Truss said yesterday (9 March) that hedgehogs are one of the UK's "most treasured animals" and play an important role in both this country's heritage and natural environment.
She outlined five tips, created by Defra with help from the British Hedgehog Preservation Society, to create backyard hedgehog havens:
- Let areas of garden grow wild to mimic hedgehogs’ natural habitat
- Provide shelter in the colder months through logs piles and compost heaps
- Use garden chemicals such as slug pellets carefully
- Leave out water and foods such as boiled eggs, chopped nuts and sultanas
- Consider planting hedgerows to help hedgehogs move between gardens
Truss explained: "Glimpsing hedgehogs in my garden is one of my fondest childhood memories and inspired me to learn more about the world around me.
"I want to ensure children for generations to come can enjoy this special sight, but this can only happen if everyone does their bit to look out for these important creatures – that's why we have developed these simple tips to help adults and children alike learn more about our precious wildlife and how we can all support it.
Fay Vass, chief executive of the British Hedgehog Preservation Society, said: "We are delighted that the Environment Secretary, Elizabeth Truss is speaking out on how to help hedgehogs. With their population falling by a third in urban areas and by half in rural areas since 2000, doing all we can to help Britain’s only spiny mammal is more important now than ever.
"I hope these tips will inspire people to find out more and perhaps even become a Hedgehog Champion themselves."