Notes from St Tiggywinkles: Our strict check-list before hedgehogs are released back into gardens

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It is time!

Time when we can start releasing all those hedgehogs that have been with over the winter and are fit and fat enough to be back in the wild.

In the wild is a comparative term as all our hedgehogs are released into gardens.

These gardens have to be tip-top hedgehog habitat, our Hedgehog Release Team are masters at divulging out the Third Degrees, just to make sure. Strange as it may seem the first criterion is, “Are there already hedgehogs in your garden?”

If not, why not?

Our job is not to try and repopulate barren areas; there is probably a good, unseen reason why that garden is devoid of our prickly friends.

That first hurdle over, proviso that the garden is not a bald bowling green but has rough, unkempt areas where our hedgehogs can, if they choose, take up residence.

It goes on – the new tenants must have access to at least 10 other gardens, all of which do not use slug pellets. Needless to say our householders and gardeners are going to put out good food for their new visitors.

No bread and milk, the nemesis of any hedgehog.

Tiggys is a slave to its own rules and protocols evolved over many years.

The hedgehogs for release must be fit and over a suitable weight just in case they are prompted to go into hibernation.

They will have a full dental check up, have been wormed and microchipped to individually make them identifiable.

After all the boxes have been ticked we will provide instructions how to build a Tiggywinkles hedgehog house, some hay bedding (shredded paper is not suitable) a few tins of suitable dog food and, of course, an emergency phone number available 24 hours a day, just in case.

Only then will we introduce any hedgehogs to do what hedgehogs do best – become part of your garden family.