25 November 2020
A couple of friends contacted me to ask if it were possible to make them some hedgehog nest boxes. This something I do but I am not a fan of building them. Unfortunately they are very time consuming and there is only so much you can charge s person. Just not worth my while although I never turn down a friend or someone who desperately wants one to house and help a local or resident Hedgehog. Below is some useful information of this beautiful little animal.
The Latin word for hedgehogs is Erinaceus and our own British hedgehog is scientifically known as Erinaceus europaeus; it is the same species that occurs throughout most of the continent of Europe. In Britain it is found almost everywhere except some of the Scottish Islands, but tends to be scarce or absent from wet areas and pine forests. Uplands and mountainsides are not popular, probably because they lack both suitable food and suitable nesting places. Hedgehogs are well established in our urban habitat and can, somewhat surprisingly, survive very well in our cities, making extremely good use of cemeteries, railway land, wasteland and both public and private gardens. Shakespeare mentions hedgehogs in ‘The Tempest’ and ‘Midsummer Night’s Dream’ and he refers to ‘hedgepigs’ and ‘urchins’.
Everyone is sure to know what a hedgehog looks like. The hedgehog’s back and sides are covered in 25 mm (1”) long spines (which are really modified hairs). These are absent from the face, chest, belly, throat and legs which are covered with a coarse, grey-brown fur. There are approximately 5,000/7,000 spines on an average adult hedgehog. What many people do not know is that a hedgehog has a small tail.
At the risk of disappointing some people, it is worth mentioning the fact that hedgehogs tend to ‘do the rounds’ and visit several gardens within an area. Ten or more different individuals may visit a garden over several nights, which could mean that ‘your hedgehog’ is in fact a number of different individuals visiting at different times.
The best ways of assisting hedgehogs are by helping them avoid man-made hazards and providing them with suitable places to nest, especially in the winter.
Slug Pellets – these are poisonous and should not be used. If absolutely necessary, pellets should be placed in a pipe or under a slate inaccessible to hedgehogs. Dead slugs must be removed daily. Use other garden pesticides sparingly;- or better still not at all, you never know what else they might kill or make sick. Always try alternative methods – see BHPS leaflet on ‘Creating a Wildlife Garden’.
Garden ponds / Swimming pools – can be death traps to small mammals. Always ensure that there are several gently sloping slipways around the edge of the water to enable animals to escape if they fall in. Ensure the pool cover is on every night and that the polystyrene floats are placed near the side for a hedgehog to cling to. Slipways may be made by half submerging bricks or rocks around the edges of ponds and pools. Alternatively a piece of chicken wire can be hung over the edge like a scrambling net which hedgehogs can climb up to freedom. Keep the pond level topped up so that hedgehogs can reach the wire. Do remember hoglets will need a longer ramp than an adult hedgehog.
15 November 2020
This is another Barn Owl nest box situated in one of Llanarth estates barns. Very good chance of a pair of Barn Owls taking up residents in this particular box because of its perfect location. The land surrounding this barn is open countryside with lots of hedgerows, crops and meadows. Lots of small little woodlands and really good hunting grounds for a pair of Barn Owls. The land is farmed considerably and each field changes rugularly but some of the hedgerows have allowed growth which in turn acts like a wildlife highway for rodents to get from field to field. I would be very disappointed if I failed to attract a pair within two years of fitting the nest box.
10 November 2020
Most of November was mainly constuction of new nest boxes although I did manage a few outings to erect Barn Owl and Little owl nest boxes.
4 November 2020
Recently I was approached by a local land owner with regards to erecting nest boxes on the land owners estate. Obviously I was very interested due to the location and terrain. The estate is vast with numerous woodlands inside farmland and several farm buildings suitable for Barn Owl nest boxes. The estate land is adjacent to Llanover estate where I also have a ongoing nest box project. So it ties in perfectly and easier to monitor although time consuming due to the sheer size of both estates.
So the new Landowner Ben Herbert of Llanarth Estate agreed to donate natural timber in order for me to build the nest boxes. As you can see in the images below Ben Herbert hired a mobile milling machine to mill the logs felled from within the estate. I was happy to receive enough timber for 100 tit boxes.