Hedgehog Recovery

Reversing the decline in hedgehogs 

As voted by you in August 2023, the council is committed to helping the recovery of hedgehog numbers in the district.

With your help, we are going to find where they live, provide new home and habitats for them and, most important of all, try to increase their numbers so that they once again become a more familiar site across the district.

Why hedgehogs? 

Because that is what you voted for! We held a series of public votes in July and August 2023, in Bottisham, Littleport, Soham and Ely, and you decided that it was hedgehogs above all other animals you thought were most in need of support. 

And it is not surprising hedgehogs came out on top of the public vote. Their numbers have seen a huge decline in recent decades, with the East of England seeing some of the steepest declines. They are also a great animal to target action on, because we can all do something to help them, no matter how small.

Read more about our campaign: Hedgehogs win the hearts of people in East Cambs.

"I've seen Prickles" - hedgehog spotting campaign 

One of the best things you can do right now is to report any hedgehogs you spot.

By knowing where they currently live, we can best target our actions and see where our support is most needed and working.

You can do so by logging sightings on The big hedgehog map website (external link) where you can also find out where other people have logged sightings. 

We are calling the campaign "I've seen Prickles" following the winning entry by Adara English, aged 11 from Littleport, who chose the name Prickles for our hedgehog as part of the public vote.

Read more and find out how to record your sightings in our press release: Plea for hedgehog sightings to be recorded on interactive map

Share your thoughts on new hedgehog guidance for developers 

Over the next four weeks (3 to 24 May 2024) we are asking everyone to share their thoughts on new planning guidelines aimed at helping increase hedgehog numbers across East Cambridgeshire.

The hedgehog recovery design guidance supplementary planning document - believed to be the first of its kind in the country - asks developers to put measures in place to help hedgehogs when planning new building sites.

This could include incorporating small holes in fences to create Hedgehog Highways so hedgehogs can roam freely from one garden to another. 

Read more in our press release: Share your thoughts on new hedgehog guidance for developers

Share your thoughts: Hedgehog Recovery Design Guidance Supplementary Planning Document (PDF)

Make small changes to your garden 

Hedgehogs desperately need our help but the great news is small changes we can all make to our gardens and open spaces make a huge difference. 

What you can do:

  • create hedgehog doors so can link your garden with hedgehog highways 
  • report any sightings at the Big hedgehog map (external link)
  • put out clean, fresh water and cat biscuits or hedgehog food 
  • leave areas to grown to provide space for them to forage
  • avoid slug pellets at all costs 
  • be careful with bonfires 
  • make ponds safe with a ramp 

Read more about how to support hedgehogs through hibernation during the colder months in our Hibernating hedgehogs need help press release. 

Win a hedgehog house! 

We are giving away 10 hedgehog houses to East Cambs residents as part of a giveaway draw. To be in with a chance to win, enter using our Hedgehog prize draw survey (external link). Deadline for entries is 24 May 2024. Terms and conditions apply.

Hedgehog facts: 

  • the number of hedgehogs has declined by as much as 60% in the East of England since the 1990's
  • hedgehogs are lactose intolerant - do not give them milk! Put out dog or cat food instead 
  • the hedgehog's only serious predator is the badger 
  • hedgehogs may roam a mile each night to find enough food 
  • hedgehogs are the UK's only spin mammal 
  • hedgehogs usually hibernate from October/November through to March/April