How to encourage hedgehogs in Kingston

Hedgehogs are disappearing from our communities and are one of the fastest declining mammals in the UK. 

Now that spring has sprung we will be seeing more animals coming out of hibernation and into our community spaces. 

London Hogwatch is a campaign which aims to better understand the habits of hedgehogs by setting up live cameras around London and recording the animals. The data is then used to produce a live map which shows live hedgehog activity. 

Evidence from the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) suggests that the country has lost approximately two thirds of the UK’s hedgehogs since 1990. 

Hogwatch says that there are currently 20,423 active hedgehog holes, and 178,051 hedgehogs in the London area at the moment. 

Cameras were placed around the borough of Kingston in 2021, and since then the council have been collaborating with the Hogwatch Team at the Zoological Society of London. 

Hedgehogs drink from water bowls in a garden.
Credit: Clare Hellings

The council said they will be “directly contributing” to the borough’s Hedgehog Species Action Plan (SAP). 

SAP promotes conservation and protection of specific species within the borough. These animals will be ambassadors for nature as they help to raise awareness for the importance of natural habitats. 

The council said that they will take material on biodiversity and the action plan into consideration when determining planning applications. 

The aim is to develop the community sustainably to ensure that the natural environment is protected and secured. 

Rescue hoglets are compared to the size of an apple on a dining room table.
Credit: Clare Hellings

Research has indicated that adapting our suburban landscapes to cohabitate with hedgehogs will play a vital role in their survival. 

Hedgehogs are struggling in the UK because of sprawling urbanisation and small and sporadic green spaces. 

A local resident Clare Hellings who is affectionately known as the “hedgehog lady” of Old Malden, is already using her own garden to create a hedgehog sanctuary. 

A collection of boxes and runs for hedgehogs in a garden.
Credit: Clare Hellings

Hellings said: “We’ve had a healthy population of hogs for a few years now. They are happily breeding.

“Sadly far too many end up being taken to Wildlife Aid, very often for human inflicted problems. 

“But many people in this area are doing their bit…my garden is a hedgehog hotel!” 

It is not difficult to help little hogs from your own garden an residents can follow these easy steps to protect these elusive little creatures.

A listicle of how to support hedgehog habitats
Credit: Phoebe Ann Brooks
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