital to address the topic of the declining population of European Hedgehogs; otherwise, they may gradually disappear in many regions.