A Prickly Situation……
Have you got hedgehogs and dogs living side by side in your garden? Have you looked at night with a torch? Apart from dogs (and quite a few other animals if I’m honest), I have a particular fascination with – Hedgehogs (aka ‘Hedgepigs’, ‘Lil Hogheads’, ‘Spikey Monkey’ etc……)
Theses amazing, elusive, odd-looking little creatures do SO MUCH good in the garden!!! Their nightly diet consists mainly of slugs and snails (urghhh!!!), and they go about their business without most of us knowing they’re even there.
Dogs’s First Encounter With Hedgehogs
Until maybe our canine companions give us a tip off…… Many dogs’ first encounter with our prickly friends is something of a stand-off, after all – WHAT have they actually just found….!!!?? So they generally stand there, on point, probably barking, probably not quite knowing what to do next.
Most will probably investigate further until that mobile pin-cushion lets them know that this is probably gonna hurt….. In many cases, a few spikes to the nose gets the message across and both parties agree that they’re not meant for each other.
Unfortunately, though, many of the larger and stronger breeds (and also some of the working Terriers) will see this as a threat/challenge and take it further.
Hedgehog Rescues Do An Amazing Job
Our local hedgehog rescue center currently has 109 residents and approximately a third of them are suffering from dog bites and associated injuries. Even though the hedgehog will naturally ‘ball up’ at any hint of danger, many dogs will still pick them up or paw them causing injury and untold stress. When the spikes hit home in a dog’s mouth, many will have a natural instinct to bite harder which very often proves fatal for our little hedge-dwelling friend.
Hedgehogs In Decline
Hedgehog populations in the UK are declining at an alarming rate. We have lost around a third of our hedgehogs in the last 20yrs. As a result, hedgehogs are now classified as an ‘endangered species’. But you can help with some simple tips – Check Out Winterwatch’s advice for your garden.
Hedgehogs and Dog Dangers
The best way to prevent dog attacks and dog bite wounds in your garden is to ideally keep the dog out of the garden at night. If you do need to let it out, then keep it on a lead. Always check for hedgehogs first, scan around with a torch. Turn an outside light on before you go out, which will also help to encourage any hedgehogs to move away. If your dog is paying particular attention to that log pile, the bottom of that hedge, or that pile of leaves, it could very well be that Mr. or Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle is is in residence……..
Have you got hedgehogs and dogs? Written by John Snellin