On the Day of the Hedgehog 02.02.2023
From the perspective of Gut Aiderbichl
(written by Gisela Pschenitschnig)
Hedgehog are true marvels of nature and, on top of that, they are very important for the garden. On the menu of the nocturnal hedgehog is up to 70% of the spiders, ground beetles, many other insects and sometimes also mice. There are up to 24 different species of hedgehogs. They all have in common the spiny top, dark beady eyes and a small round nose. The ears are tiny and furry and they even have a very small tail.
A hedgehog would never attack a human. On the contrary, he tries to protect himself from humans in the garden or in dangerous situations by curling up into a spiky ball.
Hedgehogs belong to the protected species and prefer natural gardens. They love trees, shrubs and under their foliage and branches they can hide and hibernate.
Climate change and modern construction are a challenge for hedgehogs
The natural habitats of hedgehogs are increasingly destroyed. Old houses usually have a beautiful garden with many shrubs and hedges. When old masonry is demolished, hardly anyone thinks about the fact that this also destroys their habitat, for example. Replacement concrete buildings and asphalted paths through housing estates do not provide hedgehogs with any habitat.
The early warmth in spring and the accompanying drought are not only causing problems for humans. One that suffers particularly from the changed climate conditions is the hedgehog.
Dry soils ensure that the hedgehog's diet does not offer enough. Snails and worms are no longer easily scratched free. In many places hedgehogs have to starve in hot summers.
Due to the mild winters, more and more hedgehogs are foregoing hibernation and are getting into the mating mood earlier. The first offspring arrive at the end of January and possible cold snaps in the coming weeks and months are fatal for the young ones.
Climate change, the drought, the lack of water and the use of pesticides mean that hedgehogs in general are becoming more susceptible to disease. The search for water becomes difficult. Too few gardens, too few hedges and shrubs, crossing roads... all this could lead to the extinction of the hedgehog in a few decades.
A conscious approach to nature also includes respectful treatment of animals. There are now numerous hedgehog helpers in Austria. If you find an injured animal, discover a hedgehog in the garden in winter, etc. seek help from the various hedgehog friends in Austria. They also know, for example, how to get the hedgehog well through a too warm winter, or how to help him find food and water in too warm summers.
"No one is useless in this world who makes another's burden lighter."
~ Charles Dickens