Winter is beginning to make its presence felt and the Hedgehogs and Habitats event that took place at Kelvingrove Art Gallery on Sunday 22 October, gave everyone a little reminder about looking after nature at this time of the year. Volunteer, Kyle Reid, tells us more. 

The event focussed on the loss and fragmentation of suitable hedgehog habitat, as well as issues such as the lack of good nesting sites. I think people, particularly the younger visitors, were very surprised to find out what they can do to help, even in their own back gardens. Many of them were unaware that hedgehogs are nocturnal animals, and will often seek shelter in gardens to hibernate for the winter.  

Sarah-Jayne from RSPB Glasgow and Jackie from Hessilhead Wildlife Rescue talked to the visitors about some of the issues affecting hedgehogs, which have seen a drastic decline in their numbers, with at least a quarter of the population lost in the last decade. Issues include: drowning, plastic pollution, increased threat of predation from badgers and a reduced amount of invertebrate food, such as slugs, which forms a key part of their diet.

Top tips for anyone keen to help hedgehogs are:

  • Make sure that you have gaps in fences or walls for them to move freely between gardens.
  • Give up on the garden work for a while and let some overgrowth, log piles or compost heaps gather in certain patches. Hedgehogs are always on the lookout for warm, cosy places to settle down during the winter months.
  • Avoid using pesticides, as these will reduce the amount of food around for the hedgehogs to eat. 

Despite being hectic, the event ran very smoothly, with small groups heading downstairs in the museum every 20 minutes to see the hedgehogs, while the crowds upstairs were kept entertained with a ‘seedbomb’ workshop. This involved making little hedgehogs out of clay and bits of bark, with a sprinkling of seeds rolled up inside to be put out in hard to reach areas of the back garden,

Downstairs, visitors were able to get an up-close look at the stars of the show: an unnamed hedgehog to be released back into the wild and a captive hedgehog affectionately named Baldy, due to the fact that she was born without any spikes. Unable to fend for herself in the wild, Baldy has always been kept in captivity, giving her a gentler disposition that some of her feistier companions. (We didn't actually have any runaways but a few of them have made a valiant attempt!)

Our generous visitors helped us to raise £200 throughout the afternoon, so thank you very much to everyone who came along.

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