Attention to our friends hedgehogs ! Spring marks the end of their hibernation period. A timely period for people who are busy caring for their garden with the arrival of good weather. Although these small mammals are especially vulnerable, the Toulouse association Sauve qui pique, dedicated to the conservation of hedgehogs, is warning people, especially those with green fingers.
An endangered link in biodiversity
Like all other species, the hedgehog plays an important role in the right balance of biodiversity. Feeding exclusively on slugs and snails, it is an important link in the food chain and an important ally for gardeners. However, this species is on the verge of extinction.
Contacted Independent opinion, Blandine Rey-Betbeder, Sauve qui pique volunteer, explains: “Hedgehogs are protected by decree of April 1983. For good reason, 70% of the workforce disappeared in just 20 years.” An environmental animator who specializes in protecting hedgehogs adds: “Studies predict total extinction of the species by 2030.”
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What are the reasons for the extinction of hedgehogs?
cause hedgehog extinction lot. Contrary to popular belief, traffic is not the only culprit. As with most species, habitat destruction, especially fenced areas, is a major scourge for hedgehogs. “Research has also shown that hedgehogs are more affected in rural areas than in semi-urban or even urban areas,” says Blandin. Right now, in residential areas, small mammals with spines are doing best, “even if mortality is also important there,” says Blandin.
In addition, “many gardeners use pesticides slug repeller to protect your plants. Since hedgehogs feed on it, they are just intoxicating,” explains Blandin. The use of clippers and rotofillers is also dangerous for the animal.
“We see a lot of hedgehogs with sliced pasta in kindergartens,” says the volunteer. Monoculture is also an aggravating factor in the extinction of the species. “Ponds are also responsible for the destruction of biodiversity. From small mammals to insects, they all drown there. However, it is enough to set up a raft to avoid this,” notes Blandin. Finally, dogs can also harm the well-being of small mammals, whose means of protection remain limited.
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How to save hedgehogs?
Behind save the view, simple gestures should be adopted, or rather avoided. First, “you shouldn’t give them bread and milk, they love it, but it’s toxic to them,” explains Blandin. Thus, the only thing you can offer our woodpecker friends is dry cat food or water. Then, to avoid any problems with using mowers, “this activity is recommended from 8 p.m. because hedgehogs are nocturnal animals,” says Blandin. And add: “In the same way carefully check the piles of leaves and firewood before throwing them into the fire. These are the hedgehogs’ favorite hiding places.”
Another important tip: “Hedgehogs should not be moved except in the event of an emergency such as illness or injury.” The volunteer explains: “It is not worth changing the habitat of the animal, especially since at this time of the year there are many females with cubs and you risk forcing him to lose his nest and endanger the survival of the population. cute“Thus, if you see hedgehogs on the road, it is advisable to put it aside, but not to restore it. Last but not least, open up your gardens! “You must let the wild animals circulate, otherwise they get trapped and stuck in fences,” Blandin warns, “we are seeing more and more disease, especially lung disease, in hedgehogs. We suspect genetic impoverishment due to the lack of mixing associated with environmental separation,” says the environmental coordinator.
>> In the event of a sick hedgehog, contact the Wildlife Clinic – ENVT in Toulouse or contact Blandine via the Facebook page “Sauve qui pique” for a case by case consultation.