The first hibernation holiday park for hedgehogs has opened in the UK - take a look around
With hedgehog populations falling rapidly, Parkdean Resorts has opened the very first holiday park for hibernation in style.
Sparked by a local initiative at White Cross Bay Holiday Park in the Lake District, the so-called 'hibernation holiday park' is designed to create a protected space for hedgehogs to rest their heads through the winter.
The holiday park is inspired by local Parkdean resorts, featuring hedgehog homes complete with plants, seating and French doors.
It’s estimated that the population of hedgehogs in the UK has fallen from around 30 million in the 1950s to 500,000 in 2018. This year, hedgehogs were classed as an endangered species for the first time.
If the current rate of decline continues, it's believed that hedgehogs could go extinct in less than two years.
What does a holiday park for hedgehogs look like?
Hedgehogs are most vulnerable if they aren't able to find a safe place to hibernate through the winter. As such, the holiday park is intended to provide hedgehogs with somewhere comfortable to stay over the colder months.
Parkdean says its hedgehog holiday park - which will be replicated across Parkdean's human resorts - boasts:
Four snug caravan homes to hibernate in per holiday parkDecking to enjoy the sunsetDouble glazing windows to keep the warmth in through winterA tight knit community with neighbour hedgehogs next doorProtected by Parkdean Resorts
Catherine Lynn, Chief Customer Officer at Parkdean Resorts, said, "Hedgehogs becoming endangered is a massive blow for UK wildlife and wildlife lovers. We wanted to do something big and bold to grab the nation's attention and encourage everyone to play their part in helping protect them from extinction. And what's more eye-catching than a miniature holiday park, designed and built especially for hedgehogs?
"We hope this world's first will inspire people to support our prickly pals at their most vulnerable time of year."
The holiday operator is also encouraging the public to make their own "hedgehog hotels" or "hedgehog highways" with any outdoor space they may have free.
You can create a hedgehog highway by cutting a small hole in your garden fence around 13cm by 13cm. This allows hedgehogs to move between gardens, reducing the risk of them venturing into roads.
The Wildlife Trust has a step-by-step guide to making a DIY hibernation box here. If you don't have all the materials to build one, simply making a pile of logs and leaves can provide a cosy space for hedgehogs to nest, as well as attracting insects for them to nibble on.