A hedgehog charity has slammed organic gardener Bob Flowerdew, for questioning
if ‘hogs really are the gardener’s friend.
In Amateur Gardening’s 18 July issue, Gardeners’ Question Time panellist Bob claimed that hedgehogs can devour beneficial pest predators such as beetles, and can spread fleas, too.
But Fay Vass, chief executive of the British Hedgehog Preservation Society, hit back: “For such
a sensible commentator on gardening, I was shocked to see Bob’s ill-informed article.”
Fay added: “To value hedgehogs only because they might help your petunias is a puerile conceit.
“Yes, hedgehogs will eat slugs, but not to the exclusion of everything else. Research shows beetles do make up a large component of their diet, but that will not have an impact on beetle population.”
Bob’s concern that ‘hogs are “riddled with fleas which they are happy to donate wherever they go” was dismissed by the BHPA.
Fay added: “Not all hedgehogs have fleas, and even if they do, hedgehog fleas are species-specific. They can’t live on us, cats or dogs.”
And she added: “It is true that hedgehogs will occasionally take ground-nesting birds’ eggs, but compared to the damage domestic cats and other predators cause, this is a trivial insult.”
Bob’s comment about hogs’ “night-time racket being far noisier than most drunk couples” didn’t go unnoticed.
The BHPA boss summed-up: “If courtship of hedgehogs bothers Mr Flowerdew, I can only imagine that he has lost all sense of perspective and will soon be demanding that the dawn chorus of birds be silenced because it is disturbing his sleep.”
Amateur Gardening columnist Bob was unrepentant. He explained: “I quite expected their usual knee-jerk response.
“I stand by everything I said in the exact way I said it and I do not recognise the misinterpretations they have made,” Bob added.