The name hedgehog came into use around the year 1450, derived from the Middle English heyghoge, from heyg, hegge ("hedge"), because it frequents hedgerows, and hoge, hogge ("hog"), from its piglike snout. Other names include urchin, hedgepig and furze-pig. The collective noun for a group of hedgehogs is 'array'.

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juvenile hedgehog
Juvenile Hedgehog

During the winter months from late October onwards, many people celebrate Guy Fawkes, night and various religious / cultural festivals, by lighting bonfires and letting off fireworks.

Both these activities make life hard for animals - both domestic pets, and those it's easier to forget about living in our limited hedgerows. The most obvious and widely affected of these is probably the hedgehog.

To a hedgehog a well built bonfire looks like a perfect place to live. Many people make bonfires well in advance of their celebration, giving hedgehogs time to move in and set up home, but sadly in the excitement of their final preparations people often forget to check what's living in their bonfire before setting it alight. The result can be terrifying and fatal.

The plight of the hedgehog in Britain appears to be worsening, with a new survey revealing a further decline in garden sightings.

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  • PLEASE avoid building your bonfire in advance if you can, if not, please check for any animals living in it (as late as possible but during daylight) on the day you intend to ignite it, and again at the very last moment.

  • If you're interested in knowing more about hedgehogs or would like to help those who have been injured or are without homes, there are many charities you can contact. Here is one a respected friend of Nature's Racers does a lot with personally...

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