The hot Swedish summer has created problems for the endangered “igelkotten”, or hedgehog. Food favorites have disappeared, so the little “friend” has had to have special help.

“Feel free to give hedgehogs some water and food,” says Per Bengtsson at Naturskyddsföreningen (the Swedish Nature Conservation Society). The hedgehog prefers worms and snails, but when the weather gets dry, this type of “food” has a tendency to go further down underground. So if you have a hedgehog nearby, please help it out. “If you vary the food, there’s no risk it will get dependent on humans,” Bengtson says. “Add some water to cat food or leftovers and give them, but please no cow’s milk.” Bengtson, who is a biologist and project leader for Naturskyddsföreningen’s hedgehog inventory, says that hedgehogs are popular among Swedes. Some 10 000 reports of hedgehogs have been sent to him.
“That’s an overwhelming response. But what is most astonishing is to see that the hedgehog has established itself very far north, from Gällivare, we’ve collected 18 reports.” Something else that’s surprising is that there’s been some ten reports about hedgehogs eating Spanish slugs. “How much the hedgehogs affect the invasive snails is too early to predict,” Bengtson says. “I doubt they are on the top of their menu. But it is an extra argument as to why we should be protecting the hedgehog.”

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