While Greenbelt provides sustainable land management services to more than 55,000 households UK-wide, it’s important not to forget that our developments are also a crucial urban habitat for many thousands of tiny animal lives too!
With that in mind, we’d like to congratulate Mr Mal Vickers, one of our Regional Operations Managers, whose quick reactions saved the life of a hedgehog that had become trapped in the water on our Millhouse Green development in Penistone, Barnsley.
“I arrived on-site for routine inspection and checked the mill run to ensure it had been cleared of debris,” said Mal. “It’s a lovely site to visit, with various habitats including woodland, wildflower meadows, riverbanks and even a dedicated bat house!
“I noticed straightaway that there was a hedgehog stuck in the water – it was lifting its head above the water to breathe in, and then blowing bubbles with every exhale.
“I realised it could not survive there much longer, and used my gloves to lift it onto dry land. It made no effort to get away – probably due to exhaustion – and curled up instead.”
Fortunately, Mal managed to get in touch with staff at the Hogwarts Hedgehog Hospital nearby, who advised him how to check on and care for the animal and save it from meeting a 'prickly end'...
“After doing the basic checks, I concluded it was okay and just needed a rest – and for me to leave it alone, so that it could scurry off in its own time,” said Mal.
“I received a text from our contractor later the same day to say that the hedgehog had revived sufficiently and, indeed, scurried off!
“While the native trees, wildflower and bird population are obvious to all, it was nice to see a native British mammal which also flourishes in the mix of habitats present.”
Hedgehogs can be beneficial to gardens and open spaces, as their diet includes many common pests like snails and slugs.
Despite this, UK hedgehog numbers have declined by around 70% in the past 20 years.
If you’d like to read more about how to make your garden more hedgehog-friendly, why not try this great hedgehog fact sheet from St. Tiggywinkles Wildlife Hospital.
You could also read about our good friends at Redrow Homes, whose ‘Hedgehog Highways’ initiative won the Small Scale Permanent Award at the 2017 Big Biodiversity Challenge Awards!