The Hungarian Ornithological and Nature Society (MME) draws attention to the protection of hibernating hedgehogs in connection with the fall of leaves, emphasizing that during garden work, piles of leaves and rock piles should only be disturbed carefully for the sake of the mammals.
According to the MME’s announcement on Tuesday, the temporary piles of leaves and roots raked up during the arrangement of gardens and parks are an ideal hiding place for hedgehogs preparing for winter, whose hibernation begins when the temperature permanently drops below 8 degrees Celsius. It is important that the removal of these plant piles is done with consideration of the hedgehogs that may move under them.
In the announcement, attention is drawn to the fact that, in the first step, the work should preferably not start with a pitchfork, but with a tool handle, a longer, strong stick, and that the piles should be turned over in the basic part even more carefully, even by hand, thus making sure that there is nothing underneath some animal. It also helps if the piles are broken down in transparent layers, moving from top to bottom.
The leaf debris stuck to the spines of the hedgehog that curls up due to the noise makes the animal almost invisible, so when you get to the base of the pile, you have to pay close attention to the rounded shapes, because the curled-up animal often literally rolls out of the twigs and leaves, they write.
You should never set fire to such piles on site (from January 1, 2021, local governments will no longer be able to authorize the burning of fur by local decree, so this is prohibited by law throughout the country), because hedgehogs cannot escape from the flames, as their defense strategy is to curl up is being built, that’s why they will burn – they emphasize in the announcement.
In the event of an encounter with a hibernating hedgehog when breaking up the pile of leaves, if possible, leaves and branches must be put back on it in a layer of sufficient thickness, or such a plant pile must be made nearby, under the cover of bushes, and the hedgehog must be put back under it, they write in the announcement.
More details about the call can be found on the website www.mme.hu.