Hedgehog fatalities – and how you can help keep them safe

I’ve seen a lot of roadkill on the A39 recently, most notably hedgehogs, pheasants and foxes, so this info from Go Compare seems pertinent.

new data report has revealed that over 1.9k Hedgehogs are hit on UK roads every year – this amounts to one hedgehog being hit every two hours – making them the 3rd most vulnerable animal in British wildlife.

GoCompare analysed the UK’s latest Roadkill Records data to find the number of animals, specifically hedgehogs, involved in or killed during a vehicle collision. The findings were then ranked to find out which animal was involved in the most incidents and where in the UK these were most prevalent.

April is one of the worst months for hedgehog fatalities on UK roads, as they are nocturnal and tend to hibernate from November to March, so are most active in the summer months.

From GoCompare’s findings, July is by far the deadliest of the summer months for hedgehogs on our roads. Out of the 1,910 hedgehog fatalities reported, 648 of these were in July.

Of the months hedgehogs hibernate there were significantly less incidents, just 142 incidents vs 1,768 between April and October.

April is the 4th worst month for incidents involving hedgehogs on UK roads.

What to do if you see a hedgehog on the road 

Hedgehogs are found all over the UK in both rural and urban areas. As hedgehogs are nocturnal it is rare to see them often in daylight. However, if you do and you are concerned it is injured or unwell, here is what to do if you have to intervene:

  • Hedgehogs are wild animals and have spines, so if you need to pick one up make sure you wear thick gloves. This will minimise the stress caused to the animal and will prevent your scent from passing on to it.

  • Place the hedgehog in a box with high edges. Make sure it is filled with a towel or scrunched newspaper for the hedgehog to hide under. Bring indoors and keep the box warm and away from loud noise. Place suitable food and water in the box if available.

  • Once the hedgehog is safe from immediate danger, contact The British Hedgehog Preservation Society who can offer advice on the next steps to take. Bude’s own Sue Gear is also a huge help.

6 steps to make your garden a hedgehog haven and keep them off the roads

To help keep hedgehogs safe and off the road here are 6 ways to make your garden a more hedgehog-friendly place:

#1 Make your garden accessible

Creating ‘Hedgehog Highways’ by making small holes in your garden walls or fences is a great way to help hedgehogs. They are known to travel a few miles each night, so teaming up with neighbours to create these gaps (around 12 sq cm) enables them to roam freely between gardens, avoiding dangerous roads.

#2 Leave them food and water

Leave out clean water and food in dishes around your garden. Food and drink can be hard to access at certain times of the year so this makes it easily accessible. You can feed hedgehogs cat/dog food, chopped unsalted nuts, or special hedgehog food. Never give them anything other than water to drink, especially milk, as hedgehogs are lactose intolerant.

#3 Make your pond is hedgehog-friendly

Hedgehogs can swim – but you need to make sure they have accessible routes in and out if you have a pond. Stones can be used for this.

#4 Avoid using chemicals in your garden

Pesticides, insecticides, and slug pellets are all poisonous to hedgehogs. They also reduce the amount of prey for the hedgehogs to eat. There are alternative and natural ways to repel slugs instead.

#5 Always check long grass before cutting/raking and bonfires before setting alight

Hedgehogs can easily be hidden in long grass or piles of logs. Always keep an eye out for them in your garden to avoid harming them by accident.

#6 Build a hedgehog house

You can create a hedgehog safe space by leaving piles of logs, leaves, and overgrown grass for them to nest in. This is also great for other types of wildlife all year round.

What to do if you hit an animal on the road 

You are not required by law to report a car accident involving a hedgehog to the police. However, you can report a dead hedgehog on the road to your local council.

Ryan, Pet Insurance Expert at GoCompare, added:

“It is important to raise awareness of the issues associated with animals on the roads as it can be distressing if you are involved in a collision, so knowing what to do will help if you are in this situation.

”Under the Road Traffic Act, you need to report any accidents involving dogs, horses, cattle (cows), pigs, goats, sheep, donkeys and mules.

“When driving, look out for road signs that alert you to areas with large animal populations and take extra care when driving at dawn and dusk, due to reduced visibility and wild animals (like deer) being more active during these times. Stay alert and change your speed accordingly. At night it is important you use your headlights in the correct way to increase the visibility of any wildlife on the road. Be extra vigilant on country roads.”

“The summer months are especially prone to more animals being hit on UK roads. This is due to wildlife being more active, but also us humans. With inbound travel predicted to be larger than ever this year from staycations, and animals being used to quieter roads due to lockdown, we should be extra cautious of wildlife on the road this summer.”

“Hitting any animal can be a traumatic experience for any driver. Make sure you are aware of the rules to follow. Dogs and farm animals are legally required to be reported if they are involved in the collision, dead or injured.”

Ryan also added:

“In the event that you do hit an animal, this 4 step checklist summarises what drivers should do next:

  1. Stay calm. Try to stay calm and pull over safely to a safe place. Put your hazard lights on.

  2. Before leaving the vehicle, make sure everyone is okay and check for oncoming traffic or other dangers.

  3. Contact 101 if needed. If you have sustained damage make sure to contact the emergency services on 101, or your breakdown provider, depending on the extent of the damage.

  4. Be careful around injured animals. If you choose to help an injured animal, do so with extreme care, do not put yourself or others on the road at risk. Observe the animal, to assess how badly hurt it is. When approaching, be cautious of retaliation out of fear from the animal. Once you have reported it your legal duty is done, however, you can call the RSPCA emergency service for advice if you want to help the animal further.

  5. Inform your insurance provider. When it is safe to do so, tell your insurance provider if you do get into a collision, as they will need details to be able to cover the cost of any damage to your car.”

To see the full study, please visit the campaign page here.

Comments are closed here.