A lot of people, when hearing ecologists talking about how we must save the insects and do more to help them, think: "Yeah, I know that's important, but I don't really care about bugs and creepy crawlies so much - what I really care about and love is animals." And these are nice, kind, compassionate people.
But what they don't realise is that animals, like the hedgehog, are dying of starvation because we're not caring enough about the insects.
The majority of a hedgehog's diet is caterpillars and beetles. Moths and butterflies need food and cover to lay their eggs, which turn into caterpillars, which also need to eat. So when you cut down long grasses, wild flowers, 'weeds', ivy and stinging nettles, or moan that the council hasn't cut back the undergrowth beside a path or around a recreation ground, or mown the grass neatly in the park, you are destroying the habitat and food for the caterpillars. The same goes for beetles and their larvae.
If the caterpillars and beetles have no food and die, it means there's nothing for hedgehogs to eat.
Hedgehogs don't eat slugs and snails, which is just as well as they carry parasites like lungworm and fluke (which are fatal if not treated). But if there are no caterpillars and beetles, and a hedgehog is starving and has no other source of food, they will be forced to eat anything - and slugs are always around. It's a desperate, short term solution, because instead of dying of starvation they will die of parasite invasion.
A whole generation has grown up thinking that any grass, anywhere, that’s not cut and looking like a lawn, is somehow neglected and untidy. In our arrogance we've decided that plants that are no use to us, or aren't attractive, are 'weeds' and we must kill them, control them. We didn't give a thought that some other little lives depend on these plants.
So please leave a bit of your garden to nature. And ask your council to stop mowing and cutting back unnecessarily. Start putting lives over looks.
Most big companies donate a percentage of their sales to charity, to offset their taxes. I've now registered Hedgehog Cabin, so this could be an important source of funding for me.
Every time you shop, from your weekly supermarket to your annual holiday, the store you're buying from will give a donation to Hedgehog Cabin. From 0.75% of sales from Ebay, to 3% from John Lewis. And some one-off purchases (like a new mobile phone or cable TV contract) will donate £25 for each sale.
Please take advantage of this and help me to help the hedgehogs, it will mean so much to me to have some of the financial burden lifted. It really is very quick and easy to register by using the below link, and from then on every time you shop, you’ll raise a free donation for Hedgehog Cabin.