Tips for the right hedgehog protection

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German Animal Welfare Association warns against hasty taking into care

As soon as the days get shorter and the nights get longer, hedgehogs are on the move again. Since the prickly animals hibernate from mid-November to around the beginning of April, they are now dependent on every form of food in autumn in order to adequately prepare for the time in their winter quarters. Many animal lovers are therefore concerned about the helpless-looking animals and want to help - but especially with hedgehogs, according to the German Animal Welfare Association, it is essential to be careful not to endanger the animals unnecessarily.

Hedgehogs rarely rely on human help When the hedgehogs go looking for food in autumn in preparation for their hibernation, many people think they have to offer support to the cute animals. But the German Animal Welfare Association urges "against well-meaning but misunderstood hedgehog help", because the spiny animals are only dependent on human help in exceptional cases. Accordingly, information should first be obtained from the veterinarian or the local animal protection association before taking into care whether this is necessary at all.

Better take care of the natural environment Instead, animal friends should first observe the animals from a distance on the advice of the animal welfare association and make sure that they do not interfere with the hedgehog's natural environment or even destroy hiding places. In this context, especially designed, easily accessible gardens could provide food and shelter and thus meaningful support from people.

Healthy animals are only in the dark Hedgehogs normally hide during the day in hiding places such as behind compost, in piles of brushwood and leaves or hedges and only look for food in the dark. Therefore "really needy hedgehogs [.] Can be recognized by the fact that they are out during the day, appear emaciated and behave apathetically. Hedgehogs that are still walking around when there is permanent frost or when the snow is closed are usually weakened or sick, ”according to the animal welfare association.

Do not use leaf vacuums In order to offer the hedgehog a “natural” habitat, garden owners could, for example, leave any leaves in the grounds and on the beds and set up passages to other gardens, since hedgehogs usually look for their food in large areas. In addition, garden tools should be used with great caution, as this can lead to serious accidents. According to the Animal Welfare Association, the increasingly popular leaf vacuums and blowers pose a particular danger here: on the one hand, smaller hedgehogs can be sucked in and killed, and on the other hand, the devices also remove insects, worms and molluscs in addition to the leaves, but they do so for the hedgehogs are an important source of food. Instead, on the advice of the association, it is better to use a rake for gardening, as this does not destroy hiding places or food.

The NABU also pleads for "species-appropriate hedgehog protection". The Naturschutzbund Deutschland eV (NABU) is also committed to "species-appropriate hedgehog protection", which means "primarily for habitat protection, improvements to the habitat in settlements and" defusing "hedgehog danger points", so a message from the association. According to NABU, maintenance should also be the exception and should only be carried out professionally, if at all. Instead, in addition to the above-mentioned measures for setting up a “hedgehog-friendly garden”, care should be taken to be particularly careful when mowing, clearing and clearing work and carefully covering potential traps such as cellar shafts, pits, etc. (No)

Image: Andreas Depping /

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