The MSPCA is asking islanders to look out for hedgehogs in the next few weeks as the cute little animals emerge from hibernation.

One such way includes building little ramps in and out of ponds and fountains.

The charity said: ‘Although good swimmers, many die in ponds or water troughs because there is no way out for them. By putting a sloping edge, a ramp or even some green plastic-coated wire netting down into (not across) the pond or trough you can provide an escape route for them to use should they fall in.

‘Also, if the pond or trough is kept topped up hedgehogs might be less likely to topple in. And if you are planning to make a new pond consider having a sloping side to make it easy for hedgehogs and other animals and birds to reach the water safely.’

Gardeners

It is not only hedgehogs that are out and about but gardeners as well. Whilst the hedgehog is the gardener’s friend because their diet comprises a multitude of garden pests like slugs, gardeners are not always hedgehog friendly. Many of the jobs we do in our gardens can affect and even harm the hedgehogs. So the MSPCA asks people to take care when doing a spring clean of garden debris, pulling down sheds (a favourite nesting site) and strimming long grass and brambles.

The charity added: ‘Hedgehogs are not territorial, although they tend to have home patches. A female’s home patch will be just big enough to support her and her hoglets; and a male’s patch will be much larger in the breeding season as they wander long distances searching for females. Once the autumn comes the males’ home patches will become smaller as they concentrate on preparing for hibernation.

‘So if you see a hedgehog on a regular basis in the forthcoming breeding season it is more likely to be a female. If you are able to leave water and some meaty cat or dog food out each night this will encourage any females to stay around and eat your garden pests too! However, males will have other priorities and will move greater distances as they are more nomadic in the breeding season.’